League round-up: Neilson the hero as Crawley earn second consecutive promotion
Sunday 06 May 2012
Scott Neilson's low strike after he ran on to Warren Cumming's long ball earned Crawley Town a 1-0 win at Accrington Stanley as they grabbed the final League Two automatic promotion slot, making it two elevations in two consecutive seasons having risen from the Conference in 2011. Scott Shearer in the visitors' goal made a string of saves to deny Marcus Carver, Padraig Amond and Michael Liddle that kept Crawley on the rise.
At the bottom, Barnet yet again avoided the drop on the last day of the season, Mark Hughes's goal on the hour giving them a 2-1 win at Burton Albion to keep the Bees two points clear of the drop. Mark Byrne had put the north London side ahead with a deflected free-kick, but Burton's Jacques Maghoma fired in from the edge of the area to equalise. The Brewers could have led when Byrne fouled Calvin Zola in the area, but Zola missed the penalty and Byrne saved the Bees.
Crewe Alexandra's 2-2 draw with visitors Aldershot was just enough to claim the final play-off place because Oxford United lost 3-0 at Port Vale. The Railwaymen will play Southend United, who finished fourth after beating relegated Macclesfield 2-0.
In the other play-off, sixth-placed Cheltenham Town, who finished with a 2-1 win at Plymouth Argyle, will play Torquay United. Champions Swindon Town ended witha goalless draw at Bradford City.
Relegated Exeter City held Sheffield United to a 2-2 draw and condemned the Blades to play-off agony. Alan Gow fired the Grecians ahead after 24 minutes, and the task facing Danny Wilson's side looked more daunting after James Beattie was sent off in the 37th minute for a challenge on James Dunne. But goals by Lee Williamson and Kevin McDonald put the Yorkshire side ahead, only for Scott Bennett to head Exeter level.
The Blades will play Stevenage, who claimed the final play-off berth by beating Bury 3-0 at Broadhall Way, Chris Read, Joel Byrom and Chris Beardsley all on target.
In the second play-off match, MK Dons, who lost 1-0 to Walsall, will play Huddersfield Town, who beat Yeovil 2-0, Lee Novak scoring on the stroke of half-time before Danny Ward's 72nd-minute strike wrapped it up. Champions Charlton finished on a high, beating Hartlepool 3-2 at the Valley to end with 101 points.
Ups and downs
League One Sheffield Wednesday are promoted. In the play-off semi-final first legs Stevenage host Sheffield United (Friday, 11 May); MK Dons play Huddersfield (Saturday, 12 May).
League Two Crawley are promoted; Hereford go down. In the play-off semi-final first legs Crewe host Southend (Saturday, 12 May); Cheltenham are home to Torquay (Sunday, 13 May)
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