Charlton Athletic 2 Doncaster Rovers 3 (AET. 4-4 on aggregate, 4-3 on penalties)
At some point this afternoon I had stopped shaking. I have to admit I hated every minute of the game. Watching in a pub with sympathetic work colleagues and random strangers concerned to why this bloke staring at a TV for what seemed hours was going through a somersault of emotions and odd facial expressions, and ended in a tearful heap on a bar stool.
Had a bloody headache this morning though. Jesus what a night, what an achievement and the end, the pitch invasion, the unadulterated joy. The pride. Roland and his evil ownership not even the slightest regard.
It had been a long and nervy day, I didn’t sleep well, but we had the start that we had all hoped for. Bielik heading in a 2 minute free-kick. Game over. Oh no, nowhere near.
Doncaster dominated after that. The lip and acerbity aside, they are a good side, a footballing team, with goals in them. And I became increasingly worried as the game progressed. Our passing more sloppy, potential match winners Aribo, Cullen, Sarr, Taylor, Bielik unable to spur us on despite tremendous noise raining down from the stands.
Yet, we had reached the 88th minute and the end was in sight, but we couldn’t hang on as Rovers scored yet another late goal against us. Extra time and we looked spent.
Nonetheless we started the first half of extra time like we started the match an hour and a half before. Then quickly Doncaster broke and an unmarked Marquis headed in. Suddenly we were behind. But not beaten. Darren Pratley on at half-time and literally everywhere equalized almost immediately.
There was no keeping the boys in red and white down. It was always going to be penalties and when Rowe put their 5th penalty wide Addicks everywhere danced for joy and I could watch videos of those lucky Addicks streaming onto the pitch like a tide of red for absolutely ever. Allez, Allez, Allez.
More thoughts tomorrow.
Addicks at The Valley: Doctor Kish; Albury Addick;
Bow: “I was okay with the shootout because you can’t control that. It’s just the luck of the draw.”
Elsewhere: In a scrappy and tetchy game on the south coast it ended goalless on Thursday night meaning Sunderland go through winning 1-0 on aggregate.