Swindon Town are Wembley bound for the first time in 17 years after shocking Charlton Athletic at The Valley on Monday evening.
Town had earned a slight lead after beating The Addicks 2-1 at the County Ground and were hoping to hold onto the lead in London.
However, it would be easy to forgive Swindon fans for thinking that it wasn’t to be our night when No.1 keeper David Lucas hurt is shoulder in the first couple of minutes. The former England U-21 goalkeeper fell awkwardly after successfully collecting a cross. He was eventually replaced by Phil Smith.
The first half was all Charlton and their efforts were rewarded thanks to a bizarre own goal by Simon Ferry who when defending the far post hooked his attempted clearance backwards into the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Charlton dominance continued and the near perfect half for them was made even better when on loan Reading forward David Mooney nicely placed his effort past Phil Smith to give his side a 2-0 lead on the night and a 3-2 lead overall.
Town looked down and out. Our season was without doubt on the brink.
The second half started his Swindon still unable to find some form and it was made worse when Town captain Gordon Greer given a straight red after he quite foolishly followed through with his studs on Deon Burton.
Somehow this changed the game. Lescinel Jean-Francois moved into the centre and performed far better. Stephen Darby and Jon-Paul McGovern also improved but it was Phil Smith he kept his side in it with some great stops to firmly write-off Swindon’s season.
Within minutes of Greer’s departure the game was turned on its head. Charlton failed to close down a promising run by McGovern but when the Scotsman ran into difficulty, indecision from the Charlton denfence and goalkeeper allowed Danny Ward to tap the ball past Randolph to make it 3-3 on aggregate. GAME ON
Miguel Llera was sent-off for Charlton in injury-time for a cynical challange on Charlie Austin.
The rest of the game was typical nervey stuff… It was going to penalties.
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