Football League: Norwich savour Wes Hoolahan’s ‘perfect finish’


Wes Hoolahan bade an emotional farewell to Carrow Road with Norwich’s first goal in a 2-1 win over Leeds. It was his 380th league appearance for Norwich and his manager, Daniel Farke, declared it “a perfect finish”. “If I had to a paint a picture of how Wes’s career for Norwich would finish that would have been it,” Farke said. “He scored a goal, got an assist and put in an excellent performance, and of course we won the game.”

The big clash at the bottom of the table saw Burton beat Bolton 2-0. It was a third successive success for Nigel Clough’s side, who head to Preston – who beat Sheffield United 1-0 and need another win to have a chance of sneaking into the play-offs – on the final day. Burton’s goal difference is so poor that they will need to win if they are to save themselves. Barnsley, who like Burton have 41 points, beat Brentford 2-0 and travel to Derby next Sunday.

Promotion and relegation: how they stand

Football League: Norwich savour Wes Hoolahan’s ‘perfect finish’

Premier League

Champions: Manchester City

Europe: Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are favourites for the top four with Chelsea in fifth. Arsenal could still reach the Champions League by winning the Europa League. Burnley look certain to finish seventh and return to Europe after 51 years away.

Relegation: West Brom
 are now five points from safety with two games to play. Stoke are just two points above the Baggies, while Southampton are now a point behind Swansea, who they play in their penultimate match. West Ham and Huddersfield are still looking over their shoulders.


Champions: Wolves

Automatic promotion: Cardiff need a home win over Reading to seal promotion, with Fulham hoping to pounce on any slip-up as they face Birmingham on the final day.

Play-offs: Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, and Derby leading the race to join them. Preston can still force their way into the top six.

Relegation: Sunderland will finish bottom with BurtonBolton and Barnsley separated by a point. Barnsley can secure survival with a win at Derby on the final day, while Burton go to Preston and Bolton host Nottingham Forest.

League One

Automatic promotion: Wigan and Blackburn (pictured) have sealed automatic promotion and will now battle for the title. A point at Doncaster on the final day will realistically be enough for the Latics.

Play-offs: Shrewsbury and Rotherham, with Charlton, Scunthorpe and Plymouth battling for the other two places. The latter two meet in midweek.

Relegation: Bury and MK Dons are down while Walsall’s late winner has left Northampton all but mathematically relegated. Oldham and Rochdale are fighting to avoid the final spot; they face Northampton and Charlton respectively on the last day.

League Two

Champions: Accrington Stanley 

Automatic promotion: Luton Town, Wycombe (pictured)

Play-offs: Exeter City, Notts County and two from Coventry, Lincoln and Mansfield, who need to beat Crawley on the last day to have any chance of sneaking in.

Relegation: Barnet‘s win at Morecambe took the race for survival to the final day. If the Bees beat already-relegated Chesterfield, they can leapfrog Morecambe if the Shrimps lose at Coventry.

National League: Macclesfield Town have secured the only automatic promotion spot, with one from Tranmere, Sutton, Boreham Wood, Aldershot, Ebbsfleet and AFC Fylde to come up via the play-offs.

Premiership: Celtic can seal the title by beating Rangers on Sunday. Relegation looks a straight fight between Partick Thistle and Ross County.

Championship: St Mirren are champions, with Livingston, Dundee United and Dunfermline set for promotion/relegation play-offs. Brechin are relegated.

League One: Ayr United are champions with Raith, Alloa and Arbroath joining Dumbarton in the play-offs. Albion are relegated.

League Two: Montrose are champions with Peterhead, Stirling and Stenhousemuir joining Queen’s Park in the play-offs. Cowdenbeath face a relegation play-off with Cove Rangers or Spartans.

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Derby could have made sure of a place in the play-offs with victory at Aston Villa, whose own top-six place was already secure, but despite leading for 70 minutes they could only draw 1-1, thanks to Lewis Grabban’s 84th-minute equaliser. They could still be caught by Preston or Millwall – though the latter would need a significant goal-difference turnaround – but a draw at home to Barnsley next weekend will probably be enough.

