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EFL matchday review: The Final Day

6 May 2019

There was no shortage of drama as the curtain came down on the 2018/19 season in the EFL.

With plenty still to be decided in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two going into the final weekend, there were plenty of twists and turns up and down the country.

Here's how things unfolded...

Champions: Norwich City.

Promoted: Sheffield United.

Relegated: Rotherham United, Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town.

Play-Offs: Leeds United, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Derby County.

The Championship action took place on Sunday, with the league title and final Play-Off spot still up for grabs.

Norwich needed just a point at Aston Villa to be crowned champions, but instead got all three, running out 2-1 winners with goals from Teemu Pukki - his 29th of the season - and Mario Vrancic, sparking scenes of celebration among the travelling fans. Sheffield United's promotion was already confirmed and they drew 2-2 at Stoke, securing second spot in the process. 

Meanwhile, a rollercoaster three-horse race for sixth place was taking place. Derby started the day in pole position and went ahead against West Brom, but a leveller for the Baggies, coupled with two goals for Middlesbrough at Rotherham United, meant that for a while it looked as though Boro would pip Derby to the post. A goal for Hull against Bristol City effectively ended the latter's hunt to stay in the race, and Derby scored two quick-fire goals to set up a Play-Off meeting against Leeds United.

Champions: Luton Town

Promoted: Barnsley.

Relegated: Plymouth Argyle, Walsall, Scunthorpe United, Bradford City.

Play-Offs: Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers.

The league title, final Play-Off place and relegation battle all went down to the wire in League One, with Plymouth v Scunthorpe arguably the pick of the games in the division.

Ultimately, Plymouth's 3-2 win at Home Park wasn't the right result for either side, as Southend United scored a dramatic late winner against Sunderland to stay up on goal difference, while AFC Wimbledon drew at already-relegated Bradford to do the same. Walsall could only draw at Shrewsbury Town, a result which confirmed their fate. Incredibly, just five points separate Plymouth and 13th-placed Gillingham in the final standings.

At the top, Luton and Barnsley went into the final day level on points, and the former comfortably saw off Oxford while the ten-man Tykes lost at Bristol Rovers. It meant the title belonged to Luton, who had already secured back-to-back promotions and will be playing Championship football next season. Hoping to join them will be Doncaster, who beat Coventry City 2-0 to pip Peterborough United to sixth by a single point.

Champions: Lincoln City.

Promoted: Bury, MK Dons.

Relegated: Notts County, Yeovil Town.

Play-Offs: Mansfield Town, Forest Green Rovers, Tranmere Rovers, Newport County.

It was an equally dramatic finish in League Two, with MK Dons and Mansfield going head-to-head, knowing that the winner would secure automatic promotion. As many as six teams remained in the hunt for the final Play-Off place, while it was a straight shootout between Macclesfield Town and Notts County to avoid relegation.

At Stadium:MK, it was the hosts who held their nerve, scoring early through David Wheeler and protecting their narrow lead until the full-time whistle to ensure promotion back to League One. It means Mansfield will have another crack at it in the Play-Offs, up against Newport County, who secured their spot in dramatic fashion.

Trailling at Morecambe with four minutes to go, County scored a vital equaliser which, coupled with results elsewhere, meant they finished sixth. Exeter and Carlisle both failed to win, while excellent victories for Colchester United at champions Lincoln and Stevenage at home to Cheltenham Town saw them just miss out. The momentum is with Newport though, who go into the Play-Offs unbeaten in 10.

Finally, at the bottom, with Notts County leading at Swindon Town and Macclesfield behind at home to Cambridge United, it looked for a while like County would preserve their EFL status, but Macclesfield equalised through Elliott Durrell to claim the point they needed to complete the great escape under Sol Campbell. County went on to fall to a 3-1 defeat and suffer relegation to The National League for the first time. 


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