St James Park hosted the Premier League meeting of much improved Newcastle United and second place Liverpool at 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon with Caoimhin Kelleher named on the visitors substitute bench. Liverpool won with the only goal to go top of the table by two points from Manchester City who played later in the day and secured a four nil victory at Leeds United to regain their lead at the summit. Shane Long started with Will Smallbone on the Southampton substitute bench for the visit of Crystal Palace which saw the ‘Eagles’ recover from conceding an early goal to secure a two one victory. Relegation rivals Watford and Burnley met at Vicarage Road where Nathan Collins started for the ‘Clarets’ who also came from behind to record a two one victory and boost their survival hopes. Kevin Long and nineteen year old midfielder Dara Costelloe were unused on the bench. Wolverhampton Wanderers went down to an unexpected three nil defeat by visitors Brighton & Hove Albion for whom Shane Duffy returned to the matchday squad following his injury absence and was joined by young Evan Ferguson on the substitute bench.
Following Sheffield United’s win last night, the battle for the Championship promotion play-off places continued this afternoon with Blackburn Rovers and Darragh Lenihan playing host to second place AFC Bournemouth who included Mark Travers in their starting eleven with Robbie Brady unused on the substitute bench as the ‘Cherries’ recorded a three nil success to consolidate their second place position. Loanee Aaron Connolly was an unused substitute for Middlesbrough who defeated visitors Stoke City by three goals to one to maintain their push for the play-offs. Millwall and Dan McNamara defeated already relegated Peterborough United and their duo of Sam Szmodics and Jack Taylor by three goals to nil at the New Den. In form Nottingham Forest ran riot in the second half to crush Swansea City by five goals to one. Loanee Cyrus Christie conceded an own goal while Michael Obafemi scored the ‘Swans’ goal and Ryan Manning was withdrawn on 57 minutes. Also in action were Preston North End who named Alan Browne in their starting eleven with Sean Maguire a late substitute and Greg Cunningham unused on the bench as they secured a three one victory at relegated Barnsley. The third relegated club Derby County and their Irish quartet of Jason Knight, Festy Ebosele, Eiran Cashin and Louie Watson were on an away day at Blackpool who include the veteran Richard Keogh in their starting eleven as the visiting ‘Rams’ secured a two nil victory. West Bromwich Albion named Dara O’Shea and Jayson Molumby, whose permanent transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion was confirmed this week, in their starting eleven with Callum Robinson a 72nd minute substitute for their one nil victory at Reading.
The regular League One season reached it’s climax today with all matches kicking-off at 12.30pm. Wigan Athletic confirmed their promotion as champions with Will Keane scoring twice in their three nil victory at Shrewsbury Town. Rotherham United take second place following their two nil victory at Gillingham. Chiedoze Ogbene started while Georgie Kelly made his debut from the bench on 80 minutes and scored the decisive second goa nine minutes later. Joshua Kayode was an unused substitute for the victors. Third place MK Dons confirmed their position with a five nil thrashing of their hosts Plymouth Argyle who were reduced to ten men just before the break and then found themselves overtaken by Wycombe Wanderers for the final play-off place. Warren O’Hora and loanees Conor Coventry and Troy Parrott all started for the ‘Dons’. Sheffield Wednesday defeated visitors Portsmouth by four goals to one to confirm their play-off position. ‘Pompey’ included loanee Gavin Bazunu in their starting eleven together with Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Sean Raggett while loanee Aiden O’Brien was a 64th minute substitute with Shaun Williams unused on the bench. Sunderland secured a one nil victory at Morecambe to ensure their play-off spot. Wycombe Wanderers and Daryl Horgan started the day outside the play-off place in seventh position on goal difference but their two one victory at Burton Albion saw them leapfrog Plymouth Argyle and secure a play-off place.
Relegation threatened Everton and Seamus Coleman played host to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon and emerged victorious with a one nil success which lifts their survival hopes.
There was a noon kick-off for the titanic Scottish Premiership clash of Glasgow duo Celtic and Rangers at Parkhead where the visitors almost certainly needed victory to maintain realistic hope of overtaking their bitter rivals at the summit. The contest ended in a one all draw which leaves the leaders six points clear with three fixtures remaining. James McCarthy was an unused substitute for the hosts.
Josh Cullen was on now customary midfield duty for RSC Anderlecht who played out a scoreless draw with visitors Club Bruges in the Belgian First Division at 5.30pm.
AIK Solna included Zack Elbouzedi in their starting eleven for their two nil Swedish Allsvenskan victory at GIF Sundsvall.