Player round up from Sophie Beresford.
James Collins was an unused substitute for West Ham United as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham had lost all four of the matches they’d played in April, but they seem to have a particular talent for beating Spurs: this was their third victory over the East London club this season. It probably also helped when Spurs went down to ten men in the 24th minute.
Craig Bellamy came off the bench for Cardiff City at half time, but was unable to stop his former side Newcastle United from ending their six-match losing streak with a 3-0 home victory. The result means Cardiff are relegated after just one season in the Premier League. Declan John and Ben Turner both returned to Cardiff’s starting line-up. Paul Dummett lasted just 45 minutes for Newcastle.
Ashley Williams has been excellent this season, but it was his mistake that led to Southampton’s only goal in a 1-0 away victory. Williams’ attempted clearance appeared to be heading for the goal even before it brushed Rickie Lambert on the way in, but the Southampton striker received the dubious credit. Ben Davies also started for Swansea, but Neil Taylor wasn’t given the nod to start at right back, only appearing in the 77th minute.
On Sunday, Liam O’Neil returned to West Bromwich Albion’s bench and watched along with Boaz Myhill as Arsenal celebrated sealing fourth place with a 1-0 home victory. It must be a great relief to Arsenal, especially as Aaron Ramsey has hurt his thigh again. West Brom could still be relegated, but they’d need to lose their last two games 5-0 and Norwich would need to beat Arsenal 10-0. In other words, they’re staying up.
Joe Allen scored his first Liverpool goal after shaking off the attentions of Crystal Palace’s Joe Ledley, and it looked like another good day was in store for Liverpool: they were still 3-0 up in the 79th minute. It could have been more: Liverpool should have had a penalty, and a raking long pass from Allen deserved a better finish than Glen Johnson could provide. However, home team Palace came back to draw 3-3. Wayne Hennessey and Danny Gabbidon were on the bench for Palace.
Christian Dibble returned to Barnsley’s squad as his team lost their final match in the Championship before returning to League One. Barnsley manager Danny Wilson had talked of giving some young players a chance, but young goalkeeper Dibble had to be content with a place on the bench. Visitors Queen’s Park Rangers took all three points in a 3-2 victory.
Barnsley’s Lewin Nyatanga missed his second consecutive match for Barnsley after a season beset by injury problems.
QPR’s Michael Doughty is on loan at Stevenage, where he has spent most of the season.
Jack Collison returned to Wigan Athletic’s starting line-up after spending two weeks as an unused substitute. Home team Blackburn Rovers won 4-3, extending their unbeaten run to twelve matches, but they missed out on the play-offs due to results elsewhere and their own failure to produce a cricket score. Wigan finish in the top six despite losing five of their last seven games. Collison got the assist for Wigan’s third goal in the 87th minute.
Blackburn’s Adam Henley has been out with an ankle injury since March.
Morgan Fox played in defence for Charlton Athletic as they won 3-0 at Blackpool. Charlton finish a rather shaky season with three wins in their last four games, while Blackpool have reason to be grateful that Birmingham City and Doncaster Rovers both failed to win. Simon Church was an unused substitute for Charlton.
Robert Earnshaw missed his sixth consecutive match for Blackpool due to a calf injury. He has made just one appearance since signing a short-term contract.
Charlton’s Rhoys Wiggins is out with a metatarsal injury but has a worryingly promising replacement in Fox.
Emyr Huws left the field at half-time with Birmingham City drawing 0-0 and on course for relegation. The situation only worsened when Bolton Wanderers went 2-0 down, but two late goals for Birmingham and a Leicester City penalty gave away side Birmingham a point and sent Doncaster Rovers down instead.
Bolton’s Craig Davies finished the season on loan at Preston North End.
Birmingham’s Neal Eardley remains out with a knee injury suffered in August.
Jonny Williams started Ipswich Town’s final game of the season as they ended a run of three defeats with a 2-1 home victory against Sheffield Wednesday. Although Ipswich fell short of the play-offs on this occasion, they are one of (I think) just two clubs who have qualified for Europe in every season they have spent in the top flight. The other team is Manchester United so Ipswich could very shortly become the only one.
Ipswich’s Elliott Hewitt is on loan at Gillingham.
Chris Dawson was on Leeds United’s substitute bench for the first time as they drew 1-1 at home to Derby County, denying the third-placed club a sixth consecutive win. After a troubled season, Leeds finished thirteen points ahead of relegated Doncaster Rovers – the same number of points as there are between Derby and their play-off opponents Brighton & Hove Albion.
Derby pair Kieron Freeman and Ben Davies are on loan at Sheffield United.
Andy King made his fourth consecutive start for Leicester City, who claimed their fourth consecutive win in a 1-0 victory. But while Leicester head to the Premier League, visitors Doncaster Rovers exit through the trap door. Leicester’s goal didn’t help Doncaster, but it was Birmingham City’s last-gasp equaliser that sent them down on goal difference. This was David Cotterill’s thirteenth consecutive start Doncaster, and it certainly proved unlucky on this occasion. Champions Leicester finish the season with 102 points.
Steve Morison returned to Millwall’s starting line-up against Bournemouth, but although he managed to hit the bar and the empty air beside and above the bar, he didn’t hit the back of the net. Luckily, one of his team-mates did, and Millwall’s 1-0 home win ensured they finished four points above the relegation zone and unbeaten in eight matches. Half-time substitute Shaun MacDonald went close twice for Bournemouth. Jermaine Easter, whose good attitude and influence has won him a new contract, was on the bench for Millwall.
Millwall’s Tom Bender spent the last few months of the season on loan at Welling United, but has now been released by Millwall without having featured in a first team squad.
David Vaughan set up Nottingham Forest’s opening goal in the 22nd minute, but visitors Brighton & Hove Albion struck back in the second half to win 2-1. Their stoppage-time winner puts them into the play-offs at the expense of Reading. Danny Collins also started for Forest.
Brighton’s Andrew Crofts has been out since January after injuring his cruciate ligament.
Chris Gunter has been almost ever-present for Reading this season, but it’s a season he’ll remember with disappointment. Reading’s 2-2 home draw against runners-up Burnley seemed to be enough to win a place in the play-offs, but a late goal from Brighton& Hove Albion put paid to that. Hal Robson-Kanu set up Reading’s second equaliser of the day a minute after coming off the bench, while fellow-substitute Jake Taylor was much-praised for his contribution. David Jones played 90 minutes for Burnley, who finish the season with more points than the last two Championship title winners.
Burnley’s Player of the Year Sam Vokes was absent due to an anterior cruciate injury which will see him miss the start of the Euro 2016 and Premier League campaigns next season. Brian Stock was also absent and has now been released.
Joel Lynch returned to Huddersfield Town’s starting line-up and helped them to only their second win in thirteen games with a 4-1 away victory over Watford. Watford were unbeaten in 10 home games prior to this match. Former Wales under-21 international Jonathan Bond kept his place in goal for Watford but probably didn’t do much to increase his chances of playing for England one day.
Michael Doughty returned to Stevenage’s starting line-up and caused trouble for opponents Brentford with a shot that needed to be well-saved. But there is a reason why home team Brentford have been promoted as runners-up, and although they didn’t score until quite late on, it was probably no surprise to anyone that they finished the match as 2-0 winners. With Shrewsbury Town drawing their final of the match of the season, Stevenage finished bottom on goal difference.
Stevenage’s Sam Wedgbury was absent from the matchday squad for the second consecutive match.
Gwion Edwards played his final match – at least for now – on loan at Crawley Town, and caused a bit of trouble on the left wing with his pace and attempts on goal. Home side Crawley did take the lead in the first hour, but the match against Bristol City finished one-apiece. Dave Richards and Wes Burns were unused substitutes for Bristol City, who finish in the top half despite being bottom of the league in December.
Joe Walsh was a late withdrawal for Crawley after injuring himself in the warm-up.
Elliot Parish and Joe Morrell weren’t in Bristol City’s squad.
George Ray was an unused substitute as Crewe Alexandra made sure of their survival with a 2-1 home victory over Preston North End. Crewe went 1-0 up early on and made it 2-0 in the second half, with Preston not scoring until the 90th minute. Craig Davies was an unused substitute for Preston.
Billy Waters wasn’t in Crewe’s squad.
