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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Shrewd Shrewsbury should shut up shop

Charlton's best chance may have gone

Alex Rodman of Shrewsbury in action against Charlton
1 of 1

Sky Bet League One playoff semi-final second leg
Sky Sports Football, 5.15pm Sunday

Charlton have been galvanised since assistant manager Lee Bowyer stepped up following Karl Robinson's departure to Oxford, but even though he has united the faithful and dragged the Addicks into the Sky Bet League One playoffs, it may just be that their race has been run.

Thursday's 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury at The Valley in the first leg provided evidence that fatigue has perhaps set in, even though their opponents showed little forward endeavour apart from John Nolan's excellent winning goal.

And while Bowyer was able to rally the troops to crucial wins over their playoff opponents, Portsmouth and promoted Blackburn in the closing weeks of the regular season, a lack of firepower could cost them a trip to Wembley.

Apart from a bright opening 15 minutes in which Nicky Ajose, who has found a new lease of life after struggling in his two years since moving from Swindon, looked lively, they were easily contained.

And while they were excellent in a 4-0 success at relegated Northampton in March soon after Robinson's departure, they have not really hit the heights since.

Tariqe Fosu, who scored twice in that win at Sixfields, has been struggling with a hamstring injury and consequently the Addicks have lost some dynamism - a 2-0 win at Shrewsbury has been the only occasion in their last eight matches that they have scored more than once.

Only champions Wigan conceded fewer goals on their own patch than the Shrews' tally of 17 and the second-tightest defence in the division may be able to hold on if they put themselves further in front.

Half of their 14 home wins were by a 1-0 scoreline and it is no surprise to see under 2.5 goals just 8-15 for this second leg.

Thursday's first leg was the embodiment of the theory that playoff games tend to be tight affairs with few chances and it would not be a shock if we are treated to a similar performance. 

Under 1.5 goals
2pts 7-4 Hills

Sky Bet League One standings

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Team news
Abu Ogogo is out with a knee injury while Junior Brown is also missing.

Tariqe Fosu is still struggling with a hamstring injury but may still feature. Lewis Page, Billy Clarke and Chris Solly are out.

Key stat
Shrewsbury have scored more than once in just two of their last 11 matches.

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Shrewsbury have scored more than once in just two of their last 11 matches
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