Thursday 26 April 2018

Keane key as Bhoys end well Wickham nets in low-key tie Ledley books play-off berth Lynch eases St Pat's through Nelson heads Norwich home Rochdale and County go up

Robbie Keane started the scoring but Celtic needed Morten Rasmussen's 87th-minute winner to take a giant step towards securing a Champions League place as they came from behind to beat Hibernian at Parkhead.

Keane netted his 13th Celtic goal in the fourth minute. Much later, Rasmussen flicked home Marc-Antoine Fortune's low cross shortly after the former Nancy striker had levelled the scores. Hibs had been heading for their second victory at Celtic Park this season after Anthony Stokes netted a penalty early in the second half.

But the turnaround took Celtic 10 points ahead of Dundee United in second spot and stops Rangers from being able to clinch the title against Hearts at Ibrox today.

Wickham nets in low-key tie

Ipswich and Doncaster took a share of the spoils in a low-key end-of-season tie in the Championship at Portman Road.

It was a drab affair that seemed destined for a goalless draw for much of the game until Connor Wickham capitalised on some poor Doncaster defending to put Ipswich ahead with 18 minutes to go. But the home side's lead did not last long as Doncaster earned a point when Dean Shiels converted a penalty he had earned in the last 10 minutes.

The draw sees Roy Keane's side extend their impressive home form of just one defeat in their last 17 games and is a club-record 19th draw this term.

Ledley books play-off berth

Joe Ledley guaranteed Cardiff's spot in the play-offs with the only goal of the game against QPR.

Last season's dramatic collapse was still fresh in Cardiff memories, when they picked up just one point from their last four games to miss out on the play-offs by a single goal. This time round Dave Jones's side are assured of a shot at Wembley and the Premier League with two games to spare.

Ledley has suffered an injury-hit season and only recently returned to action following a double hip operation. But he picked the perfect time to score his third goal of the campaign, tucking away Mark Kennedy's cross neatly with 10 minutes remaining.

Lynch eases St Pat's through

St Pat's eased into the final of the Setanta Sports Cup with a 2-1 defeat of Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds yesterday evening.

Trailing 4-1 from the first leg, Rovers gave themselves some hope when Conor O'Grady scored after 10 minutes. But goals either side of the break from Paul Byrne and Damian Lynch proved to be enough and saw the visitors go through 6-2 on aggregate.

Sligo: Brush, Ventre, Peers, Keane, Davoren (Whelan 50), McCabe (Dillon 62), O'Grady, Ryan, Doyle (Marshall 62), Amond, Blinkhorn.

St Pat's: Connor, Pender, Kenna, Guthrie, Lynch, McAllister, Mulcahy, S Byrne (Coughlan 80), Guy, P Byrne (Williams 63), Faherty (Sinnott 78).

Ref: T Moutray.

Nelson heads Norwich home

Defender Michael Nelson headed Norwich into the Championship with the only goal in their victory at Charlton yesterday.

Nelson scored the winner at the same ground where the Canaries were relegated last year when he headed in Simon Lappin's corner, and goalkeeper Fraser Forster made several fine saves to deny Nicky Forster and Deon Burton.

Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Gillingham put a dent in Leeds' promotion push with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Priestfield Stadium. Adam Miller and Mark Bentley put the Gills 2-0 up and Richard Naylor's own goal made it three before Luciano Becchio cut the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

Jermaine Beckford's 87th-minute penalty set up an exciting finale but the West Yorkshire side were unable to find a late equaliser.

Swindon were unable to take advantage, though they closed to within two points of Leeds with a 1-1 draw against Walsall. Steve Jones's put the Saddlers ahead a minute before half-time but Charlie Austin equalised 10 minutes into the second period.

Rochdale and County go up

Rochdale and Notts County both secured promotion on a decisive day at the top of League Two.

County have had a turbulent season at boardroom level and have had four managers along the way, but are unbeaten since Steve Cotterill's appointment in February and secured their elevation with a 4-1 triumph at home to Morecambe.

The Millers were held to a goalless draw by Cheltenham, putting third-placed Bournemouth eight points clear and on the brink of promotion after a 2-0 win over Darlington.

Sunday Independent

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