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Match Reports

Report: Charlton Athletic 1 Rovers 0

Rovers lose at The Valley but take title race down to the final day of the season

28 April 2018

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Rovers took the title race to the last game of the season despite suffering defeat at The Valley against Charlton Athletic.

A fortunate Jason Pearce goal was the difference, but Wigan slipping up at home to Wimbledon meant it was a missed opportunity for Rovers, who go into the clash against Oxford needing a win and a Wigan defeat at Doncaster.

It was a much better showing from the visitors in the second half, with chances falling but not being taken against a Charlton side who failed to really test Jayson Leutwiler, who was making his league debut for the club.

Due to injuries and fatigue, and following on from promotion which was sealed at Doncaster, David Raya, Elliott Bennett, Derrick Williams, Craig Conway, Bradley Dack and Danny Graham all dropped out of the XI.

Coming into the side were Leutwiler, Paul Caddis, Amari'i Bell, Paul Downing, Jack Payne and Dominic Samuel, who were all handed the opportunity to impress.

Leutwiler made his league debut for the club, with Raya out with a groin problem, whilst Dack (hamstring), Conway (foot), Bennett (knee) and Williams (abductor) all missed out on the squad through injury.

Four of our Under-23s Premier League 2 Division 2 title winners made the bench with each hoping for some first team action in south London.

It was an opening 15 minutes of few chances but Rovers almost created the first opportunity, but after Richie Smallwood danced past a couple of challenges, his ball just evaded the returning Samuel in the box.

But four minutes later and the hosts took the lead as Ahmed Kashi's left-footed strike clipped off the knee of Jason Pearce, and deceived Leutwiler before nestling in the corner of the net.

Rovers responded and had plenty of possession but struggled to get their shots away in the attacking areas against a resolute home backline.

With time ticking away until the break, a penalty shout came when Samuel latched onto a clipped Smallwood ball but after going down under the challenge of Ezri Konsa, referee Robert Jones waved away calls for a spot kick.

On the stroke of half time, Corry Evans lashed over the bar after striking a half-volley first time as Rovers went into the interval losing.

Rovers raced out of the blocks after the break and just a minute into the half, Smallwood made a superb run and evaded a challenge before Ben Amos was out to smother his left-footed attempt.

The ball was eventually hacked clear for a corner and from that flag kick, Charlie Mulgrew headed Adam Armstrong’s kick wide of the target.

Rovers were starting to come to life and Payne was denied by Amos in quick succession before the danger was cleared - the second being a superb reaction save from the home stopper.

A double change occurred just after the hour with Lewis Travis and Graham entering the action in place of Caddis and Payne as Mowbray looked to find a route to an equaliser.

Midfielder Kashi blazed over as Charlton looked to extend their lead, whilst at the other end, Armstrong slashed wide after Darragh Lenihan broke forward from the back.

Rovers were upping the ante and after Graham’s strike was blocked for a corner, Mulgrew’s centre found Samuel whose header hit the bar and bounced down before being smashed clear with 12 minutes to go.

Samuel was again in the thick of the action soon after as he forced Amos to beat away his stinging drive after being found on the right by Travis.

The Addicks were still a threat and Leutwiler kept Rovers in the game with a brilliant late save to stop Jake Forster-Caskey’s fizzing effort from finding the net with just five minutes to go.

But despite having seven minutes added time to score, Rovers struggled and couldn’t find a goal or two to get one hand on the title.

Rovers are in action for the final time this season when we host Oxford United at Ewood Park. Tickets have been discounted so let’s pack out the park. You can purchase your tickets by clicking here.

Charlton Athletic: Amos, Page (Da Silva, 48), Ajose (Mavadidi, 80), Reeves, Forster-Caskey, Konsa, Magennis, Pearce (c), Marshall, Bauer, Kashi.

Unused substitutes: Phillips, Jackson, Lennon, Aribo, Zyro.

Goal: Pearce, 19

Booked: Page, 34, Forster-Caskey, 85

Rovers: Leutwiler, Caddis (Travis, 63), Lenihan, Downing, Mulgrew (c), Bell, Smallwood, Evans (Whittingham 76), Payne (Graham, 63), Armstrong, Samuel.

Unused substitutes: Fisher, Antonsson, Tomlinson, Nuttall.

Booked: Payne, 41, Lenihan, 65, Smallwood, 73, Downing, 90

Attendance: 17,310 (3,110)

Referee: Robert Jones


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