Charlton Athletic 4-0 Rochdale: Addicks set to face Doncaster Rovers in play-offs after final day stroll earns third place finish

Charlton will face Doncaster Rovers in the play-offs after a comfortable 4-0 win over Rochdale saw the Addicks finish third in League One.

Portsmouth’s draw with Accrington, coupled with Sunderland’s defeat at Southend, means the South Londoners claimed third on goal difference and will head to the Keepmoat Stadium next Sunday for the first leg of the tie.

Rovers will return to The Valley on Friday 17thMay as the two sides battle out for a place in the promotion final at Wembley.

The Addicks were three to the good at the break thanks to strikes from Joe Aribo and Lyle Taylor either side of a Calvin Andrew own-goal.

Krystian Bielik added a fourth fifteen minutes from time as Lee Bowyer’s side prepare to tackle the play-offs in spectacular form.

They’ve now gone unbeaten at home for seven months, winning their last six in SE7. They finish on 88 points – a total that would have been good enough for automatic promotion in four in the previous ten League One seasons.

Charlton Athletic v Rochdale, SkyBet League 1, The Valley, 04 May 2019

The only downside was that Igor Vetokele was ruled out for the clash with Dale before the game – although Bowyer said afterwards that he hopes to have his striker back for the play-offs.

Aribo had already twice come close to breaking the deadlock before finally did so on nineteen minutes. Visiting goalkeeper Josh Lillis was out to smother as Taylor was sent clear on goal, but the loose ball fell for Josh Parker. The Addicks striker, in for the injured Vetokele, backheeled the ball into Aribo’s path, who curled his ninth goal of the season into the unguarded net.

The hosts were well on top and added a second just thirteen minutes later. Albie Morgan’s gorgeous flick made space for Taylor on the right-hand-side of the penalty area. The striker’s dangerous cross was begging to be touched home and former Palace man Andrew obliged and he bundled into his own net under pressure from Addicks left-back Ben Purrington.

Rochdale’s Calvin Andrew puts through his own net against Charlton. Keith Gillard

The third came five minutes before the interval. Morgan and Taylor linked up once more as the former played the latter through into an acre of space behind the Dale back-line. The Montserrat international rolled it beyond Lillis to grab his 24thgoal of the campaign and kill the game off before the break.

Lyle Taylor adds Charlton’s third against Rochdale. Keith Gillard

It could even had been four as Parker was denied by a last-ditch block on the goal-line just before the interval but the South Londoners should have had a man advantage to go with their lead shortly after the restart.

Parker was chasing a long-ball over the top before being unceremoniously hauled down by Jimmy Keohane – who was only booked despite there being no covering defender in sight.

Morgan ruffled the side-netting from Taylor’s low-cross as the resulting free-kick was taken quickly, with Parker then guilty of a bad miss moments later.

Krystian Bielik scores Charlton’s fourth against Rochdale. Lyle Taylor celebrates his goal for Charlton against Rochdale with teammates. Keith Gillard

Taylor’s shot was parried into the former Gillingham man’s path but he slipped as he stretched to try and turn the ball into the empty net. He was then unlucky as his deft flick from a low Taylor cross dribbled just wide.

Bielik got in on the act late on as he fired across Lillis and in to grab his third goal of the season, and his first at The Valley.

Morgan was denied by a flying save from Lillis as the Addicks went in search for more but four goals would be enough to see the South Londoners climb above Pompey and set-up a play-off semi-final with Doncaster Rovers.

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