Stand-in captain Joe Jacobson set up Shrewsbury Town’s only goal with pinpoint accuracy to give them a late 1-1 draw at home to Gillingham. Tom Bradshaw started as expected for Shrewsbury Town, with Paul Parry joining his fellow Welshmen on the pitch when he replaced an injured player on 34 minutes. The draw was enough to end a run of four defeats for Shrewsbury and lift them off the foot of the table. Former Wales under-16 international Aaron Wildig (who is ineligible for the senior team) started for Shrewsbury.
Gillingham defender Elliott Hewitt, on loan from Ipswich Town, wasn’t in the matchday squad. Neither was Adam Birchall, who was put on the transfer list last summer but is still at the club.
Player/coach Danny Coyne and youngster Dominic Smith weren’t in Shrewsbury’s squad.
Lloyd James was a 67th-minute substitute as Leyton Orient won their second consecutive match with a 3-1 away victory over Milton Keynes Dons. Despite a few recent defeats, Orient finish in third place. Swansea City loanee James Loveridge was an unused substitute for MK Dons, who finish 10th following a run of five matches without a win.
Gareth Roberts was an unused substitute for Notts County as they survived relegation with a 1-1 draw at Oldham Athletic, their equaliser coming from a 75th-minute penalty. James Wilson played an eleventh successive match in defence for Oldham, who are unbeaten in their last ten.
Oldham youngsters Tomos Clarke and Danny Gosset didn’t make what would have been a rare appearance in Oldham’s squad.
Lloyd Isgrove played the opening 45 minutes for Peterborough United, who finished the season with a 0-0 draw at home to Port Vale. Although they don’t head into the play-offs on a winning run, they have only lost one of their last six. Richard Duffy obviously did his job defensively for Port Vale, but his team finish their first season back in League One with a three-match winless run.
Young goalkeeper Alex Lynch wasn’t in Peterborough’s squad.
Port Vale’s Kaid Mohamed is on loan at Bristol Rovers.
Kieron Freeman couldn’t stop Coventry City from taking the lead, but he and 65th-minute substitute Ben Davies still finished on the winning side as Sheffield United came back to claim a 2-1 home victory. Following a season of struggle that made them look like relegation contenders at the start of the season, Sheff Utd only finished one place outside the play-offs.
Coventry’s Aaron Phillips has been out injured since around February. His team-mate George Thomas didn’t make one of his rare appearances in the squad.
Craig Morgan was surprisingly dropped to Rotherham United’s bench, but even so, he probably quite enjoyed watching his team take the lead after just 58 seconds. Rotherham went on to record a 2-1 away win over Swindon Town. Swindon seemed to be struggling: their first strike on goal was registered in the 28th-minute by Louis Thompson – and that went over the bar.
Nicky Adams wasn’t in Rotherham’s squad to face Swindon, one of his many former teams. Mark Bradley has been out with a knee injury since March.
Louis Thompson’s brother Nathan Thompson, who might or might not be eligible, was absent due to suspension. Youngsters Aaron Oakley and Liam Walsh failed to register their first appearances of the season for Swindon, and have both been released.
Ash Taylor gave a very strong performance for Tranmere Rovers that was described as ‘forceful and dominant’ by the Liverpool Echo, who felt Taylor should be playing in League One at the very least next season. Jason Koumas was also praised for his pace and passing ability, but visitors Bradford City scored two late goals to win 2-1 and Tranmere were relegated from League One following a thirteen-year stay.
Owain Fôn Williams was absent for Tranmere for only the third time this season due to a groin injury. He missed the other two whilst on international duty.
Sam Ricketts cut inside from the right to score the opening goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers and the league champions continued in the same vein, winning 3-0 at home to Carlisle United – who would have been relegated even if they had managed a shock win. Wolves finish the season with 103 points, which sets a new League One record. Dave Edwards didn’t score any of the goals, but it’s only fair to let his team-mates have a chance occasionally. Lee Evans also started for Wolves.
Jake Cassidy and Bradley Reid have returned from his loan spells at Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham but weren’t in Wolves’ squad.
Aaron Morris returned to Wimbledon’s starting line-up with Darren Jones dropping to the bench, though he did come onto the pitch after half-time. However, these tactics didn’t improve Wimbledon’s recent form: Accrington Stanley took the points in a 3-2 home win leaving Wimbledon with two wins from their last eight games (though effectively, due to their points deduction, they only received points for one win).
