League round-up: Cowie seals Cardiff top six finish
Sunday 29 April 2012
Cardiff City came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park and book the final Championship play-off berth. Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead in the 13th minute but second-half goals from a Peter Whittingham free-kick and Don Cowie's volley cemented the Bluebirds' top-six finish and two matches against West Ham, the first on Thursday.
"We are 10 games unbeaten going into the play-offs so there is real momentum there," Cardiff manager Malky Mackay said. "I have been in the semi-final situation as a player with West Ham, Norwich and Watford. It is about staying calm and having a game plan. This group of players have been through this sort of thing, with the Carling Cup semi-final and final. That will benefit us."
Blackpool drew 2-2 at Millwall, slipped to fifth, and lost home advantage in their play-off semi-finals' second leg. Leeds's 2-1 defeat to Leicester at Elland Road set an unwanted club record of 11 losses at home in one season.
Wycombe, Chesterfield and Exeter City were all relegated to League Two. Wycombe led Notts County 3-2 at home but goals by Dele Adebola (89 minutes) and Alan Judge (90) condemned them to a 4-3 defeat and the drop. Chesterfield lost 3-2 at Yeovil; Exeter were beaten 4-1 at Carlisle. In the race for the second automatic promotion place, Sheffield Wednesday won 2-1 at Brentford to leapfrog city neighbours Sheffield United who drew 2-2 at home to Stevenage and are now a point behind the Owls.
James Collins' first-half header saw Shrewsbury beat Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 to earn promotion to League One along with Swindon Town, who sealed the title with a 5-0 thumping of Port Vale. But Macclesfield's 2-0 home defeat by Burton Albion sent them down to the Conference.
Kidderminster's Aggborough ground was cleared during the match with Mansfield to let an air ambulance land and fly Anthony Mabon, 20, to hospital after he was knocked unconscious. He was later said to be stable.
Championship play-off dates
First legs Cardiff v West Ham, Thursday, 3 May; Blackpool v Birmingham City, Friday, 4 May.
Second legs West Ham v Cardiff City, Monday, 7 May; Birmingham v Blackpool, Wednesday, 9 May.
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