Managerless Hartlepool earn play-off place

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The Independent Football

The extraordinary prelude to the match which would decide the only outstanding issue at top of League One had seen Hartlepool United sack their manager, Neale Cooper, days before they were due at Bournemouth, where they needed a point to claim the fourth and final play-off place. And there was an equally dramatic curve on the pitch, too, before 'Pool got the point they wanted in a 2-2 draw to extend their season.

The extraordinary prelude to the match which would decide the only outstanding issue at top of League One had seen Hartlepool United sack their manager, Neale Cooper, days before they were due at Bournemouth, where they needed a point to claim the fourth and final play-off place. And there was an equally dramatic curve on the pitch, too, before 'Pool got the point they wanted in a 2-2 draw to extend their season.

The Cherries drew first blood at Dean Court after 12 minutes when Wade Elliott crossed for James Hayter to score from six yards. But 'Pool, with reserve team manager Martin Scott in charge, levelled eight minutes later through Jon Daly. Poor marking let in Hayter for his second goal, just after the half-hour, as the advantage swung back to the South Coast. But Bournemouth had not won in six previous home games and with 25 minutes left the visitors' substitute, Thomas Butler, set up Tony Sweeney for a second Hartlepool equaliser. It made the long journey back north much more bearable.

At the bottom, Torquay United's four consecutive wins seemed to have given them an escape route from the drop to League Two, but they lost 2-1 at Colchester United and with Milton Keynes Dons and Oldham Athletic both winning, Leroy Rosenior's side were relegated. Oldham's Chris Killen and Luke Beckett scored as the Latics beat Bradford City 2-1 to survive.

Centre-half Efetobore Sodje scored twice and Phil Jevons added a third as Yeovil were crowned League Two champions after a 3-0 win over Lincoln City. Joining them in League One are Scunthorpe United, who gdrew 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town, and Swansea City, Adrian Forbes scoring in the first minute at Gigg Lane as the Swans beat Bury 1-0 to leapfrog Southend United into third place.

The excitement boiled over as Swansea fans, who invaded the pitch during the match, came on at the end to celebrate. The party got out of hand and Swansea's goalkeeper Willy Gueret was arrested amid the chaos. He was later released with a fixed penalty fine.

The Shrimpers were held to a 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town. Freddy Eastwood's 70th-minute goal cancelled out Michael Reddy's overhead kick, but it wasn't enough and so Southend join Macclesfield, Lincoln, and Northampton Town, in the play-offs.

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