Sunderland lead Charlton 2-1 in the 1998 Championship Playoff Final
Mendonca the man
Alan Curbishley reacted to going behind to Sunderland by sending on Steve Jones for Neil Heaney and he helped to turn the game back in Charlton’s favour. He was dispossessed on the halfway line but the loose ball was cleared upfield by Richard Rufus.
Clive Mendonca was too fast for the Sunderland defence and controlled the ball well as he neared the penalty box. His low shot was placed past Perez and the scores were level once more.
Quinn puts Sunderland in front
Charlton’s joy was short lived though. Only minutes later Quinn struck again to put Sunderland back in front.
A deep cross from the right was swung in by Lee Clark. Quinn expertly peeled off his marker and chested the ball down, before drilling an unstoppable shot past Ilic from a difficult angle.
A great game that had swung back and forth surely now looked to be over.
Daniel Dichio, on for Kevin Phillips, was guilty of missing a gilt edged chance to seal the game for Sunderland. He awkwardly attempted to volley a Summerbee cross when surely a stooping header would’ve been the better option.
Addicks won’t lie down
Charlton refused to throw in the towel and Mendonca twice came close to completing his hat-trick, only denied by some desperate defending.
Mark Bowen almost scored with a free kicked but Perez turned it behind for a corner. It was from this that Charlton equalised again to make the game 3-3. Perez came to meet the cross but woefully misjudged the flight of the ball. Richard Rufus was too strong for the defenders around him and planted his header into the back of the net.
Amazingly, it was his first goal for the club in his 165th game. What a time to open your account!
90 minutes can’t split teams
That was the last of the action and after ninety minutes the sides were still tied with three goals each. Neither team had deserved to lose after a thrilling game, but the game had to be settled and so extra time began.
Summerbee buzzing for Mackems
Both teams were now feeling the pace but it was Sunderland playing the better football. Nine minutes into extra time Nicky Summerbee put them in front again.
A neat passing move resulted in a ball played into the box towards Quinn. The big striker played the ball into the path of Summerbee whose fierce strike from the edge of the box went beyond Ilic’s outstretched hand.
Mendonca becomes a legend
Before the half time break, Clive Mendonca ensured his name will go down in Charlton folklore by completing his hat-trick. In this intense battle he scored the best goal of the game and one good enough to grace any match.
The ball was whipped in from the right slightly behind Mendonca, on the edge of the six yard box. His first touch killed the ball dead in the air. He pivoted on the spot and struck the ball on the volley past the goalkeeper before he could see it.
A sublime finish from a striker on the top of his game. The circumstance and importance of the goal only made it all the more impressive.
Charlton 4-4 Sunderland, half time of extra time in the Division One playoff final, at Wembley.
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