ACADEMY | U18s to take on Sheffield United in play-off semi-final on Friday

Greg Stubley reports

Charlton’s U18s will look to book their place in the Professional Development League 2 play-off final when they take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Friday evening (7pm).

The young Addicks are the reigning national champions for the last two seasons, having defeated the Blades on penalties in the final at The Valley last May.

Sheffield United’s Jordan Hallam opened the scoring in that game but Karlan Ahearne-Grant’s 89th minute equaliser allowed the match to go into penalties having played out a stalemate in extra time.

Goalkeeper Jordan Beeney performed heroics in the penalty shoot-out, making two saves that saw Charlton win 4-3 on penalties.

This term, Sergei Baltacha’s side were knocked off the top of the table at the last by Coventry City, who won four out of their last five matches to secure the Professional Development League 2 south title.

However, that should not affect Charlton too much given their form over the course of the season, which has seen the Addicks only lose five matches during the whole campaign, with 19 victories in 28 games.

The last time the two sides faced each other was earlier in the month, with Sheffield United coming out on top with a 3-1 victory at Sparrows Lane and that was enough to secure their Professional Development League 2 north title.

Ahead of Friday’s semi-final, Charlton’s Academy Manager Steve Avory said:  “We will be hoping to repeat the feats of last season by eventually going on to win the national title.

“They [Sheffield United] are a strong team and we know the type of game it will be. They are physically tough and it will be a good tactical battle.”

If the scores are level after 90 minutes, the match will go to extra-time. Should neither side break the deadlock following 120 minutes, a penalty shootout will decide which club will progress to the final.

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