Derby County have been relegated from the Championship after a 1-0 defeat at QPR on Easter Monday was coupled with Reading‘s remarkable comeback from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 with swansea.
Luke Amos scored the only goal of the game in west London with just two minutes to go to condemn Wayne Rooney’s side to defeat and a first season in the third tier since 1985-86. But their fate was only sealed by a stunning second-half fightback from the Royals at the Madejski, where Swansea led 3-1 at half-time and 4-1 at the hour mark.
Tom Ince started the comeback, Lucas João made it 4-3 and Tom McIntyre scored the equalizer deep into stoppage time.
Rooney wants to bring Derby back up from League One but stressed the club’s future rests on the completion of a takeover, after the Rams were deducted 21 points this season after going into administration.
Rooney told Sky Sports News: “I’ve never seen a team relegated and the crowd react like they did today. You can see what it means to the fans. This is a special club and I want to be the one to bring the happy days back.”
Derby’s joint administrators have named Chris Kirchner as the preferred bidder for the club and entered a period of exclusivity aimed at ending a protracted takeover process.
“We need the takeover to happen quickly,” added Rooney, who has recently been linked with the vacant job at Burnley. “We know what league we’ll be in next season now and we can get the players in. If the takeover doesn’t happen, the club’s future is in doubt and my future’s in doubt.”
Accounting breaches under the previous owner Mel Morris added a further nine points to the standard 12-point administration penalty, and without the combined deduction Rooney’s side would be comfortably safe in 17th on 52 points.
“I feel for the players more because (without the points deductions) we’d be safe now,” Rooney continued. “We’ve paid the price for what the previous owner has left behind. It’s no-one’s fault – not mine, not the players or the staff – but we’re paying the price.”
Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest maintained hopes of automatic promotion with a 4-0 defeat of 10-man West Brom at the City Ground. Brennan Johnson’s 19th-minute penalty put Forest on their way after Darnell Furlong had been sent off for two bookable offenses. Ryan Yates, Jack Colback and Sam Surridge sealed Forest’s sixth win in seven games, leaving leaders Fulham needing to beat Preston on Tuesday to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Luton tightened their grip on a playoff spot with a 1-0 win over Cardiff in South Wales. Harry Cornick came off the bench to score the goal, making it a very happy Easter for the Hatters, who beat play-off rivals Nottingham Forest 1-0 on Good Friday, and keeping them in fourth place.
blackburn‘s playoff hopes, on the other hand, are hanging by a thread after a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke. Jacob Brown’s solitary strike did the damage as he combined with Josh Maja in the fourth minute to score his 13th goal of the season.
Morgan Gibbs-White kept Sheffield United‘s play-off bid on course with a second-half equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Bristol City. The home side took a 49th minute lead when Antoine Semenyo broke down the left and crossed the ball low for Chris Martin to fire home from close range. But United equalized on the hour when City goalkeeper Dan Bentley saved a low shot from Enda Stevens only for Gibbs-White to acrobatically volley in the rebound from eight yards.
Scott Malone’s freakish second-half goal helped Millwall to a 2-1 win against hull at The Den to boost their playoff hopes. Malone made it 1-0 after 51 minutes when Richie Smallwood’s clearance rebounded off him into the net, before Tom Bradshaw doubled the lead four minutes later. But the game was far from over as Tom Eaves scored an 86th-minute consolation to make the home fans sweat.
Dominic Solanke scored twice as Bournemouth edged closer to sealing automatic promotion with a 3-0 win at Coventrywhile at the bottom peterborough gave themselves a lifeline with a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley.