Cherries clinch Championship crown

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Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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A dramatic final day in the Sky Bet Championship saw Bournemouth crowned champions and Brentford earn a play-off place.

The title looked destined for Watford, who prior to kick-off held a one-point lead at the top of the table, as they went into stoppage time 1-0 up at Vicarage Road against Sheffield Wednesday.

But, just as the Owls had pooped Bournemouth’s promotion party last month with a late equalising goal, they did so again – but on a much grander scale.

Atdhe Nuhiu’s shot looped agonisingly over Heurelho Gomes to cancel out Matej Vydra’s opening goal for Watford and it finished 1-1.

Bournemouth were already two goals ahead at Charlton by the time Vydra scored, with Matt Ritchie and Harry Arter getting the Cherries off to a flying start in London.

As news of Nuhiu’s equaliser began to filter through, Ritchie scored his second goal of the game and Eddie Howe’s men ended the season in style – as champions – with a 3-0 victory.

The race to fill the remaining two play-off places was just as enthralling.

Brentford, seventh at the start of the afternoon, eventually finished fifth in the table courtesy of a 3-0 win against relegated Wigan.

Alex Pritchard, Ramallo Jota and Andre Gray were on target, while James Tarkowski could even afford to see his last-minute penalty saved.

The Bees, who will play Middlesbrough in the play-offs, replaced Derby in the top six after the Rams capitulated at home to Reading.

Steve McClaren’s men, beaten at Wembley last season, made an awful start as Kwesi Appiah put the Royals ahead after two minutes.

Darren Bent saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Adam Federici just before half-time as Derby were denied a way back into the game. Michael Hector’s goal and a late Garath McCleary penalty condemned the Rams to a 3-0 defeat.

Ipswich were also beaten but, unlike Derby, managed to hold on to their play-off spot and face a East Anglia showdown with Norwich.

Daryl Murphy put Mick McCarthy’s team ahead in the second minute but Blackburn turned the match on its head with goals from Jordan Rhodes, Craig Conway and Rudy Gestede. Murphy replied for Ipswich from the penalty spot and a 3-2 loss was enough for the Tractor Boys.

Wolves won 4-2 at home to relegated Millwall but it was not enough and they missed out on the play-offs on goal difference.

Nouha Dicko’s double put the hosts in control and Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Bakary Sako were also on the scoresheet, while Aiden O’Brien and Jamie Philpot pulled goals back for Millwall.

It was also 4-2 at Carrow Road, where Norwich defeated Fulham.

Bradley Johnson, Nathan Redmond and Graham Dorrans put the Canaries in control. Matt Smith replied for Fulham before Bradley Johnson then scored at either end.

Nottingham Forest finished the campaign with another defeat as Joe Ralls and Eoin Doyle scored in Cardiff’s 2-1 win at the City Ground.

David Marshall was sent off for the Bluebirds before Dexter Blackstock halved Forest’s deficit late on.

A goal from Robert Tesche, on loan from Forest, saw Birmingham win 1-0 at Bolton, while elsewhere it was goalless between Middlesbrough and Brighton and Leeds and Rotherham, although, true to his word, Millers manager Steve Evans did turn up in his sombrero and beach-wear.

It was also 0-0 at Bloomfield Road between Blackpool and Huddersfield, when the match was abandoned at the start of the second half after home fans invaded the pitch and staged a protest against the Oyston family, who own the club.

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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