All the pressure is on Sheffield United, say savvy Stevenage manager Gary Smith

 

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The Independent Football

Stevenage manager Gary Smith believes the heat is on opponents Sheffield United in tonight's League One play-off semi-final second leg at Bramall Lane, after the first leg finished 0-0. "The pressure is now on them," he said, with his team hoping to seal back-to-back promotions. "Although they probably feel they are in the box seat, we scored two at their place two weeks ago [in a 2-2 draw in the league]."

His opposite number, Danny Wilson, has said his side will approach tonight's tie with caution, despite the home advantage. "We'll be very careful, we don't want to get carried away or it'll go against us," he said. "We see too many times when people make assumptions after the first-leg result and form a conclusion."

The victors will face either Huddersfield or MK Dons. Huddersfield take a two-goal lead into tomorrow's second leg at home after winning 2-0 at Stadium:MK in the first leg on Saturday, and are closing in on a second successive appearance in the League One play-off final, after losing 3-0 against Peterborough United last year. The prolific striker Jordan Rhodes carried on his outstanding form this season by scoring his 39th of the campaign to put the Terriers ahead with a glancing header after 32 minutes, and their vital second came from defender Jack Hunt with 17 minutes remaining.

In the League Two play-offs, Cheltenham Town made it four home wins in a row after beating Torquay, losers in last season's final, 2-0 in the semi-final first leg at Whaddon Road yesterday. Jermaine McGlashan slotted in from a narrow angle after 27 minutes and Ben Burgess added a second early in the second half with a powerful header. Torquay have now failed to win in six games going into Thursday's second leg.

In the other semi-final, Crewe Alexandra extended their unbeaten run to 17 games after defeating the last team to beat them, Southend United, 1-0 at home in the first leg. Adam Dugdale scored the only goal of the game as Crewe take a tight lead to Roots Hall, the scene of their last defeat back in February, for Wednesday's second leg.

Ups and downs

Championship Reading and Southampton promoted.
Portsmouth, Coventry, Doncaster relegated.

League One Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday promoted.
Wycombe, Chesterfield, Exeter and Rochdale relegated.

League Two Swindon, Shrewsbury, Crawley promoted.
Hereford and Macclesfield relegated.

Conference Fleetwood Town promoted.
Hayes & Yeading, Darlington, Bath and Kettering relegated.

Play-off details

Championship final

Blackpool v West Ham, 19 May

League One

Tonight, Sheff U (0) v (0) Stevenage
Tomorrow, Hud'field (2) v (0) MK Dons
Final on 26 May

League Two

Weds, Southend (0) v (1) Crewe
Thurs, Torquay (0) v (2) Cheltenham
Final on 27 May

Conference final

Luton v York, 20 May

(All play-off finals will take place at Wembley with 3pm kick-off times)

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