Charlton almost saw their Championship hopes go up in smoke yesterday as a fine Doncaster performance saw them win at the Valley in the play-off semi-final second leg.
Doncaster needed to overturn a one goal deficit and when they slipped behind early on it looked as though the Addicks were coasting. They pulled the tie back to 1-1 before Andy Butler gave them a lifeline in the dying stages of the game.
That set up a thrilling period of extra time where the visitors took the lead in the tie for the first time, only to be pegged back immediately.
It was typical of the play-off matches we’ve had this season, thrilling, unpredictable and ultimately settled by spot kicks. John Marquis and Tommy Rowe, both scorers in normal time, missed their penalties and sent Charlton through to the final.
The result delighted Lee Bowyer, but he went into the Doncaster changing room after the game to speak to them after being impressed by Grant McCann’s battling side.
“They’re the best to come here this season by a mile,” he told the News Shopper.
“We’ve only lost two games here all season. No team has done what Doncaster have done to us here. They played so well, caused us so many problems. They should be really proud of themselves.”
Bowyer confirmed he’s never entered an opponent’s changing room before, but felt that showing them respect was the right thing to do.
“I’ve never done it before, I felt that I just wanted to congratulate them and not get too down because what they gave there was unreal.
“They’re not my players but I wanted to give them respect.”
The result means Charlton go through to the Wembley final where Jack Ross and Sunderland stand between them and a place in the Championship.
This was a thriller, one of the best play-off matches we’ve seen this season, certainly in League One and Two.
Charlton were out of sorts and Doncaster on great form. Together they served up a spectacle worthy of a place at Wembley and hopefully taught Sunderland and Pompey a thing or two about entertainment.
Doncaster will be back next season, they’re a good side and deserved more.