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Black Cats to be unlucky for Addicks again? Get League One Play-off Final tips

Leigh Copson 19 May 2019
Wembley Stadium (credit:Kevin Kurek/DPA/PA Images)

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland predictions for the League One Play-Off Final on Sunday, May 26. Who will earn promotion to the second tier when Charlton Athletic and Sunderland go head-to-head in a repeat of the 1998 Championship Play-Off Final? Read on for all of our free betting tips and predictions for the League One Play-off.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland

Two former Premier League sides have a second shot at getting out of League One on May 26, but will Charlton Athletic end a three-year stay in the third tier of English football or can Sunderland secure an immediate return to the Championship? And will it be repeat or revenge? These two clubs famously went head-to-head in the old First Division Play-off Final back in 1998, and they produced arguably the greatest ever play-off final. Neither side could hold onto the lead as they played out a thrilling 4-4 draw at Wembley Stadium, resulting in a spot-kick battle that was finally settled in sudden death when Charlton goalkeeper Sasa Ilic saved Michael Gray’s effort. So who will come out on top this time?

This time last year Sunderland were coming to terms with a sudden fall from grace that had seen them suffer back-to-back relegations to fall all the way down to third tier, but Jack Ross has steadied the ship since being appointed manager last summer and although they will be very disappointed not to have secured automatic promotion, they have at least stopped the rot and given themselves a second chance. They narrowly saw off Portsmouth in the semi-finals, winning 1-0 on aggregate, and only Charlton are now standing between the Black Cats and an immediate return to the Championship.

While Sunderland were dealing with another relegation 12 months ago, Charlton were suffering play-off heartache as they lost to Shrewsbury Town in the semi-finals of the League One play-offs. They picked themselves up and dusted themselves off to finish third in the table this season, and this time they successfully negotiated the semi-finals to secure a trip to Wembley. However, they had to survive a major scare at home to Doncaster Rovers in the second leg.

The Addicks looked to be cruising through when they struck in the second minute, but Rovers stunned the Valley by equalising nine minutes later and then forced extra-time when Andy Butler scored with just two minutes remaining. Doncaster then looked to have snatched it in extra-time when John Marquis put them 3-1 up on the night and 4-3 up on aggregate, but Darren Pratley came to Charlton’s rescue by netting the equaliser a minute later and they then won it one penalties after Doncaster missed their last two.

So as you can see, both clubs were made to earn their trip to Wembley, but only one of them can get promoted and previous results this season suggest it will be Sunderland. They ran out 2-1 winners when they hosted Charlton on opening day and then held the Addicks to a 1-1 draw at The Valley later in the season, but I am not so sure that history tells the full story here. Charlton may have technically lost the second of their semi-final clash with Doncaster, but they are in outstanding form and have already shown that they can hold their nerve in pressure situations. Can Sunderland do the same? It would not be unfair to say that out of these two clubs it is the Black Cats who are under the most pressure to come away from the national stadium with a result. They have already wilted there once this season, losing to Portsmouth on penalties after blowing an early lead in the EFL Trophy Final, and I would not be shocked to see it happen again so I am backing Charlton to win this tie in 90 minutes.

I also expect both teams to score. That was a winning bet on both of their League One meetings this season and when you consider Charlton gave up three goals in two games against Doncaster, and managed only one clean sheet against the top six this season, you have to believe there is a good chance they will concede on their way to beating Sunderland in the League One Play-Off Final.

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Black Cats to be unlucky for Addicks again? Get League One Play-off Final tips

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland predictions for the League One Play-Off Final on Sunday, May 26.

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