Charlton Athletic send play-off warning to Sunderland and Portsmouth with fine Doncaster win
Charlton Athletic have sent a play-off warning to Sunderland and Portsmouth - having beaten Doncaster Rovers in the first leg of their semi-final.
The Addicks were the bookies favourites to seal promotion after ending the regular season in a rich vein of form, and put in a performance of the highest quality at the Keepmoat Stadium.
First-half strikes from Lyle Taylor and Joe Aribo put Lee Bowyer's side in command ahead of the return leg next week, despite Matty Blair's late consolation goal - making the prospect of a play-off rematch with Sunderland a distinct possibility.
And while there is still plenty of work to be done on the Black Cats' part to set-up a rematch of the 1998 play-off final, the Addicks will be confident of securing their spot after a dominant display in South Yorkshire.
Having started on top - with Josh Parker seeing an effort ruled out for offside after just seven minutes - Charlton did have to soak up some pressure as the first half wore on.
Dillon Phillips did well to deny a low drive from James Coppinger before a Danny Andrew free-kick clipped the crossbar.
But having dealt with Rovers' opportunities, the visitors began to assert their authority on the game once more and deservedly took the lead on 32 minutes - one-time Sunderland target Lyle Taylor prodding home after the hosts failed to clear to their lines.
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Taylor then turned provider moments later, threading in Aribo whose fine finish from a tight angle doubled the advantage.
The quickfire double left Doncaster shell-shocked, but they regained their composure and sought a way back into the tie in the second half.
And they came close, Josh Cullen having to clear off the line as John Marquis' shot looked set to squirm in.
Rovers continued to press late on and found the goal that offers a glimmer of hope in the dying minutes, when Blair nodded home a looping cross from Mailik Wilks.
But it's Charlton who remain firmly in the driving seat ahead of the return leg at the Valley.