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Match Roundups

Round-up: Matchday 41

8 April 2018

Another wild weekend of EFL action has passed us by, with plenty of twists and turns during the latest round of fixtures. Here's the review...

After Wolverhampton Wanderers dramatic victory over Cardiff City on Friday night, Aston Villa were unable to close the gap on the second automatic spot.

A stunning curler from Josh Murphy on the stroke of half-time put Norwich City ahead and Dennis Srbeny doubled the advantage nine minutes into the second half with his first for the club.

Jack Grealish pulled one back for the Villans on 67 minutes only for James Maddison to restore the two-goal advantage five minutes later.

In the other lunchtime kick-off, Barnsley and Sheffield United looked set to share the spoils in their Yorkshire derby until Tom Bradshaw popped up with a late winner.

Second-half goals from John Fleck and Leon Clarke looked to have turned the tide after Gary Gardner had given the home side the lead, but the Tykes fought back through Oli McBurnie's equaliser with 16 minutes to go. Bradshaw then headed home the decider with two minutes to go to earn three valuable points in their bid to stay in the Championship.

Third-placed Fulham closed the gap on Cardiff to just two points with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring the all-important goal 12 minutes from time as they won at Sheffield Wednesday.

Derby County also picked up three points to bolster their claims for a play-off place with a 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers. Alex Pearce, Matej Vydra and Tom Lawrence doing the damage for the Rams and leaving the Trotters looking over their shoulders.

Middlesbrough and Millwall were both 2-0 winner at home. Boro stayed sixth, with goals from Daniel Ayala and Stewart Downing defeating Nottingham Forest, while the Lions' victory over Bristol City saw them climb above their visitors into seventh – remaining a point outside the play-off positions - thanks to a goal in each half from Jed Wallace and Steve Morison.

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez cancelled out Paddy McNair's goal to deny Sunderland from following in Barnsley's footsteps with a win.

That was a scoreline matched at St Andrew's in a big battle at the bottom. Garry Monk's Birmingham City weren't able to extend their revival to a fourth successive win, but they did avoid defeat at home to Burton Albion with a late equaliser. Lloyd Dyer's opener three minutes after the break was only enough for a point after Lukas Jutkiewicz scored for the hosts three minutes from time.

The draw meant the bottom two stayed as they were with Birmingham now three points clear of the relegation zone, above Bolton, but Barnsley do have a game in hand.

Elsewhere there were wins for Brentford, Reading and Hull City – the latter two moving further away from the drop zone.

A Will Grigg hat-trick helped Wigan Athletic to take advantage of Shrewsbury Town being out of league action due to their appearance in the Checkatrade Trophy Final on Sunday, with an emphatic 5-1 win over Milton Keynes Dons to move up to second place.

Danny Graham's goal just shy of an hour kept Blackburn Rovers top of the pile with a 1-0 win over Southend United. Rovers are two points clear of the Latics, who have a game in hand.

In a tight play-off pack, Plymouth Argyle were the day's biggest climbers, moving into fifth after Graham Carey’s injury-time penalty settled their contest with Peterborough United, who had started the day in the mix. Ryan Taylor cancelled out Jack Marriott's goal for the Pilgrims to set up the opportunity for Carey to claim three big points at Home Park.

Rotherham United fell behind after five minutes at home to Fleetwood Town but recovered to win by the odd goal in five to stay fourth. Charlton Athletic's 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers keeps them in the top six.

Portsmouth had to come from behind three times to stay on the periphery, frustrating their hosts Rochdale who were hoping to hang on and claim the win needed to take them out of the bottom four, but Matt Done's own goal in injury time put paid to that.

AFC Wimbledon were unable to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone after Lee Novak rescued a point for Scunthorpe United in similar circumstances, six minutes from time.

Walsall succeeded where the Wombles had failed, although they too needed a helping hand. Adam Thompson's late own goal meant Bury remain rooted to the bottom as the Saddlers moved five points clear of Dale.

Elsewhere, Nathan Delfouneso plundered a hat-trick for Blackpool in their 5-0 demolition of Bradford City, and matches at Gillingham and Oxford United finished scoreless.

With the bottom four facing off in Sky Bet League Two, it was all eyes on the fight to stay in the EFL.

Grimsby Town left it late to bring their run of 20 games without a win to an end and what a significant goal it proved to be to beat Chesterfield. Mitchell Rose's 88th-minute penalty extended the gap between the two teams to seven points and sent the Spireites bottom.

Martin Allen's Barnet climbed up from that position and are now sandwiched in between the pair after Alex Nicholls' goal in first-half injury time gave them all three points against Forest Green Rovers, who sit four points above the Bees.

Directly above them, Morecambe and Port Vale lost to Cheltenham Town and Crawley Town respectively. Crewe Alexandra raced into a 4-1 lead over eighth-placed Mansfield Town within the opening half an hour at Field Mill with all five goals coming in a 20-minute period. Despite second-half goals from Kane Hemmings and Ricky Miller, the Railwaymen held on.

There was no change in the top nine places in Sky Bet League Two. Billy Kee's goal just past the hour mark gave Accrington Stanley their 26th win of the season and Luton remained on their coattails with a comfortable win over nine-man Yeovil Town at Huish Park.

Elliott Lee set the Hatters on their way with the opening goal after four minutes and a Danny Hylton brace - taking him to 20 for the season - put them three up before the break.

Exeter City needed two goals in four minutes late on to close the gap on the automatic places with a 3-2 win at Cambridge United; Jake Taylor with the match winner three minutes from time.

At a similar time to that goal being scored, Jonathan Forte scored his second of the afternoon to give fifth-placed Notts County a 2-1 win at home to Coventry City - one minute after the Sky Blues had levelled matters.

Either side of them in the standings, third in the table Wycombe Wanderers were without a fixture due to sixth-placed Lincoln City's involvement in the Checkatrade Trophy Final. They meet on Tuesday 17th April.

Swindon Town were unable to take advantage of defeats for Mansfield and Coventry, after being held to a 0-0 draw by Carlisle United, who climbed to 10th. In the division's other game, Chris Whelpdale's goal two minutes before half-time gave Stevenage victory at Newport County.

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