On a sunny afternoon when the drama stretched the length and breadth of the country, a nervy Wycombe Wanderers, beaten on the day, and Exeter City, going up for a second consecutive season, celebrated automatic promotion from League Two, while Scunthorpe United in League One and Shrewsbury Town in League Two confirmed play-off places. But there was misery for Crewe Alexandra and Northampton Town, both relegated from League One.
Most issues had been settled in the third tier with only one play-off place remaining on offer and two relegation berths free. The race for sixth saw the incumbents, Scunthorpe United, host the only team who could catch them, Tranmere Rovers, in a winner-takes-all match. Rovers led until the 87th minute when a foul by Gareth Edds saw him sent off for a second yellow card. Two minutes later Iron's captain Cliff Byrne headed his side level, the 1-1 draw setting up their play-off semi-final with Milton Keynes Dons, who have home advantage in the second leg of that tie, their 1-0 win at relegated Hereford United ensuring third place.
Leeds United will be at home in their second leg against Millwall. The Lions slipped to fifth after they lost 2-0 at Carlisle United, who leapt out of the bottom four to be replaced relegated Northampton Town. The Cobblers lost 3-0 at Leeds. Crewe also drop into League Two after their 3-0 home defeat by champions Leicester City, Matty Fryatt scoring his 32nd goal of the season.
With Brentford crowned League Two champions, two out of Wycombe, Bury and Exeter could have also gone up to League One without the necessity of an extended season. The Chairboys did their best to blow it. They lost 2-1 at home to Notts County, John Thompson scoring twice. So the Grecians finished second thanks to Richard Logan's finish from a Rob Edwards cross. Meanwhile, in a chaotic finish at Gigg Lane, Bury won a late penalty against Accrington Stanley, who had Andy Procter sent off and had themselves already missed a penalty. Phil Jevons scored Bury's spot-kick but the Shakers couldn't find a second strike that would have levelled the goal differences and sent them up. They are in the play-offs and will meet Shrewsbury Town, who usurped Dagenham & Redbridge's seventh place by beating them 2-1, Chris Humphrey crossing for Grant Holt to score and adding the second himself. In the other play-off decider, fifth-placed Gillingham and Rochdale, sixth, staged a dress rehearsal at Spotland for the Gills to beat Dale 1-0. They meet twice more to see who goes to Wembley and, possibly, League One.
In Scotland, Steven Milne scored twice as St Johnstone beat Morton 3-1 to clinch promotion to the Scottish Premier, but Clyde drop to the Second Division despite a 2-0 defeat of Dundee. They are replaced by Raith Rovers who won 1-0 at Queen's Park to lift the Second Division title.
Ups and downs
League One Leicester City are champions; Peterborough United also go up to the Championship. In the play-off semi-finals, Scunthorpe United play Milton Keynes Dons (Friday, May 8; return leg Friday, May 15), and Millwall meet Leeds United (Saturday, May 9 and Thursday, May 14). Hereford United, Cheltenham Town, Crewe Alexandra and Northampton Town go down.
Brentford are champions; Wycombe and Exeter City also go up. The play-off semi-finals first legs are Shrewsbury against Bury and Rochdale against Gillingham (Thursday May 7), second legs on Sunday May 10. Luton Town and Chester drop into the Conference.Reuse content