Charlton Athletic beat Sunderland 2-1 in the League One play-off final on Sunday.
After falling behind to a bizarre Naby Sarr own goal, the Addicks recovered to win promotion to the Championship thanks to an incredible 94th-minute winner from captain Patrick Bauer.
But who were the big winners and losers as Charlton secured a return to the Championship for the first time since 2016?
Winner – Patrick Bauer
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t vintage, but it was certainly dramatic.
Patrick Bauer’s 94th-minute winner fired Charlton Athletic back into the Championship in the most ridiculous style possible, sending the Charlton end at Wembley into absolute raptures. Limbs everywhere.
With extra-time looming, Charlton fired one last hopeful ball into the Sunderland box. Bauer’s original header deflected off Tom Flanagan but fell right back into the path of the German centre-back, who swept the ball home to give Lee Bowyer’s side the ultimate victory.
Utter dispair for the Sunderland fans, but absolute anarchy for the Addicks faithful. What a captain’s contribution.
Loser – Naby Sarr
Charlton may have recovered from it by half-time, but what a horffic moment for the Addicks to put Sunderland 1-0 up.
With just four minutes on the clock, Sarr played what looked to be a routine pass back to Phillips in the Charlton goal, only to turn round and see his goalkeeper scrambling to stop the ball going into the back of the net. Just like that, Sarr became the first Charlton player to score an own goal at Wembley since Bert Turner in the 1946 FA Cup final.
If you were being incredibly harsh, you could say Sarr should have taken a better look behind him before playing the pass but in truth, Phillips made a complete hash of it and the Frenchman really cannot shoulder much of the blame.
Regardless, he will have an own goal in a play-off final forever etched against his name.
Loser – Dillon Phillips
Sarr may walk away with the own goal but it is Phillips who must shoulder the blame for a horrendous start to the game for Lee Bowyer’s side.
As mentioned, Sarr’s pass was nothing more than routine. What followed was truly bizarre. It’s hard to make out whether Phillips’ legs give up under the nerves or whether he simply took his eye off the ball but either we, he allowed it to roll under his foot and into the back of his net in the most humiliating way possible.
Luckily for Phillips, he was able to make a brilliant save from Grant Leadbitter just eight minutes later to restore some confidence, while Ben Purrington equalised for Charlton shortly before half-time.
But just like Sarr, he’ll be reminded of this one for years to come.
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Winner – Ben Purrington
As we mentioned, it was Purrington who charged in at the far post to finish off some brilliant work from Charlton, with Lyle Taylor drilling in a great cross to the left-wing-back.
That was only Purrington’s third professional goal and his first in a non-FA Cup match. If ever there was a stage to score an unlikely goal upon, though, it’s at Wembley in a play-off final with your team 1-0 down.
Purrington helped out his goalkeeper for his earlier mistake and he’ll always be able to say he scored at the home of football.
Loser – Jack Ross
Only Liverpool (1) and Manchester City (4) had lost fewer games than Sunderland (5) in the top four English divisions ahead of Sunday’s play-off final, with Jack Ross restoring pride to the Black Cats’ supporters.
But the Scottish coach had to watch all of that wash away in one ridiculous moment right before full-time, with Bauer’s last-gasp winner consigning Sunderland to another year in League One.
In truth, had Sunderland been more clinical and not drawn a division high 19 games, they wouldn’t have been in this position in the first place. Still, what a cruel way to lose.
Back to the drawing board, Jack.
Winner – Lee Bowyer
Bowyer’s managerial career is still in its fledgeling stage but what an achievement to put on his CV.
Only League One’s top two of Luton Town (94) and Barnsley (91) scored more goals than Charlton (88) during the regular season and with Bowyer sticking to his principle of playing two strikers, his side bagged another four during the play-off semi-finals against Doncaster.
On Sunday, his side suffered a horrible setback with Sarr’s early own goal but recovered in admirable style, maintaining their composure and attacking Sunderland with real vigour throughout the game.
Charlton’s recovery and attitude to grab the last-minute winner is evidence of the mentality being installed by Bowyer. The Championship will be tough for the 42-year-old but he can enjoy this one.
Not bad for someone who didn’t even want to be a manager in the first place.