Notice: Undefined offset: 8867 in /home2/thefirstnewspape/public_html/wp-includes/nav-menu-template.php on line 211

League One: Wigan and Rotherham promoted as AFC Wimbledon, Gillingham and Doncaster relegated

Split picture (l to r) of Rotherham United's Chiedozie Ogbene, Wigan Athletic manager Leam Richardson and Jordan Houghton of Plymouth Argyle
Wigan and Rotherham celebrated promotion, while there was disappointment for Plymouth as they missed out on the play-off places

The final day in League One had the title, all promotion and play-off spots up for grabs and three of the four relegation places to be decided.

Emotions were high with 12 clubs having everything to play for over 90 tense minutes.

In the end, for teams at the top and bottom of the table, the day finished almost as it started for those pursuing a place in the Championship and trying to avoid the drop to League Two.

Leaders Wigan Athletic sealed their return to the second tier as title winners, while Rotherham United went up as runners-up. They both finished their final games of the season where they started them.

Gillingham, Doncaster Rovers and AFC Wimbledon occupied the remaining relegation spots at kick-off and remained marooned there at full-time.

The biggest losers, both on the day and in the context of the season, were Plymouth, who dropped out of the play-off spots after being beaten 5-0 by MK Dons.

Wycombe beat Burton 2-1 to replace the Pilgrims in the top six, joining MK Dons, Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland – who were each in the top six at the start of the day – in the play-offs.

BBC Sport takes a closer look a the day’s winners and losers in England’s third tier.

Latics and Millers up, as MK Dons fall short

Thelo Aasgaard of Wigan Athletic celebrates with the League One trophy
Wigan return to the Championship after a two-year absence

Wigan needed only a point to return to the Championship two years after their relegation following a points penalty for going into administration.

They ended up with three and the title by beating Shrewsbury Town 3-0.

For Latics boss Leam Richardson, it was very much job done.

“People tipped us to be the best in the league after about the first and third game. They’ve been proven right, which is fantastic,” he told BBC Radio Manchester.

“If you’re true to yourself and you’ve got a good group of people and support network, the league table won’t lie and you’ll end up where you want to be.”

For Rotherham, who have yo-yoed between League One and the Championship for the past decade, it was another day of celebration after beating Gillingham 2-0.

“My honest emotion is relief. We’ve been in a good position for weeks and sometimes you feel like the Gods are against you,” manager Paul Warne said.

“I think today sums up the resilience of the players.”

MK Dons, who started the day one point adrift of the Millers in second, kept the pressure on Warne’s side after going ahead early and thrashing Plymouth.

Dons head coach Liam Manning said his players were “terrific” in their 5-0 drubbing of Argyle.

“I am so proud of what they did today,” he added.

“What’s important is that we don’t carry any emotions – that hangover you potentially get – into the play-offs. You don’t get too high or too low. We go again on Thursday.”

Manning’s side now face Wycombe over two semi-final play-off legs, while Wednesday take on Sunderland.

The Owls fell behind early on to Portsmouth but hit back to win 4-1, while Sunderland’s 1-0 triumph at Morecambe got them over the line and even got the Shrimpers off the relegation hook.

‘Gutted’ Plymouth miss play-offs

Scott Twine scores a free kick
Scott Twine scored four goals in MK Dons’ 5-0 win against Plymouth

Plymouth’s thrashing by MK Dons saw them tumble out of the play-off spots to be replaced by Wycombe despite amassing 80 points.

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher said he was “gutted” not to make the play-offs.

“I thought the players, over the course of the season, deserved to be there,” he added. “But today wasn’t our day.

“In the end we have been punished by moments of quality and we have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Plymouth’s collapse ended up being Wycombe’s gain as they sneaked into sixth place with victory at Burton.

“It’s job done and a new job to come,” said boss Gareth Ainsworth, who led the Chairboys to the Championship through the play-offs two seasons ago.

“I am so proud of the boys. The players stood up to the task. It’s not easy playing a team with nothing to lose.

“I always felt we could get in the play-offs and results went really well the other way for us but the boys had to do a job today and Burton put up a great fight.

“Wycombe Wanderers – we are in the play-offs. People wouldn’t have said that they fancied us to do that but I never stopped believing, the players never stopped believing and the fans didn’t stop believing either.”

Gills, Doncaster and Wimbledon go down

Rotherham United's Chiedozie Ogbene (centre) battle for the ball with Gillingham's Olly Lee
Gillingham failed to stop Rotherham from sealing promotion to save themselves from the drop

Morecambe started the day two points and two places above the relegation zone and needing to match or better the result of either Gillingham or Fleetwood to guarantee third-tier football next season.

And that they did, with fellow final-day escape artists Fleetwood beaten by Bolton and the Gills overcome by Rotherham and consigned to the drop.

Derek Adams, who, following an ill-fated spell at Bradford, was reappointed as Morecambe boss in February with the club 21st in the table and two points adrift of safety, said it was “terrific” to stay up.

“We can celebrate tonight,” he said. “It’s a bit difficult to celebrate avoiding relegation but we were in a difficult position when I came here.”

Gillingham manager Neil Harris told BBC Radio Kent that his side made “a good attempt” to stay up but had ultimately not been “good enough”.

“Ultimately I’m the manager of the football club, I take responsibility on behalf of the football club for letting our fans down this season,” he said.

“The standards, the professionalism and the recruitment hasn’t been good enough and we’ve paid the price.

“The standards next season will be miles better, I’ll have players with more professionalism, I’ll have leadership in my changing room, I’ll have more quality and we’ll have a right good go in League Two.”

Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Bowen told BBC Radio London that he does not “know if the future includes me at the helm” following relegation and added that talks with the club continue.

“I know this club has a positive future and unfortunately the club’s going to have to take a step back to come forwards stronger again,” he said.

“Whatever happens the club and I will have to make decisions soon to give the club every chance to set up the culture that you need and want to go forward.”

Compiled by BBC Sport’s Andrew Aloia

This file is for domain verification. copyright This file is for domain verification. copyright