MK Dons promoted as Crawley, Orient and Notts County demoted from League One
Last Updated: 04/05/15 2:02pm
Milton Keynes Dons will join Bristol City in the Championship next season while Leyton Orient, Notts County and Crawley drop into the bottom tier with Yeovil after a nerve-shredding afternoon of entertainment in League One.
MK Dons, who have never played in the second tier of English football, routed Yeovil 5-1 while George Moncur's 82nd-minute strike condemned Preston to defeat at Colchester - sending North End into the play-offs and catapulting the Us to safety in the process.
When the dust settled at the bottom, County dropped into the bottom four as they conceded twice in added time at Gillingham to slip to a 3-1 defeat while Orient drew 2-2 against 10-man Swindon and Crawley went down 2-1 at home against Coventry City.
Preston - who were relinquishing an 18-match unbeaten run - will face Chesterfield in the play-off semi-final on Thursday 7 May after the Spireites drew 1-1 at Sheffield United, who will face Swindon Town in the other semi-final for a place at Wembley on 24 May. Champions Bristol City finished off their campaign in style with an 8-2 rout of Walsall, Aden Flint claiming a hat-trick.
After a goalless first-half at the Colchester Community Stadium, Preston goalkeeper Sam Johnstone brought down Moncur in the box but Chris Porter lifted the resultant penalty over the bar. Preston, needing to match the MK Dons result to guarantee promotion, spurned several gilt-edged opportunities before Moncur made them pay, latching on to a knock-down to fire home the winner.
MK Dons usurped North End with a convincing win over Yeovil, taking their goal tally for the season to 101. Carl Baker's 10th goal of the season put them ahead after seven minutes and Dean Lewington doubled the advantage on 24 minutes with a sweetly struck free-kick. Darren Potter and Will Grigg - with his 20th of the season - both got in on the act before half-time to extend the advantage. Jordan Spence's own goal on 56 gave Yeovil a consolation before Lewington headed in the fifth for the home side to spark ecstatic celebrations.
Graham Burke got the opening goal for Notts County at Gillingham with a thundering left-foot strike on the hour mark - and they would have been safe had they been able to hold onto that lead; but John Egan scored two minutes from time for Gillingham before Brennan Dickenson and Luke Norris bagged injury-time goals to rub salt in the County wounds.
Coventry missed a penalty in the first-half of their game at Crawley, Brian Jensen saving from Nick Proschwitz, and Crawley went in front shortly after the break courtesy of Mathias Pogba's towering header. But Marcus Tudgay's header (73) restored parity and James Maddison grabbed the winner in the final minute to seal the home side's demotion.
Leyton Orient had a golden chance to forge ahead at Swindon when Tyrell Belford was sent off for clattering Lloyd James and the substitute goalkeeper - Tyrell's brother Cameron - saved James' spot-kick. But Dean Cox had the away end jumping when he opened the scoring five minutes before the break, keeping his head to slot home after a defensive howler. Chris Dagnall (47) crashed home the second goal for the O's before Anton Rodgers pulled one back and Andy Williams' 86th-minute penalty secured a point for the 10-men although, in light of other results, a win would not have secured survival for Orient.
Crewe fell behind when Billy Clarke put Bradford ahead midway through the first-half with a low left-foot drive from 14 yards but they survived despite the 1-0 defeat thanks to results elsewhere.
Sheffield United led Chesterfield through Marc McNulty at Bramall Lane but Chesterfield levelled it up on 51 minutes thanks to Ian Evatt, meaning the home side will face Swindon in their play-off first leg on Thursday.
At a goal-laden Ashton Gate, Jordy Hiwula put Walsall ahead but Flint (16) equalised for champions Bristol City and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas' penalty put the hosts in front but Hiwula again hit back. But four goals in 11 madcap second-half minutes got the party started, Kieran Agard, Marlon Pack, Emmanuel-Thomas and Flint getting in on the act to make it 6-2 before Flint claimed the match ball with his third of the afternoon and Agard rounded off the scoring in added time.
There were also plenty of goals at Oakwell, where Barnsley beat 10-man Rochdale 5-0, and the Keepmoat Stadium, where Doncaster defeated local rivals Scunthorpe 5-2, with Nathan Tyson netting a hat-trick for Rovers. Elsewhere, Fleetwood won 2-1 at Port Vale and Oldham and Peterborough shared the points in a 1-1 draw.