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Charlton Athletic or Sunderland AFC?

26 May 2019

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Charlton Athletic and Sunderland AFC will face-off in the League One play-off final today, with the winners securing promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. The Imps will face the losing side in a league game for the first in almost 60 years.

The Addicks and The Black Cats compete this afternoon in a re-run of an iconic First Division play-off final in 1998, where Charlton ran out 7-6 winners on penalties after drawing 4-4.

Ironically, this was the same season that City won promotion on the final day of the Third Division season after defeating Brighton & Hove Albion at Sincil Bank, meaning that neither side Charlton or Sunderland were in England's third tier for City's season at the level.

However, the Imps did face Sunderland in the FA Cup of the 1998/99 season, but you have to go back to the 1980s to when City last faced The Addicks, which was in a League Cup tie.

Below, we take a look at our past against both sides, as we prepare to face one of the opponents in League One next season.

Charlton Athletic

The last time the Imps faced Charlton in a league fixture was in Division 2 in the 1960/61 season. City also faced sides such as Liverpool, Leeds United and Derby County, and suffered relegation to Division 3 after three seasons in the second tier.

In the home fixture, the Imps drew 2-2 with Charlton, with Roy Chapman bagging two of his 81 City goals that day, before losing the return fixture 3-0 at The Valley.

An Andy Graver hat-trick the season before helped City secure a 5-3 win at the Bank. However, the Imps remain without a win at the home of The Addicks. 

The Imps and Athletic competed in Division 2 for four seasons between 1957/58 and 1960/61, before City's relegation to Division 3.

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More recently, The Imps and Charlton were drawn against each other in the League Cup Second Round in a two-legged affair in the 1986/87 season.

Imps FPA chairman Trevor Swinburne kept net for the Imps in the First Leg, as they fell to a 3-1 defeat at The Valley, where Shane Nicholson made his debut for the Imps. Gary Lund was City's scorer that night.

City fell to a 1-0 Second Leg defeat at the Bank, with a then former and future Imp, Steve Thompson skippering the side, who won promotion to the First Division that season.

Sunderland AFC

The Imps have only face The Black Cats on six occasions in the league, the most recent of which came in the 1960/61 season.

The first league outing came in Division 2 in 1958 at Sincil Bank, with City securing a 3-1 victory. Roy Chapman bagged a brace and a Ron Habertson strike ensured maximum points for the Imps.

The following season saw our only victory at the home of our North-East opponents, with City running out 4-2 victors at Roker Park - the former home of Sunderland AFC.

Bert Linnecor scored twice, with Roy Chapman and Ron Smillie securing an away day maximum in Division Two.


Moving forward a decade, The Imps defeated Sunderland 2-1 at the Bank in the Second Round of the League Cup. Derek Trevis and Percy Freeman got the goals as City progressed into the Third Round against Crystal Palace.

City had to wait almost 30 years to face Sunderland again, as Peter Reid brough his table-topping Black Cats to Sincil Bank for the Third Round of the FA Cup in January 1999.

Reid's side secured a 1-0 victory, with substitute Gavin McCann firing home in front of 10,494 fans.

Sunderland won promotion to the Premier League at the end of the season, securing the First Division title, with City suffering relegation back to Division 3.

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