Games against Doncaster will always be associated in our minds with that extraordinary few weeks in May 2019 when our team put us through so much agony before finally sealing promotion to The Championship at Wembley.
What an amazing night that was at The Valley on May 17th 2019. We so nearly threw it away two or three times before finally being able to celebrate on the pitch after Tommy Rowe's fatal penalty miss. Today, as we struggle to find imaginative new ways to fill The Valley, we are reminded that it really isn't so difficult. Just build a well-balanced, skillful and committed team which includes some charismatic characters and rest assured that "they will come" - just as 25,428 did that evening.
The following season Doncaster finished a respectable ninth on points per game when the season was curtailed, although they never really threatened to reach the play-offs. Last season they were comfortably in the top six right through to the start of March but eight defeats in the last twelve games after Darren Moore had left for Sheffield Wednesday meant that they dropped to fourteenth. One of those defeats saw Ian Maatsen score his first senior goal to give Nigel Adkins his first win as Charlton manager.
Moore's replacement Andy Butler was himself replaced by Richie Wellens for this season but his team never recovered from a dreadful start - one point after six games - and have been in the relegation places ever since. Wellens was replaced by Gary McSheffrey in December but he has been unable to turn the club's fortunes around. They are currently 1n 23rd place with the worst goal difference (-45) in the entire EFL. They have scored fewer goals than anyone else in League One (28) and have conceded more (73) than all apart from Morecambe. They have lost 25 of 39 games in total and 11 of those have been at home. Only Accrington, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham, Milton Keynes and Morecambe have been beaten at The Eco-Power (formerly Keepmoat) Stadium this season. Donny's last goal was a month ago when our old friend Tommy Rowe scored a second half brace to secure a point at Wimbledon. Despite all that they are only four points away from safety so, as Johnnie Jackson has commented “We expect another tough game, they are not going to hand anything on a plate to us that's for sure. We are going to have to go up there and earn it. It will take time and patience.”
A good run of results from here on could see Charlton overtake Burton, Cheltenham and Accrington and finish as high as twelfth. That is hardly blowing the League apart but it would at least avoid our lowest finish for nearly a hundred years. We salute the 550 supporters who will be up there on Saturday - in particular the coach load whose travel CAST is subsidising in memory of Charlton's greatest ever travelling supporter - Seb Lewis - who died two years ago.
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