This is it. The final day of the Sky Bet League 2 season is upon us, with the final relegation spot and the fight for the title to be decided by 5pm tomorrow evening.
The fight to survive goes down to wire with a crunch game taking place at Plainmoor, where already-relegated Torquay United host second-from-bottom Wycombe Wanderers. The hosts’ relegation was confirmed despite winning at Mansfield Town last weekend, a second successive win, but will want to finish a disappointing season on a high against Gareth Ainsworth’s side, who know only a win gives them a chance of avoiding the drop. They will need help from Oxford United and Mansfield though, who travel to Northampton Town and Bristol Rovers respectively, with both the latter teams just three points above the drop zone. The Cobbler’s inferior goal difference gives hope to Wycombe, but they go into the game knowing that their destiny is not in their own hands. All they can do is win and hope Northampton or Bristol Rovers lose.
The race for the title also goes down to the last day, with all three promoted sides looking to add the League Two trophy to their cabinets. In pole position are Chesterfield, whose win over Burton Albion last time out sent them top, and they know a victory over fourth placed Fleetwood Town at the Proact Stadium will see them finish top of the pile. Fleetwood will definitely finish fourth after an excellent season under Graham Alexander, and they would love to stretch their seven match unbeaten run going into the end of season play-offs.
Rochdale are behind Chesterfield only on goal difference, so Keith Hill’s men will be waiting in the wings if the Spireites slip-up. Dale travel to Newport County, a side who have had a solid season back in the Football League after a three season absence, looking for a third win in a row which may see them clinch the title.
The third of that trio playing their trade in League One next season are Scunthorpe United, who a point further back need to better the results of both Rochdale and Chesterfield to win the title. Russ Wilcox suffered his first league defeat at the helm against Exeter last week, but remains unbeaten at Glanford Park since taking over in November. They host a York City side whose resurgence in the second half of the season saw them climb into the play-off places. Their unbeaten run of 16 games is a remarkable achievement from Nigel Worthington’s men, and they would love to maintain that run going into their play-off campaign.
Burton Albion are fifth and know a victory over fellow play-off contenders Southend United will secure them fifth spot, although success for Phil Brown’s men will see them leapfrog the Brewers. Ninth-place Plymouth Argyle will look to secure a top ten finish with victory at Portsmouth, who themselves know a sixth win in seven matches would lift them above the Pilgrims. Bury are tenth after an excellent finish to the season, and David Flitcroft’s men travel to Morecambe, who secured their Football League status with a 3-0 win at AFC Wimbledon last weekend. Exeter City are a place below Morecambe in 20th, but victory on the final day at Hartlepool United could see them as high as 14th come the end of play. The home side endured a torrid run of six straight defeats before beating Morecambe and then drawing with Plymouth, results which were enough to ensure they remain in the fourth tier next season. Accrington Stanley host AFC Wimbledon at the Crown Ground with a point separating the two sides in the table, whilst Dagenham and Redbridge’s hopes of securing a top ten finish hinge on whether they can win at Mark Yates’ Cheltenham Town, who themselves can finish in the top half.
Although some things have already been decided, there’s still plenty of football to be played in the final game of the season. That final relegation spot must be decided tomorrow, with the cruelty of goal difference the possible key decision-maker, whilst at the other end, one of Chesterfield, Rochdale or Scunthorpe will be holding aloft the League Two trophy. It has been a fantastically unpredictable and exciting season in League Two, and I’m sure the last day will follow suit.