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Monday, 16 April 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Charlton Finish The Job But Doncaster Drop


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We've reached the time of the season when the big issues are sorted and pride of place goes to Charlton Athletic who nailed promotion the Championship by winning at Carlisle. It's been a remarkable effort for a squad that was almost completely reconstructed over the summer.

Manager Chris Powell is one of the most popular men in the game and he's already something of legend in that part of South London. If anything his stock is now even higher with Addicks fans.

Bradley Wright-Phillips was once again on the scoresheet; he and Johnnie Jackson are surely two playaers who can have a big influence in the Championship. Some punters already fancy a dart on Charlton to do a Norwich and go straight to the Premier League

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Reading aren't in the Premier League yet but it will take something miraculous to stop them after they won at Southampton. Once again the Royals proved they they are the most clinical side around and that's 14 wins from 16 games.

The mean Reading defence did concede a goal but this team always expect to make and take chances at the other end. Goal poacher Adam Le Fondre bagged a pair to down the Saints and it will be interesting to see if he can do similar things in the top flight.

Saints now have to fend off the West Ham challenge. Hammers fans wouldn't have known whether to laugh or cry as their side finally gave someone a good hiding at home- Brighton were on the receiving end, leaking six goals. But its probably come to late to put the Hammers in the second automatic spot.

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Down at the other end Doncaster Rovers finally slipped into League One. All season the South Yorkshire squad were mired in trouble, though every so often they gave their fans hope. The demotion will probably cause a serious reappraisal of the transfer policy that saw a succession of Premier League names coming in on short contracts to bolster the squad.

When Billy Sharp went to Southampton in January that really signalled the end of the battle, although Saturday's manner of execution will leave a bitter taste. Portsmouth fought back admirably to keep their hopes alive but two goals were penalties and Dave Kitson's third would have made Maradona proud.

Pompey are still just alive but with slim hopes. Michael Appleton's squad are still showing plenty of vigour but the ten point deduction will do for them eventually. The main fight now rests between Bristol City, who got a great point at Birmingham, and Coventry who just wish the season had begun in January.

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Fleetwood Town are now a Football League side for the first time after looking the class act in the Blue Square all season. Attention now turns to the play-offs where Wrexham and Mansfield Town will definitely be involved. The other two spots are still up for grabs though with ex-League clubs York City, Kidderminster Harriers, Luton Town and Southport locked in a tense fight.

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Increasingly its looks like two from three to take the drop from League Two. Yet again Macclesfield Town couldn't get a win on Saturday, despite taking the lead at home to Crewe.

Brian Horton's side were unable to grab the lifeline given them by Barnet and Hereford's draw on Friday night- a perfect result for Moss Rose fans. The point off Crewe did keep Macclesfield above Hereford on goal difference but there is still a looming three point gap to Barnet. The Silkmen need a win at fellow strugglers Bradford City next Saturday otherwise their league life could be over.

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Hugh Larkin

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