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Black Cats to down Pompey again? Get League One play-off tips

Leigh Copson 20 May 2019
The Valley (credit:Matthew Impey/EMPICS Sport)

League One predictions for the second legs of the League One play-off semi-finals on Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17. Can Sunderland complete the job when they head to Portsmouth for the second leg, and will Charlton Athletic seal another trip to Wembley Stadium when they host Doncaster Rovers? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Portsmouth v Sunderland (Thursday 19:45 BST)

Sunderland have a slight upper-hand in this two-legged tie as they prepare to visit Portsmouth for the second leg. A stunning Chris Maguire volley settled things in the first leg, although it was not all plain-sailing for the Black Cats as they had Alim Ozturk sent off and needed the frame of the goal to keep out a Gareth Evans free-kick. Sunderland also had chances to increase their lead, but they failed to take them and that leaves us with the question – can Portsmouth punish them to seal a trip to Wembley Stadium? There is plenty of insight into this fixture because this is the fifth time these two clubs have met this season. That 1-0 victory at the weekend was the first time they have come out on top in a fixture this season, because the other league meeting at the Stadium of Light ended in a stalemate and the trip to Fratton Park earlier in the campaign resulted in a 3-1 defeat for Jack Ross’ side. Portsmouth and Sunderland also met in the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley in March and it was Pompey who came out on top, winning the match on penalties after the two teams played out a 2-2 draw. So as you can see, these two clubs have been involved in closely-contested fixtures all season long with the only exception being that 3-1 success for Portsmouth on their own turf. And where is this match taking place…. at Pompey’s home! This is a tough one to call, but I fancy the hosts to turn this around and at least force extra-time. While they did suffer a couple of disappointing home results towards the end of the season, their home form during the final few months were strong and they have lost just once at Fratton Park since early January. Sunderland, meanwhile, have a had real problems winning matches away from the North East in recent months. That ‘travel sickness’ may come back to bite them on Thursday night.

Charlton Athletic v Doncaster Rovers (Friday 19:45 BST)

As I predicted Charlton Athletic left the Keepmoat Stadium with a first-leg lead thanks to a 2-1 win over a Doncaster Rovers side that finished a long way behind the rest of the play-off teams in the league table. 12 points separated Rovers from the team directly above them and 15 points separated these two clubs after 46 games, so it was no real surprise when the Addicks came out on top in the first leg of this tie. Matty Blair did give Doncaster some hope late on when he pulled one back but first-half strikes from Lyle Taylor and Joe Aribo were enough to give Charlton the win and now that they are back on their own patch you have to believe that they will complete the job on Friday night. After all, only League One champions Luton Town boasted a better home record at the end of the campaign. Charlton won 16 of their 23 home games, losing just twice, and when they hosted Doncaster back in early November they ran out 2-0 winners. Rovers did spring an upset when they beat the Addicks at The Valley in an FA Cup tie a couple of months later, but that result does nothing to sway my mind. Lee Bowyer’s men have been consistently strong at home all season long and each of their last three home wins have seen them overcome a one-goal handicap. Rovers, on the other hand, have lost by two goals or more in each of their last four away defeats, so backing Charlton to erase a one-goal handicap is very tempting bet for Friday’s second leg.

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Black Cats to down Pompey again? Get League One play-off tips

League One predictions for the second legs of the League One play-off semi-finals on Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17.

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