FOOTBALL LEAGUE boff Gabriel Sutton (@_FootbalLab) runs the rule over the League One play-off semi-final second leg between Shrewsbury and Charlton on Sunday.
Shrewsbury v Charlton | Sunday 13th May 2018, 17:15 | Sky Sports
Shrewsbury Town deserved their 1-0 first leg win at the Valley, where Jon Nolan’s excellent late scissor-kick proved the difference.
Yes, they had to ride their luck a little early on, when Josh Magennis and Jake Forster-Caskey came close but the central midfielders, Ben Godfrey and Bryn Morris, grew in influence as the game went on.
As Shrewsbury got further up the pitch, we saw the partnership of Nolan and Shaun Whalley come to the fore and the duo could once again be key.
Paul Hurst must get the balance right: his side have a lead to protect, but they are also at their best creatively when they can turn possession over in the opposition half.
Addicks to attack?
Even after Charlton fell behind late on in Thursday’s game, they didn’t attack with too much gusto, perhaps fearful of giving themselves an even bigger deficit to claw back in the second leg.
They will have to take more risks here – a draw would see them stay in League One next season – and added Addicks adventure could open up the contest, as history would suggest.
The last five League One play-off semi-final second legs in which one team has held an aggregate lead before kick-off, have seen a combined total of 19 goals.
Of course, it’s important to consider the characteristics of the teams involved. One of the second legs was last year’s goalless draw between Bradford City, who made the final and Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood Town, surprisingly patient in possession even when time was against them.
Equally, 10 of the 19 goals came in 2015’s 5-5 draw between Nigel Clough’s Sheffield United and Mark Cooper’s swashbuckling Swindon – who were punished for their defensive negligence by Preston in the final that year.
Overall, second legs tend to be the more enterprising clashes when one team has something to chase.
Charlton have a lot of pace in their team – more so perhaps than we saw under Karl Robinson – with Lee Bowyer keen to use wide men like Sulley Kaikai and Mark Marshall, whilst fitting two strikers on the pitch in Josh Magennis and Nicky Ajose.
Those players will be asked to make bold runs off the ball and, will they might well threaten, we do not expect their shape to be especially tight.
The betting angle
The second half is the period we reckon this game will come to life and given that the hosts have excelled at counter-attacking all season, we like Betfair’s 5/1 on Shrewsbury to score Over 1.5 goals after the break.
While Carlton Morris is Hurst’s favoured starting striker due to the Norwich loanee’s work ethic, Stefan Payne arguably poses more of a goal threat. The ex-Barnsley man has scored the last goal on eight occasions in the league this year and we’ll also recommend Bet365’s 5/1 on him to strike the final blow.