Charlton Athletic 2-1 Sunderland
Sunderland’s season ended in heartbreak at Wembley Stadium, as a last-gasp Patrick Bauer strike sealed Charlton Athletic’s place in the Sky Bet Championship.
A defensive blunder handed the Lads an early advantage, with Dillon Phillips misjudging Naby Saar’s back pass and allowing the ball to roll into an empty net.
But a double blow followed before the break, as injury forced Max Power off before Ben Purrington rounded off a free-flowing move with an Addicks equaliser.
The second period was an edgy affair and extra-time seemingly beckoned, but with just seconds of stoppage time remaining, a gut-wrenching twist saw Bauer scramble the ball home to clinch victory for Charlton.
Jack Ross named an unchanged side at Wembley, with Charlie Wyke starting up top as George Honeyman, Lee Cattermole, Grant Leadbitter, Chris Maguire and Power formed the midfield.
And it was also as you were in defence, with Jon McLaughlin protected by a back four of Tom Flanagan, Alim Ozturk, Luke O’Nien and Bryan Oviedo.
Charlton, meanwhile, made one change, Lee Bowyer including Darren Pratley as former Black Cat Jonny Williams was named on the bench.
Charlton raced out of the blocks and Lyle Taylor threatened early on, but O’Nien remained calm and collected to clear the danger.
And just five minutes played, Sunderland led as calamity struck in the Addicks backline!
Under no pressure whatsoever, Phillips misjudged Saar’s back pass and the ball rolled into the net.
The Lads could arguably have been awarded a penalty soon after when Wyke’s half-volley struck an arm, but instead they were forced into a change, as Power’s afternoon came to an early end.
Lewis Morgan replaced the midfielder and Ross’ men continued to apply pressure, as Leadbitter’s low effort forced Phillips into a tremendous save.
Charlton regrouped in the stages that followed and despite it whistling over the top, Taylor’s first-time effort issued a warning that the Addicks were far from down.
And shortly after, Bowyer’s men levelled.
A well-worked move involving Joe Aribo and Taylor carved open the Sunderland backline, and Purrington converted from close range.
To their credit, the Black Cats quickly regrouped, but the only further chance before the break saw Oviedo’s deflected cross fizz just wide.
The first real opening of the second period fell to Morgan, but it passed Sunderland by, as the on-loan Celtic winger was unable to make clean contact with Maguire’s cross.
Will Grigg was introduced on 56 minutes, and with both sides locked in a battle for supremacy, further changes followed in the form of Williams and Aiden McGeady.
Clear-cut chances remained at a premium, though, with Oviedo forcing a comfortable stop before Grigg’s header was blocked.
Extra-time seemed imminent, but ending the closing stages on the back foot, Charlton delivered a knockout blow deep into stoppage time to clinch promotion.
Charlton Athletic: Phillips, Bauer, Taylor, Cullen, Saar (Pearce 45), Parker, Aribo, Dijksteel, Bielik, Purrington, Pratley (Williams 71).
Subs not used: Maxwell, Forster-Caskey, Reeves, Solly, Lapslie.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Ozturk, O’Nien, Oviedo, Leadbitter, Cattermole, Power (Morgan 9), Honeyman, Maguire (Grigg 56), Wyke (McGeady 71).
Subs not used: Stryjek, Matthews, Gooch, Dunne.