Southend United’s strong hopes of stealing Millwall’s play-off spot came to an end after Bristol Rovers failed to stop The Lions at the Memorial Stadium.
Where did Southend stand before the last game of the season?
The Shrimpers were one point behind Millwall, who stood in 6th. Their last game determined whether Southend or The Lions were qualifying for the League One play-offs next month. Rochdale were in 8th and had faint hopes for a chance to steal 6th place.
Millwall faced Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, whilst Southend hosted Bury.
Southend United 1-0 Bury
Stephen McLaughlin scored the only goal at Roots Hall. Bury were close to scoring an early opening goal, but Paul Caddis’ shot was just too wide. Simon Cox and Michael Timlin’s efforts also couldn’t meet the target. Yet, 22 minutes later, McLaughlin fired home into the bottom left corner, giving Southend the Lead.
The second half almost saw Southend double the score when Marc-Antoine Fortune’s attempt at a goal met the hands of Bury’s goalkeeper, Joe Murphy.
The full-time whistle blew and Southend were one step closer to stealing a play-off spot on the one condition that Millwall either lose or draw.
Bristol Rovers 3-4 Millwall
The Pirates had to give everything to prevent Millwall from securing their place in the play-offs. Lee Gregory’s volley opened the scoreboard just 5 minutes into kick-off. The Pirates were looking for an equaliser but their efforts were not giving them the results they wanted.
The Lions doubled their advantage when Steve Morison’s corner met Tony Craig who tapped the ball into the net.
Rovers challenged the leaders after Billy Bodin’s deflected shot off the post allowed Jermaine Easter to rifle home and score the first goal for Bristol Rovers. Gregory gave The Lions the greater advantage of a win with his second goal of the game after meeting an impressive cross from Morison, two minutes after Rovers’ opening goal.
As half-time was catching up at the Memorial Stadium, The Pirates fought back once again when Chris Lines’ rocket shot put the hosts one goal down from equalising.
Billy Bodin put pressure on Neil Harris’ men when Byron Moore was given the free-kick for the home side. Bodin was to take from 30 yards out and smashed it past Jordan Archer.
Shaun Hutchinson made it four for The Lions with 6 minutes left in the second half. Hutchinson rose above the defenders where he met Shane Ferguson’s corner and headed home, pushing Millwall’s hopes back up where they maintain their position in the league.
What’s going on in the top 6?
Bolton Wanderers join Sheffield United in the Championship next season after a 3-0 victory. Fleetwood, Bradford, Scunthorpe and Millwall have all qualified for a chance to join the two automatic promotion champions next season.
The play-off dates are below:
League One Semi-Finals A & B first legs: 4 May at 7.45pm
League One Semi-Finals A & B second legs: 7 May at 6.30pm
League One Play-Off Final: 20 May at 3pm, Wembley Stadium.