Hull City ended a hugely successful season in defeat, as the Tigers were bested by a Charlton Athletic side chasing the play-offs.
It’s fair to say Grant McCann’s side have deserved their champions status, despite today’s result, nabbing 89 points from 46 games, having the best goal difference and winning the highest tally of games in the division.
After a year of torment last season, Hull have returned to the Championship after immediately bouncing back.
Charlton on the other hand were unlucky to be denied access to the play-offs, as Portsmouth were defeated and Oxford United stole seventh position, keeping the Addicks out on goal difference.
An own goal from Hull academy graduate Jacob Greaves ensured the victory for Charlton.
Nigel Adkins made two changes to his Charlton side, with Albie Morgan and Connor Washington replacing the injured Jake Forster-Caskey and Ben Purrington.
Charlton Athletic: Amos; Matthews, Inniss, Famewo, Maatsen; Gilbey, Watson, Morgan, Millar; Stockley, Washington.
The champions also made two changes of their own, with Regan Slater and Gavin Whyte returning to action. Academy graduate Harry Wood also appeared on the bench.
Hull City: Ingram; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder; Slater, Docherty, Whyte; Wilks, Magennis, Lewis-Potter.
Story of the match
Ahead of kick-off, Hull midfielder Greg Docherty reflected on a fantastic first season donning the amber and black for the Tigers, saying:
“It’s been an incredible first season for me here. I’ve played a lot of games and a lot of minutes, and the staff have put their faith in me which is exactly what I was wanting when I was looking for a new challenge last summer. Everything has been great off the pitch, too, and I feel really settled here.
“I knew they wanted to push for the title and that hasn’t changed at any point in the season. When I get that medal around my neck – I don’t know how it will feel. I’ve waited for a moment like this for years. You play football because you want to win. We’re just going to enjoy the game on Sunday and enjoy the moment.”
Docherty was involved early on as well, as his link up play with Whyte ended up with the ball being threaded through to Josh Magennis, but Ben Amos prevented an early opener with his feet.
Charlton responded however through Liam Millar, on his final appearance of his loan spell, as the Liverpool loanee cut inside of his man but flashed his effort adrift.
Ian Maatsen, who had reverted back to his role in left-back after a spell on the wing, sent a teasing long ball to Washington, who controlled excellently before hammering narrowly wide.
Alex Gilbey was next to ponder with the idea of an opener, with the last chance of the first half as Gilbey’s cross shot was just missed by the outstretched leg of Jayden Stockley.
Heading into the second half, the Addicks came close to the first goal, as Millar once again threatened the Hull defence with a flashed cross, which Stockley rattled against the bar with a diving header - a let off for McCann’s Tigers.
But as Millar and Stockley had chances narrowly miss the target, the opener finally came courtesy of no Charlton player at all, but in fact an own goal from Greaves. The Hull academy graduate was unlucky, as Millar’s cross was palmed poorly away by Matt Ingram, before ricocheting off of the 20-year old defender.
Unfortunately for the Addicks as the game came to a close, it wasn’t meant to be as an excellent 4-0 victory for Oxford resulted in the Yellows gripping the final play-off position.
Whilst today didn’t quite go to plan for the Tigers, nothing can take away from what has been a memorable season for Hull City.
McCann’s side will now look forward to the Championship, hoping for a better season than last. With a few new signings and the same motive as this season, Hull should survive comfortably and get back in the right direction.
Whilst Charlton weren’t able to get the job done today in reaching the play-offs, they can take refuge from doing everything they could.
Missing out on just goal difference, a fantastic manager in the form of Adkins, and a strong squad that was beginning to look more and more dangerous as the weeks went by, Charlton are a team who will be looking for the play-offs and beyond in the new season.
The loanee left-back brought his loan spell with Charlton to a satisfactory end, with a fantastically solid performance and acting as an attacking full-back throughout the ninety.