Sunderland and Charlton Athletic set for intriguing Wembley reunion in 1998 play-off final rematch

Sunderland will face Charlton Athletic in the League One play-off final - as they overcame Doncaster Rovers on penalties following a dramatic semi-final at the Valley.

Friday, 17th May 2019, 22:33 pm
Sunderland will face Charlton Athletic in the League One play-off final

Their triumph sets up an intriguing clash at Wembley between the early season favourites and the division's in-form team, with a place in the Championship at stake.

Of course, the clash will also provide plenty of added entertainment given it is a direct rematch of the 1998 Division One play-off final - which the Black Cats lost on penalties to the Addicks.

And while Jack Ross' current crop will be hoping to avoid a similar fate, they will have to overcome a Charlton side in a rich vein of form.

Indeed, Sunderland's next opponents looked set for a comfortable route through to Wembley after a 2-1 win in the first leg, before some late heroics from Doncaster threatened to spoil the party and left the tie poised at 4-4 on aggregate.

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That meant penalties were needed to decide the victor - with the Addicks holding their nerve.

Lee Bowyer's side immediately stamped their authority on the fixture on their own patch and, with just two minutes on the clock, Arsenal loanee Krystian Bielik nodded home a Josh Cullen free-kick to extend their overall advantage to two goals.

That was quickly halved though, with Doncaster levelling only moments later - Tommy Rowe rifling home a fine effort from 20 yards to hand Grant McCann's side a glimmer of hope.

And they tried their best to make turn that glimmer into a reality before the break, with John Marquis seeing an effort well-saved before Ben Whiteman blazed a good opportunity wide.

Herbie Kane came close after the interval with an effort from range, but Rovers struggled to break down a Charlton side who looked dangerous on the counter attack.

They could have extended their lead late on with Josh Parker agonisingly close to turning home a cross from Lyle Taylor while the latter then saw a goal controversially ruled out for offside.

That decision then came back to haunt the Addicks with just two minutes remaining - Andy Butler rising highest to convert a corner at the far post and send the game to extra time.

And in the first half of the additional 30 minutes, Rovers pounced again to take the lead for the first time in the tie as Marquis converted from close range.

But their advantage was short-lived as Charlton restored parity on aggregate moments later thanks to substitute Darren Pratley's simple tap-in.

A cagey second period of extra-time followed, with neither side seriously threatening in the manner in which they had done for the previous 195 minutes of the tie.

That meant penalties were needed to decide the winner - and it was Charlton who triumphed after Marquis and Rowe both missed from 12 yards.