Shootout win sends Charlton to Wembley

Shootout win sends Charlton to Wembley

May 17, 2019 Off By readly

Charlton 2-3 Doncaster (agg 4-4): Addicks reach play-off final after shootout victory

Lee Bowyer’s men will face Sunderland in the League One play-off final at Wembley on May 26

By Dan Long at The Valley

Last Updated: 17/05/19 10:59pm

Charlton advanced to the League One play-off final after a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win, despite a 3-2 defeat to Doncaster at The Valley on Friday night (agg. 4-4).

Krystian Bielik’s early header set Lee Bowyer’s men on their way (2), before returning Rovers captain Tommy Rowe levelled proceedings (11) and visiting defender Andrew Butler’s header sent the tie to extra-time (88).

A John Marquis’ header (100) put Grant McCann’s men in front on aggregate for the first time, but Darren Pratley responded in rapid style, sliding home inside 60 seconds (101) to ensure the tie went all the way.

And the shootout victory was confirmed when Doncaster’s Marquis’ penalty was saved by Dillon Phillips and Rowe placed the decisive spot-kick wide.

Victory in South East London sees the Addicks pick up the final play-off final berth where they will face Sunderland at Wembley on May 26.

A bumper home crowd – the biggest since 2012 – voiced their strong disapproval at Charlton being forced to play towards a packed North Stand, but inside just two minutes that feeling of resentment turned to unbridled jubilation.

Their relentless, energetic start was rewarded when Bielik headed home Josh Cullen’s whipped free-kick and Charlton appeared to be sitting pretty with a two-goal aggregate advantage with The Valley positively bouncing.

A remarkable 15 points separated the two sides during the regular season, but nine minutes later, they were all square on the night as Rowe struck a powerful first-time drive into the bottom right corner past the helpless Phillips.

Doncaster, impressively, grew into the game from there, though there was a palpable sense of relief when half-hearted penalty appeals from Lyle Taylor, then Cullen were waved away by referee Gavin Ward.

An entertaining first-half made way for a cagey second; McCann waited until the final 10 minutes to make his first change, with his side seemingly keen to keep themselves in the tie with a series of ill-received time-wasting tactics.

Josh Parker had the chance to seal the victory for Charlton with 14 minutes to play, but Rovers defender Butler sent the tie to extra-time against the run of play, when he popped up at the far post to head home a corner.

Team news

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer, unsurprisingly, stuck with the same starting 11 that gained the advantage in the first leg at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday, while Grant McCann recalled Tommy Rowe for Doncaster. The Rovers skipper replaced Kieran Sadlier.

Extra-time sparked the game into life once more, with Pratley’s close-range strike tailing dramatic Marquis’ header by just a minute.

Each side scored their first three penalties in impressive fashion, but when Marquis’ effort was kept out by Phillips, it mattered little that Naby Sarr’s subsequent effort was saved by Marko Marosi, as skipper Rowe succumbed to the pressure, drilling his set-piece wide of the left-hand post.

What’s next?

Charlton will play in the Sky Bet League One play-off final on Sunday, May 26 at Wembley against Sunderland. Doncaster will begin the 2019/20 season in the third tier on the weekend of August 2-4.

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