14.04.2024

Wigan and Luton promoted as Macclesfield return to Football League

Wolves were confirmed as champions after a 4-0 romp at relegation-threatened Bolton. Goals from Barry Douglas, Benik Afobe, Diogo Jota and a Conor Coady penalty also left Wolves just two points shy of reaching a century of points.

Cardiff reacted to Fulham overtaking them with a 3-0 win at Millwall on Friday night by despatching Nottingham Forest 2-1 at home to go back into second place. Aron Gunnarsson scored his first goal in a year to save the day for the Bluebirds after Liam Bridcutt had cancelled out Sean Morrison’s opener.

And after Sunderland’s relegation was confirmed by their defeat to Burton, it was a mixed day for those trying to avoid joining them, with Bolton’s defeat leaving them two points above third-bottom Barnsley, who lost 2-1 at Leeds.

Tom Pearce’s first senior goal and Ezgjan Alioski’s tap-in did the damage for Paul Heckingbottom’s Leeds against his former club after Paudie O’Connor had equalised for Barnsley with an own-goal.

Birmingham climbed within touching distance of safety with a hugely important 2-1 defeat of play-off chasing Sheffield United. Marc Duffy had put Blades in the lead but Marc Roberts and Jacques Maghoma’s goals grabbed the three points. Birmingham are now five points clear of Barnsley.

Promotion, relegation and Europe: how they stand

Premier League

Manchester City have won their fifth English league title. Manchester United  (74), Liverpool (71) and Tottenham (68) look set to join United in the top four with Chelsea five points behind Spurs in fifth. Arsenal are just two points above Burnley in sixth, but could still reach the Champions League if they win the Europa League. Burnley look bound for Europe, unless Southampton win the FA Cup.

West Brom (25pts) are still eight points from safety, after their draw with Liverpool, and could be relegated on Sunday. Stoke (28pts) and Southampton (29) are losing touch with Swansea (33), Crystal Palace (35), West Ham (35), Huddersfield (35) and Brighton (36) in the fight to avoid relegation.

Championship

Wolves (pictured) have won the title and with it promotion to  Premier LeagueFulham (85pts) are second but Cardiff (83) have two games in hand in the race for automatic promotion. Aston Villa (82) have an outside chance of finishing second but are definitely in the play-offs. There is a fierce battle to join them there, with Middlesbrough (72) leading the wayMillwall (69)Derby, Preston, Sheffield United, Bristol City and Brentford are separated by three points.

Sunderland (34pts) have been relegated after their defeat to Burton (38), who face a relegation shootout with Bolton (40) on Saturday. Barnsley (38pts) have a game in hand but Birmingham (43) and Reading (43) are in the driving seats.

League One

Wigan have secured promotion and Blackburn (90pts) need one win for an immediate return to the second tier. Shrewsbury (83pts) may have to settle for the play-offs alongside Rotherham and two from Charlton, Scunthorpe, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Bradford.

Bury have been relegated to League Two. who boosted their own survival hopes. MK Dons, Northampton and Rochdale make up the bottom four, but Oldham, Walsall, Wimbledon, Oxford and Gillingham are all still in danger.

League Two

Accrington Stanley and Luton have sealed promotion. Wycombe (78pts) and Exeter City (77) and Notts County (76) are battling for third place. LincolnCoventry and Mansfield are fighting for the remaining two play-off spots.

The league’s bottom two are running out of time to escape – Chesterfield are nine points adrift with three games to play, Barnet are four from safety with two to play. Grimsby, Forest Green and Morecambe can still be pulled into the relegation scrap.

Macclesfield Town have secured the only automatic promotion spot from the National League, with one other team set to come up via the play-offs.

The undoubted game of the day in the Championship came at Bristol City, who drew 5-5 with Hull. City had led 4-2 after Bobby Reid’s goal, only for strikes from Harry Wilson, Abel Hernandez and Fraizer Campbell put Hull into an unlikely lead. It took Joe Bryan’s equaliser in the 94th minute to take a point for Lee Johnson’s team, though failing to win left them three points shy of a play-off place.

Aston Villa kept alive their slim hopes of automatic promotion with a 4-0 win at manager-less Ipswich with goals from Conor Hourihane, two from Lewis Grabban and Henri Lansbury defeating the ten-man Tractor Boys, who had Grant Ward dismissed for a bad tackle on Neil Taylor.

Middlesbrough meanwhile consolidated their play-off position with a 2-1 win at Derby, for whom defeat left them a point and a place outside the top six. Muhamed Besic, on loan from Everton, scored his first goal in English football and Britt Assombalonga scored a second. David Nugent’s injury-time penalty came far too late for Derby.

League One

Wigan’s promotion to the Championship was sealed by a 4-0 win at Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury being held by already relegated Bury.

Incoming Fleetwood manager Joey Barton was watching from the Highbury stands and saw Paul Cook’s men cruise to victory. Goals from Max Power, Gavin Massey, Dan Burn and Chey Dunkley got the celebrations underway.

An equaliser from Bury’s Jay O’Shea meant Shrewsbury, now seven points behind second-placed Blackburn, cannot catch Wigan, now ten points clear of them. Abo Eisa had opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw.

At the bottom, a relegation six-pointer between AFC Wimbledon and Oldham ended up with the points shared after a 2-2 draw.

Charlie Wyke’s injury-time equaliser for Bradford kept Rochdale fourth from bottom and in the relegation zone.

Northampton’s 2-0 defeat of Plymouth kept them within two points of safety, and kept the Pilgrims outside the play-off positions.

Charlton stayed in fifth place with a 1-0 win at Portsmouth, who remained in eighth and are four points shy of sixth-placed Scunthorpe, who beat Walsall 1-0 to leave the Midlanders just a single point above the bottom four.

Second-bottom MK Dons’ 4-0 defeat to Southend left them six points behind 20th placed Oldham

League Two

Luton’s promotion to League One was confirmed after their 1-1 draw at Carlisle. Exeter’s 2-2 draw with Crawley meant they could no longer catch Nathan Jones’ team.

Accrington are within a point of claiming the League Two title after a thumping 4-0 win at Wycombe.

Joining League Two next season will be Macclesfield Town, who returned to the Football League after six years’ absence with a 2-0 win at Eastleigh securing the National League title.

A fourth-minute goal from striker Tyrone Marsh after a cross from David Fitzpatrick was followed by a close-range finish from Mitch Hancox on the hour. Victory in Saturday’s early kick-off put automatic promotion beyond chasers Tranmere Rovers, who must now negotiate the play-offs.

At the bottom of League Two, Chesterfield are all but relegated, needing to make up a goal difference of 19 goals in their last three matches on third-bottom Morecambe to survive. Barnet meanwhile beat Newport 2-0 to be four points off Morecambe, who lost 1-0 to Crewe. Five-times manager Martin Allen has two games to save the Bees.

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