In the battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, both Charlie Patino and Omar Rekik saw their sides claim huge victories as the season enters the final fortnight.
Patino helped Blackpool to a huge win in their bid to avoid the drop as they claimed a 1-0 triumph at Auston Trusty’s Birmingham City. Ian Poveda’s strike was enough to hand Blackpool their first away win since October, with caretaker boss Stephen Dobbie playing Charlie for the full game, on what was his 35th appearance of the season.
They are now three points from safety with two games remaining, one place and one point above Rekik’s Wigan Athletic who kept their slim chances of staying up alive by beating Millwall 2-1, with our defender playing 66 minutes.
At the other end of the division, Brooke Norton-Cuffy’s Coventry City leapt back into the play-off places with a 2-1 success over Reading, stretching their unbeaten run to eight games. Brooke came on in the 58 minute at the Coventry Building Society Arena as he aims to play his part in their promotion campaign over the coming weeks.
However Marquinhos was missing from the Norwich City matchday squad as they were well-beaten 3-0 by Swansea City, leaving them 11th in the table and three points off the play-offs.
Elsewhere in the Football League, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji featured for the final 13 minutes of Accrington Stanley’s 1-0 loss at Portsmouth, denting their hopes of staying in League One. They still have a chance of survival though, as they’re just three points from safety with three games still to play.
In a huge game at the foot of League Two, Taylor Foran and Mazeed Ogungbo remained on the bench as the latter’s Crawley Town claimed a big 2-0 win, to move six points clear of their rivals with two games to go. One team who can breathe a sigh of relief that they’ll remain in the division next term is Colchester United, for whom Tom Smith couldn’t quite claim a fourth clean sheet in a row, but still saw his team win 4-1 at Sutton United.
In the National League, Tim Akinola’s Chesterfield lost 2-0 to Bromley, but the Spireites’ spot in the play-offs was already guaranteed.
In European action, Arthur Okonkwo’s Sturm Graz missed the chance to cut the gap between them and Red Bull Salzburg at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga as they lost 2-0 at home to the league leaders. There are six rounds still to play, but Arthur’s side now trail their closest rivals by five points.
Over in France 1, Folarin Balogun’s Reims lost for the second game in succession as they were beaten 2-0 by Strasbourg with our striker playing the full 90 as their hopes of clinching an unlikely European campaign faded, while Nuno Tavares and Nicolas Pepe both missed Marseille and Nice’s matches through injury.
Pablo Mari’s Monza followed up their shock 1-0 win at Inter Milan by recovering from 2-0 down to beat Fiorentina 3-2 to climb to 12th in Serie A, and virtually achieve safety, while in Finland, Ovie Ejeheri kept his second consecutive clean sheet to help SJV to remain unbeaten from their opening three games of the league season as they drew 0-0 with FC Lahti.
Meanwhile, Nikolaj Moller had an eventful 16 minutes after being introduced from the bench for Den Bosch, as he scored the only goal of the game to beat Roda JC and claim their first win in five Eerste Divisie games, before picking up two bookings in the final few minutes to be dismissed.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.