Luton down, Watford fight

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Despite being held to a second successive goalless draw, Sunderland clinched the Endsleigh First Division championship with the point from their meeting with West Brom at Roker Park. Rampant in the first period, the Wearsiders lost control in the second half and Albion almost stole the show. Play-off hopefuls Stoke, Charlton and Leicester all won.

The only other First Division issue settled yesterday was termination of Luton's membership. A 3-1 home defeat by Barnsley, Neil Redfearn netted twice, consigned the Hatters to the Second Division. But further down the M1, Watford continue to offer stiff resistance to the drop. Their 2-1 win at Norwich, David Connolly scoring his eighth goal in five games, maintained the pressure on the teams above; only Oldham picked up a point after their 1-1 draw at Southend. Portsmouth, Reading and Millwall all lost.

Brighton's Goldstone was not the only south coast ground to echo to the noise of disgruntled fans. Pompey supporters at Fratton Park demanded the sacking of Portsmouth manager Terry Fenwick as the side lost 1-0 to Ipswich. Alex Mathie's goal was poor reward for the visitors' dominance.

In the Second Division, Oxford nudged aside Blackpool to lay a late claim to the second automatic promotion place behind Swindon after a 2-1 win at Crewe while the Seasiders lost 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.

At the bottom, the arrival of Jan Molby as player-manager of Swansea came too late to save them from relegation to the Third Division. They lost 4-0 at Notts County, bound for the play-offs, and accompany Hull and Brighton down; Carlisle are favourites to join them.

In the Third Division, the top two, Preston and Gillingham, secured their expected promotion places but Bury could only draw at Exeter which meant Darlington's 2-1 defeat of Chester put them into the third automatic promotion berth.

Finally, Torquay United fans who forsook the last match of the season at Plainmoor - a substantial home defeat, inevitably, against Cambridge United - to make the trip to Hertfordshire to support Stevenage Borough were given a few heart murmurs before Boro got the point to win the GM Vauxhall Conference.

Visitors Morecambe were 1-0 ahead when they had Michael Knowles sent off after 75 minutes. A minute later Corie Browne equalised. But Boro, the best non-League team by far this season, are denied promotion because their Broadhall Way ground was not up to Endsleigh specifications. So for the third consecutive season, the bottom Endsleigh League side has avoided demotion.

Ups and downs

Premier League

Relegated: Bolton, QPR

First Division

Champions: Sunderland

Relegated: Luton

Second Division

Champions: Swindon

Relegated: Hull, Brighton, Swansea

Third Division

Promoted: Preston, Gillingham

Scottish Premier Division

Relegated: Falkirk. Play-off: Partick

Scottish First Division

Relegated: Hamilton, Dumbarton

Scottish Second Division

Promoted: Stirling, East Fife

Relegated: Montrose

Scottish Third Division

Promoted: Livingston, Brechin