League One

With Blackburn losing 1-0 at Charlton, Wigan could have secured the title with a win at home to relegation-threatened Wimbledon. But Joe Pigott put the visitors ahead in the first half and, though they had 20 shots to their opponents’ four, Wigan’s only goal came when Michael Jacobs’ effort was deflected in with 20 minutes to play. Jason Pearce, formerly of Wigan, did his best to help his former club by scoring for Charlton. It was the Addicks’ only shot of the game, either on or off target.

MK Dons needed to beat Scunthorpe to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation but a 2-0 home defeat means they drop into the fourth tier for the first time in a decade. The three points lifted Scunthorpe into the top six, and a draw at home to mid-table Bradford next Saturday would – unless Plymouth beat Gillingham by nine goals – make their play-off place safe.

Northampton needed to get something out of their visit to Walsall to make survival any more than a notional possibility. They got within a minute of a draw before George Dobson scored in stoppage time. There is only one side currently outside the bottom four whom they could still catch, in the shape of Oldham who drew 0-0 at home to Doncaster. Oldham’s goal difference is currently better by an offputting 17 but the two play each other on the final day, meaning the Cobblers have to win by nine (and for Rochdale, for whom Callum Camps conceded two penalties in a 2-1 defeat at Oxford, to lose at home to Charlton. “I wouldn’t want to stand here and lambast Callum but he knows and I think everybody knows that they are challenges that he doesn’t need to and shouldn’t make, but unfortunately he did,” sniffed Keith Hill, the Rochdale manager).

League Two

The automatic promotion spots are now all taken, after Wycombe came from behind at Chesterfield to win 2-1 and secure the third. They still needed Exeter to lose and Notts County to drop points, and in the end both faltered. County’s defeat was particularly dramatic: Grimsby, needing a win to secure their place in the division, took a first-half lead through Nathan Clarke and clung on to it thereafter, only for Dan Jones to grab an equaliser in the 90th minute. In the third of five minutes’ stoppage time the substitute Jamille Matt turned in a corner and Grimsby had the three points they needed.

Lincoln needed a point to be sure of a play-off place but they lost 1-0 at a jubilant Wham Stadium, where Accrington Stanley’s latest success secured them the title. They would still have wrapped up a top-seven spot if Mansfield had slipped up at Yeovil but the Stags twice came from behind to keep their own promotion hopes alive with a 3-2 win. With his team 1-0 down at half-time David Flitcroft brought on Lee Angol – formerly of Lincoln – and the 23-year-old scored within three minutes to bring his side level and went on to take two crucial free-kicks – the first was handled by a defender, Kane Hemmings scoring from the resulting penalty, and the second went straight in. Though they will not have been pleased to see Mansfield win, Lincoln will not be disappointed by Yeovil’s continuing poor form – running now to five defeats in seven winless matches – given that they play them next week and need only a point. Mansfield are at home to Crawley.

Coventry’s last 10 games have featured 44 goals and they produced another arresting scoreline to leapfrog the Imps on goal difference and into sixth place. Marc McNulty scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win at Cheltenham, even if Maxime Biamou’s overhead was the goal of the day.

Barnet had to win at Morecambe to take their fight against relegation into the final day and, thanks to Alex Nicholls’ unanswered second-half strike, that is precisely what they did. The two teams will now do more distant battle next week with the unwanted prize of a place in the National League at stake: Barnet, two points behind, must beat Chesterfield and, with their goal difference inferior by seven, are likely to need Morecambe to lose at goal-crazy Coventry if they are to avoid the drop. Even if it ultimately ends in failure, Martin Allen has coerced a remarkable surge from his Barnet side: when the first game of his fifth spell at the club ended with defeat at Luton last month they had won four out of 33 games, 21 of them lost. Since then they have won four out of six and can be optimistic: their opponents next weekend, Chesterfield, have lost six of their last seven and drawn the other, and Morecambe have not won in nine (though they have drawn six times in that run).

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