Play-off and League action this weekend…23/05/2021


The 2020/2021 Premier League season was completed on Sunday afternoon with all ten matches kicking-off at 4pm. With the top two places and the three relegation places already determined the primary focus was on the battle for the remaining  European Competition places to be secured  by the sides  finishing third to seventh.  Chelsea and Liverpool commenced the day in the third and fourth positions which bring Champions League qualification and both survived with the ‘Reds’ taking third with a two nil victory over Crystal Palace who included James McCarthy in their starting eleven. Chelsea went down to a two one defeat at Aston Villa but claimed fourth place as a result of Leicester City again capitulating on the final day, as they did last season, by going down to a four two home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur who included Matt Doherty in their starting eleven. The London side retained seventh  place which will grant them entry  into the new third European competition. West Ham United retained their sixth place position with a three nil victory over visitors Southampton at the London Stadium. Darren Randolph and Ademipo Odubeko were unused substitutes for the ‘Hammers’ while Michael Obafemi was an 84th minute substitute for the ‘Saints’ with Will Ferry an unused substitute. Arsenal defeated visitors Brighton & Hove Albion by two goals to nil to finish in eight position with Aaron Connolly a half-time substitute for the ‘Seagulls’.  In other contests, Fulham went down to a two nil defeat by visitors Newcastle United for whom  Jeff Hendrick was an 80th minute substitute while Ciaran Clark remained on the substitute bench. Dara O’Shea and Callum Robinson started for West Bromwich Albion who went down to a three one defeat at Leeds United with the Irish duo withdrawn around the hour mark.  John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick started for Sheffield United who defeated visitors Burnley with the only goal from McGoldrick at Bramall Lane.  Jimmy Dunne was in central defence for the vanquished ‘Clarets’. 

The second leg of the League Two semi-final play-off between Morecambe and Tranmere Rovers ended in a one all draw which enabled the hosts to progress on an three two aggregate scoreline. Glasgow Celtic loanee Lee O’Connor started for the  visitors but was withdrawn at half-time.

Josh Cullen started for RSC Anderlecht who were reduced to ten men following an early red card and went down to a one nil defeat at Royal Antwerp in the hectic finale to the Belgian First Division.

The second legs of the Championship play-off semi-finals took place on Saturday afternoon with Brentford overturning a one nil first leg deficit with a three one victory over AFC Bournemouth at their new London Stadium. The visitors included Mark Travers, Gavin Kilkenny and loanee Shane Long on their substitute bench  with Long introduced for the final 10 minutes. Later at 5.30pm, the second semi-final took place at the Liberty Stadium where Swansea City, holding a one nil advantage from the first leg, played out a one all draw with Barnsley to progress to the final. Loanee Conor Hourihane started for the ‘Swans’ and was withdrawn on 74 minutes while Ryan Manning was unused on the substitute bench.

The second leg of the League One semi-final  play-off between Sunderland and Lincoln City took place at the Stadium of Light where the hosts won by two goals to one but it was not enough as the visitors held a two nil advantage from the first leg and progressed to the final where they will face Blackpool. Lincoln named Anthony Scully in their starting eleven but he was withdrawn at half-time for tactical reasons while Aiden McGeady started for the hosts with Aiden O’Brien introduced from the bench on 78th minutes.