Charlton Athletic 2 Sunderland 1
You’ll never going to believe us, but the reds are going up. Allez, Allez, Allez.
Well, what a journey that was. What a day. What a team, what heroes Lee Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson are. Yesterday will be a day Addicks, team and supporters as one, will remember for the rest of their lives.
The finer details of the game are a little blurry. It was game that flipped from scrappy to nervy to a finely balanced battle. It’s interesting that reports of the game seemed to think we were deserving winners. I wasn’t so sure from where I sat, but Sunderland are a very functional side, hard to beat, but lacking flair. Meanwhile Bowyer has put together a team that can change a game, be the more adventurous, can play around sides. The first goal, which was pure poetry, a great example.
Set against a wall of noise nothing much happened until the 5th minute and almost in front of us Naby Sarr passed the ball back to Phillips in slow motion. What a horrendous moment. I wasn’t sure how we were ever going to come back from that. The goal threw cold water over our end of the stadium. My brother said to me the good thing was that it was early. There wasn’t much else good about it.
Importantly Phillips then made an excellent save getting down low to his left. Sunderland’s fans enjoyed that start, but in a noise possession stakes, it was the Addicks making most of it. On the pitch though it was apparent that it was taking a long while to pull ourselves together.
Getting the equalizer before half-time was crucial. Purrington arriving late at the far post, not put off by Pratley hurling himself at the ball, to convert a Taylor cross after a lovely passing move. Addicks’ fans shook the stadium on it’s foundations. Bielik skipped the celebrations and made his way over to Phillips to hug him.
Bowyer is not afraid to make a half-time substitution. Possibly he started too defensive, although Pratley played well and after the own-goal we needed all the old heads we could get. Pearce contribution was great as well but I like Bielik in midfield and he started to get his foot on the ball.
Off the bench Aiden McGeady may have got the welcome of the messiah, but it was Jonny Williams who made the biggest difference to the game. Whilst others squandered possession or just wanted to pass it on quickly, Williams found space and time and ran at Sunderland’s tiring defence time and again.
The clocked ticked on, 76,000 plus people awaited the inevitable extra time, and we looked knackered. Christ I was knackered. Yet, in those last few minutes it was us who pushed men up to get the win. A couple of outside edge of the box free kicks, the last of which both Pearce and Bauer stayed up. We picked up the ball in middle of the pitch and it was worked out to Aribo, who flicked it to Cullen….
Hell, I don’t need to describe the goal, you like me would have watched it a gazillion times. It’s a thing of beauty and Bauer’s determination to first win the header, and then to sweep his foot at the loose ball from a sitting position brought absolute delirium and celebrations.
93.55 minutes on the clock, and we partied like it was 1998.
Addicks at Wembley Stadium: Doctor Kish; Addicks Third Division Diary; Albury Addick; And Nothing Else Matters; Blackheath Addick; Drinking During the Game;
Bow: “It was a crazy game wasn’t it. Nothing is straight forward with us. Obviously the mistake early on. I can’t say I’ve really ever seen that before, especially in a final. It shows the character of the players that were put together. I’ve been saying all season that we’ve got a unique group of players. I’ve said it so many times. They could have easily gone under there once we gave that goal away but they didn’t, they were brave and they were men.“
Amazing emotional unforgettable day, lifetime memories, hard to put into words, still floating
Really feel for Sunderland, their fans are class, they’ll bounce back strong but we would’ve crumbled had we lost
Enjoy the summer mate along with all other Addicks and let’s look forward to them fixtures coming out for the first time in a long time
Agree with that Steve. Memories for a lifetime. Enjoy your summer as well.
We did it, WOW but we don’t make it easy. I’m so glad that the Phillips/Sarr mistake didn’t cost us in the end. Phillips has been outstanding since coming back into the side in January and I would have hated his situation if we had lost, I concur with your comment about the starting 11 being defensive. If you analyse the Doncaster and Sunderland games we never won a section of the games when we set up with a holding/defensive system. We won the first half at Doncaster
2-0 when we had a positive line up. Second half we set up to hold the game and lost the half
1-0. In the return game we started with a positive line up and went in at half time 1-1. In the second half we set up to hold the game as we were leading 3-2 on aggregate, we lost that section of the game when Doncaster scored taking us into extra time – a goal by Doncaster put us behind for the first time in the tie but thankfully their goalkeeper failed to deal with Taylor’s cross and Pratley scrambled it in so, we went to the penalty shoot out which thankfully we won.
Against Sunderland we set up somewhat defensive and were level until that was changed with the introduction of Williams – a positive move which helped us to raise our game and get the win. As you said no reflection on Pratley.
I thought everybody played well and gave everything on the field for the club,and I thought that Dijksteel had his best game in the shirt. Pearce came on at half time and was outstanding Parker worked hard but since being in the team has not scored and I can only remember one assist.
No one ever said it was going to be easy being an Addick!
Excellent analysis as always. Really want to thank you for your comments this season rierti. I and others really look forward to them.
Some really good analysis from Rierti above. I was a bit like you CA. It was pretty much a blur for me, but I had really “enjoyed the day” a lot in the Green man beforehand and was more focused on getting behind the lads, than watching them. For me the best season ever; we’d seen about 33 games and enjoyed every one even when we lost.That ending was just the icing on the cake. I didn’t want to leave – we got gently ushered out by a steward (there is a pic of us on Charlton Life as we were leaving). I wanted to wring every ounce out of the day, and so we spent a few more hours in the Green Man after.
Strange things from the day – with ten minutes left a girl wanted to argue that it was red and white army not red army, and two blokes under 25 who had the same Carbrini shirt as me…
I’m still buzzing now and occasionally welling up reading all the views.
Just heard the Sunderland Chairman’s interview. Brutally honest. wish he was ours!
PA – you were in the Green Man and you didn’t buy me a beer 😄. Was it you with the flare? 🔴
Truly fantastic day. No words to describe it, and I really mean this. For you and your son and many others that go all over the country, you deserved Sunday and promotion more than most for your undying loyalty. Many thanks for your comments and support this season mate.
Enjoy your summer. CA
Lol – the only flares I ever had were three button waistband ones in the 70s!
Was it you body surfing on the grass in the Green Man after the game!
Thanks for your kind words. I reckon its tougher being hundreds of miles away myself. Also thanks for your fantastic blog as ever – as usual its been the go to one for me.
You enjoy your summer too – and pray it becomes Roland free….