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League One Round-Up – Late Drama Leaves Charlton on Brink of Promotion

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By Stephen Clark

Monday 05 March 2012

With the matches at the top end of nPower League One entering stoppage time on Saturday, Charlton Athletic fans will have been looking at a day of disappointment with their lead at the top of the table being reduced. However an incredible sequence of events at matches involving the promotion chasing sides saw the London sides lead extended to a massive 13 points.

Charlton’s visit to Bournemouth always promised to be a difficult one and a well-earned point from a goalless draw would have been taken as the match entered stoppage time. However Jan Kermogent’s goal in the third added minute handed the Robins their 13th away victory of the season, a club record.

That goal proved even more precious with the events at Bramall Lane. Sheffield United had cruised into a 2-0 lead over lowly Oldham Athletic with goals from Matthew Lowton and Ched Evans but Richard Creswell’s own goal on the hour sparked a disastrous 10 minutes for the Blades. First Lowton was dismissed for a second yellow card and then Kieran Lee drove home from 15 yards to level matters. With the game entering stoppage time, Harry Maguire brought down Ruben Reid in the penalty area to leave the Blades with nine men. Shefki Kuqi completed the comeback by despatching the penalty to snatch the three points for Paul Dickov’s side.

Charlton’s fans joy was enhanced further by news from Spotland where third place Sheffield Wednesday were held to a goalless draw, with new manager Dave Jones watching from the stands. The result left the Owls in third place leaving Charlton with a 17 point cushion in the automatic promotion places with just 12 games remaining.

The gap would have been 16 but for Huddersfield Town’s incredible capitulation at Bury. Simon Grayson’s side roared into a three goal lead after just half an hour at Gigg Lane, with Jordan Rhodes grabbing another brace. Grayson’s downfall at Leeds United was a leaky defence and after throwing away a two goal lead in midweek against Stevenage, those frailties reared their head again. Steven Schumacher’s 30 yard free kick before half time gave Bury a lifeline which was grabbed more firmly with Lenell John-Lewis’ goal 20 minutes from time. Once again it was a 92nd minute goal which completed the drama as Ashley Eastham turned in Peter Sweeney’s corner to rescue a point and leave Town in 4th place.

MK Dons consolidated their 5th place with a 1-1 draw at Hartlepool, while Stevenage dropped out of the play-off places following their 1-1 draw at Exeter.

Notts County took advantage to move into the play-off spots with a 2-0 home victory over Carlisle United. Alan Sheehan’s superb free kick sealed a fourth straight win for the Magpies under new boss Keith Curle, who has yet to see his side concede.

Chesterfield picked up their first win in eight games to move off the bottom of the table, Jordan Bowery grabbing the goal which handed Tranmere Rovers a 1-0 defeat. That left the Merseyside club with just one win from their last 18 games and saw them dispense with the services of manager Les Parry.

Wycombe Wanderers fell to the foot of the table, beaten 4-1 at Scunthorpe. That result left Gary Waddock’s side five points adrift of safety, while Scunthorpe moved out of the relegation zone into 18th place.

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