Charlton’s dreams of Wembley ended in heartbreak with a second-leg defeat to Shrewsbury Town in at the Montgomery Waters Meadow on Sunday evening.
The Addicks had to turn over a one-goal deficit from the first leg at The Valley three days earlier, but a strong first half showing was followed by a bitterly disappointing second period in which Carlton Morris scored just before the hour to all but put a nail in the Londoners’ play-off campaign.
Tariqe Fosu returned to the starting lineup for the crunch game.
Lee Bowyer also brought Anfernee Dijksteel into the side at right back with Ezri Konsa moving in to central midfield to match the roles they played in the Addicks 2-0 win in Shrewsbury last month. The third change saw Joe Aribo move into the starting lineup with Ahmed Kashi, Ben Reeves and Stephy Mavididi moving to the bench.
It was a nervy opening with the home side looking the more confident in the early exchanges. Indeed, the first half-chance came Shrewsbury’s way in the 11th minute when Ben Amos got down well at his near post to keep out Alex Rodman’s angles effort.
The hosts were extremely physical, giving away plenty of fouls to stop the momentum of the game as they defended their aggregate lead and it was not until the 24-minute mark that the Addicks had their first sight on goal when Jake Forster-Caskey’s free-kick fell into the path of Josh Magennis with his back to goal, but his turn and shot was off target.
Five minutes later, a lofted pass unlocked the offside trap to send Ajose into the box, but he saw his shot blocked by James Bolton’s tackle just as he pulled the trigger.
As the half grew on, it was Charlton who were getting on top, seeing all of the ball as they continued to probe.
Seven minutes before the break, the visitors should have had a penalty when Shrews captain Sadler handballed Aribo’s cross, but the referee waved play on, much to the travelling faithful’s disbelief.
A minute before half-time, Shrewsbury came close against the run of play when Rodman broke clear into the box, only to be denied by Amos again.
The Addicks were still well in it and the 45 minutes that lay in front of them in the second-half were huge. Indeed, the next goal was massive but, unfortunately, it came the way of the hosts.
A spell of pressure culminated in Morris driving a low shot past Amos from a right-sided pull-back just before the hour mark.
It was a goal that really knocked the stuffing out of Charlton and they face an uphill climb with half an hour left.
The goal signalled a change with Fosu being replaced by the fresh legs of Sullay Kaikai and Bowyer’s men started throwing everything forwards.
It was into the last 10 minutes by the time Dean Henderson was really tested in the Shrewsbury goal when he got down to tip Forster-Caskey’s well-hot drive from 20 yards away from the bottom corner.
Naby Sarr was the next to be thrown on in place of Dijksteel to add some height up top as the clock ticked into the final five minutes and he tested Henderson at his near post with his first touch from a corner, but Charlton just did not have enough to pull through.
Shrewsbury should have scored a second in injury-time when a break away saw two players baring down on Amos, but the stopper pulled off a fantastic save to keep out Stefan Payne.
It would be of no consolation, however, as the final whistle brought a crushing end to the season and condemned the Addicks to another season in League One.
Charlton: Amos, Dijksteel (Sarr 86), Bauer, Pearce, Dasilva, Aribo, Konsa, Forster-Caskey, Fosu (Kaikai 62), Magennis, Ajose (Mavididi 59).
Subs (not used): Phillips, Kashi, Reeves, Zyro.
Booked: Bauer 50 (foul on Nolan)
Shrewsbury: Henderson, Godfrey, Sadler, Beckles, Whalley (Riley 89), Morris, Bolton, Morris (Payne 69), Nolan (John-Lewis 90+3), Nsiala, Rodman.
Subs (not used): MacGillivray, Lowe, Jones, Eisa.
Booked: Morris 75 (foul on Konsa), Nolan 84 (foul on Konsa)
Goal: Morris 58
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Att: 9,026 (1,568)