Wimbledon’s Rhys Weston is out with a knee injury he suffered while on loan at Sutton United
Kaid Mohamed started for Bristol Rovers in what seemed like such a simple task. All they had to do was get a point at home to Mansfield Town. Even a defeat would probably have been enough. Rovers had beaten Wycombe Wanderers only the previous week and sent them into the bottom two with their tail between their legs. Surely Wycombe weren’t going to bite back and send Bristol Rovers crashing out of the Football League after 94 years. But Rovers lost 1-0, Wycombe won and Rovers went down on goal difference. Not so simple after all. Lewis Price was in goal for Mansfield.
Ellis Harrison was left out of Rovers’ squad and has now been transfer-listed.
Eliot Richards was on loan at Exeter City. He has now been released by Rovers.
Mansfield’s Lee Beevers is out following shoulder surgery.
Connor Roberts made his first team debut for Cheltenham Town after the confirmation of their survival left their manager Mark Yates in the mood for experimentation. Yates wasn’t happy with the result, a 3-2 home defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge, but he felt the younger players did well.
Troy Brown didn’t feature for Cheltenham, presumably to make way for younger players.
Chris Maxwell was in goal for Fleetwood and kept a clean sheet in the first half, with Fleetwood winning 1-0 at Chesterfield. But Chesterfield had the small matter of the League Two title to consider, and fought back in the second half to win 2-1 and take the trophy.
Craig Jones kept his place in Bury’s team as they drew 0-0 at Morecambe. Bury have lost just one of their last ten matches and finish in mid-table, but they probably are quite glad the season only lasts 46 games. Not as glad as Morecambe, though.
Daniel Nardiello was absent for Bury as he was completing a two-match suspension.
Darcy Blake returned from injury to join Andrew Hughes in Newport County’s starting line-up. Newport finished the season with a 2-1 home win against Rochdale This pushes Rochdale down to the third automatic promotion spot on goal difference. Mike Flynn also started in what is likely to be his last game for Newport, while Aaron Amadi-Holloway was an unused substitute.
Byron Anthony missed out for Newport due to a problem with the leg he broke earlier in the season. Tony James is involved far more as a coach as a player now, while youngster Ellis Redman didn’t add to his five appearances on Newport’s bench.
Jonathan Meades finally made his first appearance on Oxford United’s bench after injuring his ankle just in time for the start of the season. However, a first-team debut was not forthcoming, with Oxford losing 3-1 at Northampton Town. Ryan Williams had a mixed game for Oxford, putting them into the lead in the seventh minute and getting a straight red card for fighting thirteen minutes later.
Christian Ribeiro made a surprise return to Scunthorpe United’s starting line-up as they faced York City at home. Scunthorpe needed a win and some luck in order to win the league, but they actually had some bad luck in that they were playing a team who hadn’t lost in seventeen matches – though as Scunthorpe themselves have only one defeat in their last 29 matches, a 2-2 draw was pretty much what you might have expected.
Danny Parslow has been missing for York since injuring his cruciate ligament in November.
Freddy Eastwood was a 78th-minute substitute for Southend United in what turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the play-offs. It finished in a 1-0 home win for Southend against Burton Albion, but they do say that a good dress rehearsal usually leads to a poor opening night.
Luke Chambers wasn’t in Southend’s squad.
Nathan Craig was a half-time substitute for relegated Torquay United, who had won their last two matches and probably fancied their chances at home to Wycombe Wanderers – everyone else did, after all. But Wycombe were in the other relegation place and would only have a chance of staying up if they win. So they won 3-0 and did manage to stay up.Billy Bodin will be absent for the first part of Torquay’s non-league campaign: he has been ruled out for nine months with a knee injury.
Adam Matthews got the assists for Celtic’s first two goals in their 5-2 home victory over Aberdeen. Owain Tudur Jones was an unused substitute as Hibernian drew 1-1 at home to Partick Thistle. Marley Watkins went straight back into Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s starting line-up after recovering from flu and set up Inverness’s goal in a 1-1 home draw against Dundee United.
Gareth Bale played 90 minutes for Real Madrid, who are four points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid following a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia. Valencia looked set to take all three points, but Cristiano Ronaldo equalised in stoppage time.