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Sunday, June 26, 2022

League One: Wigan promotion party on hold as Portsmouth stage comeback | League One

Wigan Athletic’s promotion champagne was dramatically put back on ice as Portsmouth completed a remarkable comeback to win 3-2 at Fratton Park.

The League One leaders would have secured automatic promotion by avoiding defeat, and led 2-0 at half-time with goals from Callum Lang and Will Keane. But Pompey rallied, with George Hirst striking twice inside three second-half minutes before substitute Aiden O’Brien fired home an 87th-minute winner.

Second-placed Rotherham could not take full advantage as defender Michael Ihiekwe scored at both ends in a 1-1 draw at play-off chasers Sunderland. Ihiekwe had headed the visitors into a 17th-minute lead, but with the Millers poised to take top spot away from Wigan, he turned the ball into his own net with just two minutes to play.

Michael Ihiekwe scored at both ends for Rotherham at the Stadium of Light.
Michael Ihiekwe scored at both ends for Rotherham at the Stadium of Light. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

Wigan will now head into Saturday’s final day trip to Shrewsbury two points clear of Rotherham, who visit relegation-threatened Gillingham. The Latics are three better off than third-placed MK Dons, who visit sixth-placed Plymouth, and have a six-goal advantage on goal difference.

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Exeter secure promotion to League One

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Exeter City have sealed promotion to League One after fighting back from a goal down to beat Barrow 2-1 at St James Park. The captain, Matt Jay (pictured), struck the winner 12 minutes from time, after Kieran Phillips had cancelled out an early Cameron Dawson own goal.

The Grecians will return to the third tier for the first time since 2011-12, but below them the race for the third automatic promotion spot is incredibly tight. Mansfield beat Stevenage 2-0 to go fifth, just one point behind third-placed Northampton with two games to play. 

Alistair Smith’s double helped Sutton stay seventh, three points behind Northampton, as they beat Crawley 2-1, while Swindon boosted their hopes of snatching a play-off spot with a 2-1 home win over already-promoted Forest Green, Louie Barry getting a goal and assist.

Photograph: Phil Mingo/Rex Features

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Lee Gregory’s hat-trick helped Sheffield Wednesday climb into fourth place after a 3-2 win at Fleetwood. Gregory’s fourth-minute opener got the visitors off to the perfect start, but they found themselves trailing 2-1 at the break when Callum Camps and then Joe Garner struck. The Owls forward was not to be denied, scoring twice in quick succession to earn a vital win before Wednesday host Portsmouth in their final game.

The defeat for Fleetwood means that Doncaster and Wimbledon keep their survival hopes alive until the final day. Rovers’ hopes are purely mathematical, however, while Wimbledon need a seven-goal swing to catch Fleetwood, who stay level on points with Gillingham and face a trip to Bolton on the final day.

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