The final round of second leg play-off games see two sides hold one goal leads in Sky Bet League One. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.
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Charlton v Doncaster
Despite defeat in the first leg, Matty Blair's late strike has given Doncaster hope as they travel to the Valley to take on Charlton.
The Addicks hold a 2-1 advantage and still remain the favourites to progress to the final where Sunderland await. Their home form has been great throughout the season and that will cause problems for Rovers.
Lee Bowyer's men finished their season with six straight victories in front of their own supporters, the last two seeing eight goals scored and none conceded.
They also managed to secure a 3-1 victory over eventual champions Luton in mid-April. Goals are a characteristic of this season and you imagine that the trend will continue on Friday night.
Backing a home win at even money looks excellent value. While Doncaster had the fourth best home record in League One across the regular season, there were eleven better teams than them away.
They also possess one of the worst defensive records on the road. They sit 18th for goals conceded away, which doesn't sit well against a side who have scored 41 at home.
The play-offs can throw up surprises but this game should favour the hosts. Even money is appealing, but backing a win with over 2.5 goals more than doubles that price.
Score prediction: Charlton 3-1 Doncaster (Sky Bet odds: 14/1)
- Since the start of last season, Charlton have only lost once in six clashes with Doncaster in all competitions, winning three and drawing two, including a 2-1 victory in the first leg at the Keepmoat.
- Charlton have won five of their six home league games against Doncaster (L1), keeping clean sheets in each of their five victories; this is the first time they’ve met at the Valley in the play-offs.
- Charlton are unbeaten in their last 17 league games at the Valley (W13 D4), winning each of the last six – the Addicks haven’t won seven home league games in a row (inc. play-offs) since August 1998.
- Doncaster won just one of their last 10 away League One games of the season (D4 L5), a 1-0 victory at bottom of the league Bradford City.
- Each of the last five teams to win the first leg of the League One play-offs away from home have progressed to the final – the last team to fail to do so were Carlisle United against Leeds in the 2007-08 season.
- Since Lee Bowyer’s first game in charge of Charlton Athletic on March 24, 2018, the Addicks have won more league matches (including play-offs) than any other non-Premier League side (33 wins).
- Doncaster strike John Marquis has just scored just one goal in his last eight away League One matches, however he did score in his last such appearance against Oxford.
- Lyle Taylor has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 11 league games (inc. play-offs) for Charlton (10 goals, 3 assists); scoring and assisting against Doncaster last time out.
Portsmouth v Sunderland
Sunderland hold a slim 1-0 advantage heading into a tough second leg tie away at Portsmouth.
Chris Maguire's thunderous effort was enough to give the Black Cats victory in a tight contest that could well have ended level.
It puts Pompey in the difficult position of having to secure a win against a team who haven't lost many games this season. While it is a challenge, Kenny Jackett's men are capable of passing it.
Their home form, on the whole, has been good. While they had to settle for dropped points in their final two games of the regular season in front of their own supporters, the results gained at Fratton Park against top-half sides can give them hope.
While draws dominated February, including games against Barnsley and Doncaster, they beat Sunderland just before Christmas and they will need to draw upon that if they are to turn this contest around.
Portsmouth's Matt Clarke discussed the contest by saying: "I remember when we played Plymouth in the play-offs at Fratton Park a few years ago and there was some atmosphere that night. So we’re confident as a squad that we can turn things around and it’s quite clear what we have to do.
"It’s up to us to take the game to Sunderland, doing whatever we can to win the game and go through. There wasn’t a lot in the first leg, which was lacking many clear-cut chances, and we know we can go toe-to-toe with them.
"We’re obviously aware that nothing less than a win will do and the next goal in the tie will likely be important."
That last point is a good one, the first goal in this game is key and we've already seen in this play-offs how the home side have been able to score first in second leg contests.
Forest Green, West Brom and Leeds all managed to net first and while they didn't quite get the outcome they wanted, the various reasons as to why don't particularly concern Portsmouth.
Fratton Park will be loud and if they can grab the first goal then they have a fantastic chance to go on and win the game. At a price of 15/8, it is worth backing the hosts to reach Wembley for a second time this season.
90 minutes score prediction: Portsmouth 1-0 Sunderland (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
- Portsmouth are unbeaten in seven home matches against Sunderland (W5 D2 L0) since losing 1-4 in a second-tier meeting in November 1997.
- Sunderland ended the League One season with two away defeats – they had lost just two of their previous 25 away games in all competitions this season (W13 D10 L2).
- Portsmouth have never won a play-off match in five attempts (W0 D2 L3), with both of their home games ending 2-2 – against Leicester in 1992-93 and Plymouth Argyle in 2015-16.
- The last League One side to overturn a first-leg play-off deficit and reach the final were Yeovil Town in 2012-13 against Sheffield United.
- Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett has never lost a home play-off match (P3 W2 D1 L0) – should Pompey go through to the final, it would be Jackett’s fourth play-off final as a manager, with only Neil Warnock reaching more (5).
- Sunderland have won 13 away games in all competitions this season – they haven’t won more than 13 in a season since 1998-99 under Peter Reid (15 wins).
- Including play-offs, Sunderland have received eight red cards in League One this season, the joint-highest tally along with Fleetwood Town.
- Chris Maguire has found the net in his last two League One games; including play-off matches, Maguire hasn’t scored in three consecutive Football League games since January 2014 for Sheffield Wednesday.