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EFL round-up: the penultimate weekend

3 May 2021

The penultimate weekend of the 2020/21 season delivered yet more incredible stories!

Here's a look at a few of the headlines from across the three divisions...

Keeping their hopes alive

Goalkeepers Keiren Westwood and Jamal Blackman took the Sky Bet Championship relegation fight into a mouth-drying final week. An unwise headed backpass led to Sheffield Wednesday keeper Westwood conceding a spot-kick against Nottingham Forest, but he produced one of the penalty saves of the season to deny Lewis Grabban and earn the Owls a 0-0 draw. That sets up a titanic final-day visit to Derby. Not to be outdone, Blackman’s agility and bravery preserved a point for Rotherham against Blackburn, meaning victory at Luton in midweek would catapult them over both Wednesday and Derby going into the final fixtures.

Points make prizes for Norwich

You might have thought all that was left for Norwich City after promotion was to clinch a second Sky Bet Championship title in three seasons. Not so. There were still records to chase. One was achieved on Saturday when the Canaries’ 4-1 win over Reading at Carrow Road not only sealed the title, but also set a new club record of 96 points in a season. And victory at Barnsley on the final day would set another club best of 30 wins in a single campaign.

Just desserts at the Posh table

Should anyone have been surprised about Peterborough’s thrilling comeback against Lincoln to salvage the point that took them up into the Sky Bet Championship at the expense of their visitors? Trailing 3-0 at half-time to the only team that could deny them automatic promotion, Darren Ferguson’s men turned on the after-burners to equalise through Jonson Clarke-Harris’s 30th goal of the season, a 96th-minute penalty. That made it 23 points that Posh have gained from losing positions this season. Without them, they would currently be 15th.

Fine margins in Sky Bet League Two

One team’s disappointment is another team’s hope. So it proved at the University of Bolton Stadium where Bolton’s failure to secure automatic promotion meant that Exeter’s Play-Off ambitions could be maintained. Pierce Sweeney glanced in a 95th-minute winner for the visitors from Devon. The consequences of that goal will be felt next weekend by eight Clubs, a third of Sky Bet League Two’s total, who will either be promoted automatically, earn their spot in the Play-Offs or miss out on glory altogether. Best of all? None of them play each other on the final day. 

Sands slipping away

Away fans will have fewer day trips to the seaside to look forward to in Sky Bet League Two when they return to EFL grounds next season after the Mariners of Grimsby and the Shrimpers of Southend took their leave at the weekend. Should Morecambe gain promotion to League One, that will leave Barrow as the only day out with a beach involved. That is, unless the Gulls of Torquay come flying back from the National League.

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