FOOTBALL LEAGUE fanatic Tom Love (@TomLove_18) runs the rule over Thursday night's League One play-off encounter from The Valley between Charlton and Doncaster.
Charlton v Doncaster | Friday 17th May 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Charlton are in pole position to secure their place at Wembley after a 2-1 victory at the Keepmoat in the first leg of this League One play-off tie. Goals courtesy of the highly-rated Joe Aribo and hitman Lyle Taylor put the Addicks two up but a late Matty Blair header has given Doncaster a sniff.
Having said that, for a play-off side, Donny’s away record isn’t the most impressive and Charlton are formidable hosts. Looking at the prices, the London side are slight odds-on shots to win a game they don’t necessarily have to, and that is generally a warning sign.
However, the gulf in class between the sides, especially since the turn of the year, has been there for all to see.
Lee Bowyer has done a sterling job since taking the helm at The Valley; with a relatively small squad on the whole, they’ve relied on their quality and togetherness. There’s ability throughout the team and it’s hard to pick holes in Athletic’s XI – they’re classy and comfortable all over the park, especially so in midfield.
Bowyer’s fluid 4-1-2-1-2 formation has worked a treat for all. Josh Cullen revelled in a similar formation when on-loan at Bradford a couple of seasons ago and he has maturity on the ball that belies his years. Kristian Bielek has made a serious impression at the base of the diamond and Charlton will be desperate for him to return next year – they’d have to go up to do so though.
Aribo has many suitors too and it’s easy to see why. Tall, fleet-a-foot and possession of cool finishing, it’s no surprise clubs such as Arsenal and Leipzig have been rumoured to be in for the youngster.
I personally didn’t expected Donny to do much this season but all credit to Grant McCann and his players for grasping that ixth spot. I did feel like they needed a win in that first leg in South Yorkshire if they were to make the final. We’ve seen stranger things happen though, but the bookies can’t see an upset here with them trading at around 13/2 To Qualify.
The betting angles
The prices look about right to me in the Match Odds markets so I’m going to switch my focus to alternative punts.
I’m keen on the 6/5 (Paddy Power) on the Second Half to be the Highest Scoring Half. I doubt Donny will come all out from the get-go – they’ll probably try keep it tight and build pressure late on if they have to. Flip that coin onto Charlton and they may be happy keeping the ball, waiting for the visitors to attack and then hit them on the break and kill the tie.
I’m also going to dip into the card market and the player I like, if he plays, is Rovers midfielder Tommy Rowe at 7/1 (SkyBet). He has been in and out of the team so it’s one I’d wait for team news on but if he does play he looks overpriced.
I’ve talked about Charlton and their skilful midfield and that could prove hard to cope with for the visitors. Rowe is an all-action midfielder and with a lot at stake, I’d expect the high card count to continue throughout these play-offs.
Rowe has picked up seven yellows in his 33 appearances this season so I’d expect him to be more of a 4/1 shot here. To be fair, most bookies have him around that price so it’s a real standout price from SkyBet.
Charlton v Doncaster – Second Half to be the Highest Scoring Half (6/5 PaddyPower)
Charlton v Doncaster – Tommy Rowe to be carded (7/1 SkyBet)