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Match Previews

PREVIEW | U18S PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL

13 May 2022

Our U18s travel to Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon for their Professional Development League play-off semi-final.

It is the first time a Reds academy side has reached this stage since the introduction of the Premier League Elite Player Performance Plan in 2011.

Our youngsters face the Addicks at the Valley in a 2pm kick-off, knowing that victory in south London will set up a showpiece finale against either Sheffield United or Colchester United next weekend.

Charlton will pose fierce opposition, however, having won their respective division with a handful of games to spare in what was more of a procession.

Within their ranks, they boast some of the PDL’s top goal scorers in Daniel Kanu (15), Miles Leaburn (11) and Mack Reilly (10) as they plundered an astonishing 77 goals in 24 matches.

After suffering a 2-0 defeat at Peterborough United on the opening day of the campaign, the Addicks then embarked on an astonishing 18-game unbeaten run – dropping just four points in eight months.

However, they won just one of their last five fixtures – a 4-3 triumph at Sheffield Wednesday earlier this month.

Compare that to Barnsley, who hit form at the right time as the season reached boiling point, picking up 12 points from their last five games to secure a place in the play-offs.

Last weekend’s defeat at home to Millwall on Oakwell perhaps wasn’t the ideal preparation heading to the Valley, although you could perhaps forgive our youngsters for having one eye on the upcoming semi-final.

Tom Harban’s side will take encouragement from their last clash against Charlton as they came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory at the start of April, with Mylan Benjamin and Theo Chapman scoring late second half goals after Jason Adigun had put the hosts ahead.

You can keep up to date with proceedings via our official Academy Twitter account, starting with team news at 1pm.


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