With the Championship's automatic promotion places claimed by Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, and Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City assured of play-off places, three teams – Leicester City, Swansea City and Blackpool – were left to battle for the remaining two play-off places. Fifth place was claimed by the Foxes when Andy King's 63rd-minute free-kick proved enough to beat Preston North End 1-0.
But sixth place will be decided by the final matches next Sunday, with Ian Holloway's Seasiders best placed. The Swans dominated Sheffield United at Bramall Lane for the first hour but familiar failings in front of goal and a solid performance by Paddy Kenny, back in the Blades goal after a nine-month drugs ban, saw United win 2-0, to give Pool a chance.
On paper, they had the day's easiest task, at relegated Peterborough United, and were ahead in the 11th minute thanks to the persistence of DJ Campbell, the striker showing no ill effects from his arrest on Thursday following a stabbing incident at a west London nightclub in January. Campbell headed in at the second attempt after stand-in Posh keeper James McKeown had blocked his overhead kick. "DJ's strike is the goal of the season in terms of what it means," Holloway said. "It was fantastic for the boy to respond in that way after what he had to go through this week with the police taking him off the training ground and down to London. He was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. That does not make you a criminal and isn't going to affect us. We are in a better position than we have been all season and we know it is now in our hands." Next Sunday Pool host Bristol City, the Swans entertain Doncaster Rovers.
It was a good day for Watford who dispelled relegation fears when Danny Graham scored twice in a 3-0 defeat of Reading at Vicarage Road. Rob Earnshaw scored his 15th goal of the season as Forest, keen to take good form into the play-offs, beat relegated Plymouth Argyle 3-0 at the City Ground. Steve Coppell becomes Bristol City manager at the end of the season but wasn't at Ashton Gate to see Nicky Maynard take his season's goal haul to 20 with both strikes as the Robins beat Derby County 2-0.
Newcastle paraded the Championship trophy at St James' Park but Ipswich Town spoiled the party, Jon Walters equalising in the 90th minute for a 2-2 draw, the 20th of the season for Roy Keane's side. Middlesbrough and Coventry City drew 1-1, Queens Park Rangers won 1-0 at Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers and Scunthorpe United put on a seven-goal spectacle, the Iron striker Gary Hooper scoring twice to make his a 20-goal season, but he still ended on the losing side as Rovers won 4-3.
Norwich City sealed the title with a 2-0 home win over Gillingham, but who'll take that second automatic promotion place is hotly contested. Leeds United were 4-1 winners over MK Dons, Jermaine Beckford scoring twice as the Dons had three men sent off, while Millwall beat Leyton Orient 2-1. Southend United were relegated despite a 2-2 draw at Oldham Athletic.
Bournemouth claimed the third automatic promotion berth, behind Notts County and Rochdale, when Brett Pitman and substitute Alan Connell scored in a 2-0 victory at Burton.
Ups and downs
The Cherries' 2-0 win at Burton claimed League Two's third automatic promotion place, just a year after avoiding demotion.
A 2-2 draw at Oldham could not prevent the Shrimpers from dropping into League Two. Ebbsfleet and Forest Green exit the Conference.Reuse content