Charlton Athletic struck a wildly late blow to clinch the final place in the 2019-20 Football League Championship, defeating Sunderland 2-1 in Sunday’s promotion playoff at Wembley Stadium.
A stoppage time free kick in a cagey affair led to a scrum in the box, with Patrick Bauer sliding to strike a shot off a Sunderland defender and into the goal.
[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]
The goal came at the 3:55 mark of four minutes stoppage time, and was the 26-year-old defender’s first goal of the season.
Ben Purrington had leveled the score line for Charlton after Sunderland went ahead via an early own goal. The Addicks were relegated from the Championship after the 2015-16 season, while Sunderland went down last year.
It had to feel extra special to manager Lee Bowyer, who played with Sunderland local rivals Newcastle United from 2003-06.
Sunderland held off Portsmouth to advance to the League One promotion playoff final, and the testy 0-0 second leg really kicked off in the second half.
Black Cats midfielder Luke O’Nien tumbled into the seating area after a tussle with Pompey’s Tom Naylor in the 64th minute.
[ MORE: Jovic to Real Madrid ]
But as O’Nien was kicked by a fan in the front row during his attempt to return to the pitch, setting off a scene with Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole.
The usually ornery and understandably more so Cattermole looked as if he was ready to tangle with the Portsmouth fan before things settled down.
With no goals scored in the second leg, Chris Maguire’s first leg marker at the Stadium of Light sends Sunderland to the precipice of a return to the Championship. The Black Cats will meet with Charlton Athletic or Doncaster Rovers in the final.
It seems like there is much more to the incident reportedly involving Joey Barton and a fellow League One manager.
Barnsley launched a complaint after Fleetwood Town manager Barton allegedly attacked his counterpart Daniel Stendel after a match on Saturday.
[ MORE: Klopp on 1st time facing Messi ]
Police stopped Barton from leaving the stadium after the match, and Barnsley player Cauley Woodrow has now taken down a Tweet saying that Stendel was left with “blood pouring down his face.”
Now Barton is denying allegations that he attacked Stendel, and is expected to be in the dugout for the Fishermen, who sit 11th in League One.
“With regards to the alleged incident on Saturday following our game against Barnsley, I emphatically deny the allegations made. Given this matter has not been formally closed, it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment.”
Barton’s checkered past is well-documented, but this tale continues to develop in fascinating ways.
The goal of the weekend in the English Football League is going to go to an 18-year-old United States prospect.
Making his League One debut for Southend United, Charlie Kelman made it one to remember in a 3-2 loss.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Kelman took center stage with Southend trailing Plymouth Argyle 3-1 in stoppage time. Regaining possession in his own half, the England-born forward belted the ball 60-plus yards to catch Kyle Letheren off his line.
We saw what Manchester City’s second unit is capable of doing to a Championship side when Pep Guardiola‘s men deconstructed Rotherham United to the tune of 7-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
[ RECAP: Spurs 1-0 Chelsea ]
So what can City do to a mid-table side from League One? And how unthinkable an upset is a Burton Albion victory, especially since manager Nigel Clough was “staggered” by reaching the semi via a defeat of Middlesbrough?
Well, let’s think on it.
Burton Albion’s only defeat of a Premier League team this season is a 2-1 take down of visiting Burnley, and all five of their League Cup wins have come by single goals.
And while City may have lost to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup last season, that was not in a round on the precipice of a final.
Clough, no stranger to the upper reaches of competition, puts its plainly. From The Telegraph:
“It’s almost a bye to the final for City. I don’t think we can go into it thinking we’ve got a fighting chance of winning it,” he says, deadly serious. “If we beat them over two legs, it will be the biggest shock of all time. I don’t know what Pep’s thinking will be but I would imagine it will be to make the second leg irrelevant. But we’ve got to try and do the opposite to that and try to retain a glimmer of hope.”
What is Pep thinking, then (Let’s keep up the thinking theme)?
“Winning is important,” he said. “The Carabao Cup is the more local competition. Everybody is happy to win and nobody is sad if they go out in the competition. We are here in the semi-final and we want to win.”
Burton beating Man City over two legs would be on par with Leicester City winning the Premier League. Is that too bold to say?