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Monday, 07 May 2012

The View Outside The Premier League- Owls Finish the Job And Bees Escape Again


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Sqf hugh larkin

The outstanding issues in League One and Two were decided on Saturday and Sheffield Wednesday fans had the double bonus of automatic promotion and consigning their city rivals to the play-offs. What could have been a tense situation was fairly comfortable as the Blades couldn't win at relegated Exeter.

There's plenty to discuss about the various managerial changes at the head of the division. Wednesday made the automatic slot which presumably vindicates the decision to ditch Gary Megson - though he might argue that Dave Jones still only squeaked through on the last day and Megson put them in striking distance.

Huddersfield finished in the play-offs - exactly the position they were in when Lee Clark left them. Clark paid the price for not putting the Terriers in the top two slots but its a moot point if the decision to remove him was worth it.

And Notts County eventually fell short of the play-offs despite jettisoning Martin Allen. Stevenage's excellent late run leaves them in a position to make history as the first automatically promoted non-league side to reach the Championship.

Stevenage now face Sheffield United in the play-offs after their draw at Bramall Lane last week effectively derailed the Blades' promotion hopes. Huddersfield and MK Dons will slog it out in the other pairing-both clubs have been nailed on play-off contenders for several months.

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Martin Allen was still deeply involved in the last day dramas. He took his Barnet side to Burton Albion and dug out the win that preserved Barnet's league status again - the second campaign running that the Bees escaped the drop on the final weekend.

Barnet's win negated Hereford's excellent effort to defeat Torquay. Edgar Street became a gloomy place as the Gulls' defeat denied them automatic promotion. Crawley finally grabbed the third spot behind Swindon Town and Shrewsbury after a fluctuating campaign, when at one stage they seemed to be heading for the title.

Contrast the feeling at Torquay with that at Crewe. While the South Coast squad were desperately disappointed to fall into the play-offs the Alex squad could hardly have expected to be in with a shout after a poor start to the season.

Since Steve Davis took the reins the team have transferred their more than decent away form to Gresty Road and now they face Southend, another side that fell just short of an automatic slot. Torquay take on Cheltenham in the other tie.

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In the battle to come into the League, Luton Town take a 2-0 lead to Wrexham on Bank Holiday Monday. The Welsh team could be yet another side who just miss an automatic promotion and then fill in the play-offs - then again, Luton fans have suffered play-off heartache of their own in recent seasons and after their effective demotion from the League due to penal points deductions, the Hatters carry a lot of goodwill in the wider game.

The York City v Mansfield Town tie is poised at 1-1 after a tempestuous first leg in York. The Stags hold the advantage but York have been especially effective in knockout football this season and will fancy their chances in a winner take all game.

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Hugh Larkin

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