League round-up: McGugan helps to send Forest up as Rovers fall at last

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The Independent Football

Nottingham Forest's late tilt at the top two in League One found another gear at the City Ground and a 3-2 defeat of Yeovil Town saw Colin Calderwood's side grab the second automatic promotion place and the direct route back to the Championship after three seasons in the third tier. But there was gloom in the south as Bournemouth and Gillingham were relegated to League Two.

The Glovers had little to play for which enabled Forest to take the initiative quickly. Defender Julian Bennett, presented with the Forest fans' Player Of The Year award before kick-off, celebrated by lashing in a long-range strike after 12 minutes and six minutes later Brett Ormerod fed Kris Commons who coolly slipped the ball through goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall's legs to make it 2-0.

But Forest inexplicably dozed off and two minutes later Jaime Peters pulled a goal back for the visitors. They were two goals ahead again in the 28th minute when a foul by the Yeovil captain Terry Skiverton saw Commons shape to take the free-kick. He was the decoy for Lewis McGugan to thump in the ball. Then, with just under 20 minutes left, Yeovil substitute Andy Kirk headed in to set up a nervy finale. But Forest stood firm.

The win lifted them above Doncaster Rovers who must now settle for the play-offs after a desperate trip to Whaddon Road where Cheltenham Town, a point above relegation at the start and fighting for survival, ended in a 2-1 defeat for Rovers. The Robins' desire in the first half looked the greater and after 24 minutes their spearhead of Paul Connor and Steven Gillespie combined for the latter's 14th League goal of the season.

Rovers were brighter after the break, equalised through Paul Green and looked the likelier winners. Connor, the other half of Cheltenham's strike pair, had other ideas, poaching a goal in Rovers' six-yard box to dispel the Robins' fears.

So third-placed Rovers will go to Southend United for the first leg of their play-off semi-final after the Shrimpers were held to a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall by relegated Port Vale and slipped to sixth. Leeds United moved up to fifth when Bradley Johnson and Tresor Kandol scored as Gary McAllister's side came from behind to beat Gillingham 2-1, condemning the Gills to the drop.

Leeds host Carlisle United in the first leg of the other League One play-off semi-final. The Cumbrians took the lead against Bournemouth at Brunton Park through Scott Dobie, but the visitors, whose six consecutive wins had offered hope of avoiding relegation, levelled through Brett Pitman. A second goal proved elusive and the Cherries' 1-1 draw wasn't enough to keep them up.

So other results spared Crewe Alexandra, who were dire in a 4-1 home defeat by Oldham Athletic, Neal Eardley scoring twice.

In League Two, the only issues outstanding were who plays who in the play-offs. Stockport County beat Brentford 1-0 to snatch fourth place and a semi-final against Wycombe, with the first leg at Adams Park. Rochdale and Darlington meet in the other semi-final, Dale are at home in the second leg.