Today was the final day of the Sky Bet Football League season. Late goals and drama sealed titles, promotion, play-off and relegation places in all three divisions. RTFM takes a look at the clubs lifting trophies, preparing for knock-out football, and those licking their wounds.
Sky Bet Championship
Reece Brown’s 88th minute equaliser for Birmingham City away at Southampton was the goal that denied the home side their first league title in 54 years. Southampton were top on goal difference over Hull City, with Birmingham third two points behind.
Hull City beat Charlton 2-1 at home to pip Saints on the final day, but both are celebrating automatic promotion tonight. Southampton are the only side relegated from the Premier League last season to make an instant return to top-flight football, as QPR and Norwich had disappointing seasons, both finishing mid-table.
At the bottom end, the three sides already knew their fate ahead of today, though Notts County and Preston North End will be disappointed to be relegated after a sole season in the Championship.
Sky Bet League 1
Everything but the final play-off position was already decided in League 1, with Bristol City and Watford bouncing back to the Championship at the first time of asking. At the other end, Chesterfield failed to survive after just the one season in the division.
All eyes were on the action at Goldsands and at Oakwell where the sides in 6th and 7th faced tricky away matches. Sheffield United started the day in 6th with a point advantage over Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United, and faced a Barnsley side relegated from the Championship last season. Meanwhile, Rotherham were at Bournemouth who were secure in their third spot.
In a ten minute period late in the second half, Sheffield United – with Bournemouth 1-0 up over Rotherham – collapsed spectacularly. Three goals from Scott Wiseman, Stephen Dawson, and Craig Davies stunned the Blades, and bad went to worse when David Noble scored an 87th-minute equaliser for Rotherham at Bournemouth.
With the sides now level on 72 points, Rotherham – promoted from League 2 last season – overtook United with a superior goal difference. They’ll be back at Bournemouth in the play-offs, with Colchester facing Leyton Orient in the other tie.
Sky Bet League 2
The League 2 title was decided by goal difference after both Crewe Alexandra and Crawley Town won this afternoon. With promotion already secure at the first attempt for both sides, Crawley were looking for Alex to drop points at Coventry City, with a seven-goal swing looking unlikely. Crewe were two-up inside 17 minutes and never looked like losing, despite a consolation for the hosts on the hour.
Crawley did all they could, dispatching confirmed play-off side Hartlepool 3-0 at home, with the goals coming in a six-minute period inside the last quarter of an hour. They ‘ll be joined by Oxford United in League One, despite their defeat at Aldershot Town.
Southend United were the big winners on the afternoon, winning 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon to overtake Torquay United who lost 2-0 at Morecambe. Southend will now face Wimbledon in the play-offs, with Hartlepool United and Rochdale playing each other in the other semi-final.
York City’s win at Northampton Town was inconsequential for their survival hopes, despite Cheltenham Town losing at home to Accrington Stanley. Barrow, promoted through the Conference Premier Playoffs last season, could only last one season in the League, but did give their fans something to cheer about as they came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Port Vale.