AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Charlton Athletic v Sunderland

There was a lot of tension and late drama in the first play-off final yesterday as Tranmere stole a place in League One at the last moment and we could see just as tight a game between Charlton and Sunderland in today’s League One final.

Fans of déjà vu will be happy with this fixture – it kicked off the League One season back in August, when Lynden Gooch scored a dramatic late goal to ensure Jack Ross’ reign as Sunderland manager got off to a flying start – and it could be just as tightly matched once again.

Charlton head here after plenty of drama. It looked as if they’d sail through to Wembley when they went 3-1 up on aggregate against Doncaster thanks to Krystian Bielik’s second-minute header at The Valley, but Doncaster fought back almost instantly with Tommy Row scoring before a late header from Andy Butley made it 2-1 in 90 minutes.

When John Marquis nodded in Mallik Wilks’ centre in the 100th minute, it would have been easy to see that as a bottling, but Charlton fought back to take the tie to penalties when Darren Pratley turned home a goalmouth scramble and they then won the penalty shootout.

That performance was a dip in standards, but their general form is pretty outstanding. They have 11 wins in their last 15 games and in 2019 they have lost just three times, one being the second leg against Doncaster. Beaten semi-finalists last season, they’ve improved since and have real quality going forward in the shape of Lyle Taylor – who’s scored 21 league goals – and Joe Aribo, whilst Krystian Bielik was excellent in both play off legs.

Sunderland, in contrasting style, have ground things out through the season and the playoffs. They ground out a 1-0 aggregate win over Portsmouth despite the loss of Aiden McGeady before the first leg to injury, when a stunning volley from Chris Maguire was needed to break the deadlock, and in a game with six yellow cards, they managed to keep a crucial clean sheet.

Their winning effort over the two legs was mainly defensive, with Jon McLaughlin having a fine game in the second leg whilst the experience of Lee Cattermole – fights or no fights – and Bryan Oviedo was also crucial. They’ll be relying on them and Tom Flanagan a lot, because the departure of the unreplaced Josh Maja has made life difficult for them going forward. With no Aiden McGrady – and he’s not a certainly to make it thanks to a broken bone in his foot – it will be tough for Jack Ross’s men to create much.

They will look to try and stifle Charlton, and whilst that will be tricky, their performance against Portsmouth showed they can pull off such a feat and Charlton could be forced to work very hard once again for their opportunities here.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland
League One Play-Off Final
15:00 Sky Sports Football HD / Sky Sports Main Event HD

(Maximum 10 matches*)
JAN 2019 LEAGUE ONE Charlton 1-1 Sunderland
AUG 2018 LEAGUE ONE Sunderland 2-1 Charlton
DEC 2005 PREMIERSHIP Charlton 2-0 Sunderland
AUG 2005 PREMIERSHIP Sunderland 1-3 Charlton
FEB 2003 PREMIERSHIP Sunderland 1-3 Charlton
NOV 2002 PREMIERSHIP Charlton 1-1 Sunderland
APR 2002 PREMIERSHIP Charlton 2-2 Sunderland
SEP 2001 PREMIERSHIP Sunderland 2-2 Charlton
MAY 2001 PREMIERSHIP Sunderland 3-2 Charlton
NOV 2001 PREMIERSHIP Charlton 0-1 Sunderland

Sunderland may not have won enough games over the course of the season for promotion but they’ve drawn 20 of their 48 league and playoff games this season and adding in the cups they’ve drawn 23 games this season. But for a late goal from Lynden Gooch both league encounters would have been stalemates and the draw could be the best runner at 11/5.

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