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Sport What happened in the Championship on Saturday?


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Sport What happened in the Championship on Saturday?

The Championship final day promises to be as spectacular as Fulham player Neeskens Kebano’s goal celebrationsAfter celebrations on the streets of Leeds and probably in most corners of the globe on Friday night at the club’s promotion from the Championship, there were still plenty more plot lines to follow as Saturday saw nine more games…

Sport What happened in the Championship on Saturday?

Sport

sport Neeskens Kebano

The Championship final day promises to be as spectacular as Fulham player Neeskens Kebano’s goal celebrations

After celebrations on the streets of Leeds and probably in most corners of the globe on Friday night at the club’s promotion from the Championship, there were still plenty more plot lines to follow as Saturday saw nine more games from the penultimate round of the delayed league season.

Here’s a look at what unfolded at both ends of the table and what will still need to be resolved both on Sunday and Wednesday as the campaign moves towards its conclusion.

Tigers clinging on by their claws as others face nervous last day

Flipping the table upside down, we’ll start with the situation at the bottom where still nothing is decided in terms of who goes down.

What’s more, there are still plenty of on-field and off-field permutations, leaving as many as eight clubs unsure which division they’ll be playing in next season.

But the most significant result on Saturday came at KCOM Stadium where 22nd met 23rd and, come full-time, Hull City and Luton Town had switched places.

Luton’s 1-0 win leaves Hull facing relegation to League One barring a “miracle” – to use boss Grant McCann’s own words – or a reprieve at the hands of a points deduction for at least one other club.

The Tigers’ are now three points adrift of safety after a fifth successive defeat. Luton, meanwhile, remain inside the bottom three on goal difference.

Hull City’s players were left distraught at the end of their loss at home to Luton Town

They would have climbed out of danger had one of the day’s earlier games not been affected by some stoppage-time drama.

Charlton snatched a point at home to Wigan in a 2-2 draw thanks to Macauley Bonne’s equaliser.

The Addicks are above Luton because of their -11 goal difference compared with the Hatters’ -29, but the result also had an effect on Wigan, who still face an anxious last day despite sitting in 13th.

Wigan’s administration means they have a 12-point deduction pending at the end of the season, which the club are appealing against to the English Football League.

That draw has left Paul Cook’s side 10 points above the bottom three rather than 12 and on Wednesday night they will face a Fulham side who could be a Premier League club come full-time.

Macauley Bonne celebrates after his stoppage-time leveller for Charlton

“We might have to win our last game and the disappointment for us is we could win and it might still not be enough,” said Cook.

“That is the real disappointment because these players don’t deserve that, but I am not going to go harping on about spilt milk.

“We will give it one last push to get us up to 61 points. Will 49 be enough to keep us in the league? I am sure it would, so let’s concentrate on being positive for Wednesday.”

To add to the relegation permutations, defeats for Middlesbrough and Birmingham City mean they still need positive results on Wednesday to secure their status, while anything less than a win will condemn bottom-placed Barnsley on Sunday when they travel to Nottingham Forest.

Bees lose their sting to hand Leeds the title

Saturday began with form side Brentford travelling to Stoke with a huge opportunity to extend their eight-game winning run and move into the second automatic promotion place above West Brom with a game to play.

The Baggies’ surprise defeat by Huddersfield on Friday had given Thomas Frank’s side the chance to break into the top two, but they fluffed their lines against a stubborn Stoke.

Lee Gregory scored the only goal just before half-time and, despite constant pressure from Brentford deep into injury time, they could find no way past Potters goalkeeper Adam Davies.

The result confirmed Leeds as champions before their trip to Derby on Sunday, but for Brentford it leaves them still a point behind second-placed West Brom going into the final round of fixtures.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank was all smiles before kick-off against Stoke City

It also gave Fulham a chance of keeping their automatic promotion hopes alive and they got the win they needed later on, beating Sheffield Wednesday 5-3 at Craven Cottage to move a point behind Brentford and two behind West Brom.

It means it will be a three-horse race to secure the second automatic promotion place on Wednesday evening as Fulham travel to Wigan, Brentford host Barnsley and West Brom face QPR at The Hawthorns.

“The momentum is definitely with us,” said Fulham manager Scott Parker. “My team probably haven’t got the credit they’ve deserved.

“West Brom and Brentford, people have said how fantastic they are, and they are, but we’re two points off it.

“This league pulls up many surprises and in this current climate that is still going to be the case.

“If our season ends on Wednesday, amazing, and if it doesn’t we’ll try and finish it off.”

Bluebirds stay ahead of chasing flock

The race for the play-offs became a little clearer after some of the contenders dropped out, but most significantly the side in the box seat kept its cool to stay in control.

Cardiff sat sixth before kick-off and maintained that position with a fine 3-1 win at Middlesbrough.

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Josh Murphy scored two of those goals to deny former boss Neil Warnock a result that would have secured his new club’s safety.

Cardiff needed that win as closest challengers and south Wales adversaries Swansea did their bit by narrowly beating Bristol City. But the gap between sixth-placed Cardiff and seventh-placed Swansea remains three points, meaning the Bluebirds need just one more point to book their spot.

Cardiff host Hull on Wednesday night. while Swansea take a drive down the M4 to face Reading.

Swansea need nothing less than a win to keep their hopes alive.

Meanwhile, results elsewhere went against two sides who still had a sniff of breaking into the top six.

While Preston did their bit by beating Birmingham, Cardiff’s victory meant they could no longer overhaul them, while Millwall slipped up at London neighbours QPR to see their play-off challenge ended.

Remaining fixtures

Sunday:

  • Derby County v Leeds United
  • Nottingham Forest v Barnsley

Wednesday:

  • Birmingham City v Derby County
  • Brentford v Barnsley
  • Bristol City v Preston North End
  • Cardiff City v Hull City
  • Leeds United v Charlton Athletic
  • Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers
  • Millwall v Huddersfield Town
  • Nottingham Forest v Stoke City
  • Reading v Swansea City
  • Sheffield Wednesday v Middlesbrough
  • West Bromwich Albion v Queens Park Rangers
  • Wigan Athletic v Fulham

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