With the international break on the horizon, it’s time for teams to set their cards on the table as we look towards the final stretch.
This weekend was that final hurdle before the sprint to the finish that is the final weeks of the season, so here are your award winners.
FANS OF THE WEEKEND: Brighton and Hove Albion
We tend to see big crowds whenever someone visits Stadium MK and it was no different this weekend as Brighton and Hove Albion brought 7,034 fans to Milton Keynes.
They were rewarded with a solid 2-1 win, courtesy of a Tomer Hemed double and thanks to the home side missing a late penalty. That three points sends Chris Hughton’s men into the automatic promotion places and the Seagulls have quietly put together a late push that could beat everyone to the promised land.
With a following like that, it’s clear that the fans clearly realise that this could be a very special season. Teams are falling all over themselves at the top of the Championship table and Brighton are primed to take full advantage.
GOAL OF THE WEEKEND: Jake Reeves – AFC Wimbledon
Well, when you concede a super goal to lose a game, you just have to take the hit on the chin and when a goal like Jake Reeves’ at the weekend flies in, you just have to applaud it.
The 22-year-old hit a wonder strike from 30 yards out that looped right into the top corner, almost impossible for the York City goalkeeper to keep out. It’s an absolute beauty of a goal, the kind that you would have imagined in your dreams but would never believe you would get to pull off in an actual game.
With it, Wimbledon won their first game in six which keeps them in touch in the race for the final playoff place. There is just a three point gap and if they can find more moments of magic like this one, they have a real chance of upsetting the odds.
MOMENT OF THE WEEKEND: Fleetwood Town’s own goal
A classic comedy goal that no Fleetwood Town fan will be laughing at, a veteran of the old football DVDs at Christmas, the misjudged header back to the goalkeeper.
The Cod Army were well in a battle against high-flying Barnsley until defender Joe Davis did not double check where his goalkeeper stood as he lobbed a header backwards, over him and into the goal.
Chris Maxwell can’t escape the blame, he comes way too far off his line without properly communicating and is left in no-man’s land as he helplessly watches it drift over his head and into his net. A disappointing result that means Fleetwood will have to keep looking over their shoulder in the run-up to the end of the season.
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Stevenage 2-3 Northampton Town
A comeback that really sums up just how good Northampton Town have been this season as they come back from two goals down to beat Stevenage 3-2 at Broadway Hall.
Luke Wilkinson’s two headed goals gave the home side the lead within the first half but James Collins repaid his manager’s faith after his exploits at Cheltenham in midweek by pulling one back just before the break. Jon Joe O’Toole levelled for the league leaders before Stevenage’s Fraser Franks was sent off and Ricky Holmes scored a blinder to seal the win in added time.
Another victory that nudges them ever closer to promotion, it’s slowly becoming a case of not if but when the Cobblers will be plying their trade in League One next season.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND: Sulley Kaikai – Shrewsbury Town
Shrewsbury Town have sprung into life in recent weeks and not for the first time this season, they have 20-year-old Sulley Kaikai to thank for that.
The young striker scored twice but his teammates could not hold on to the lead he had given them, leaving Gigg Lane with a 2-2 draw. That’s nothing to be ashamed of against a solid Bury side and as any of their fans will tell you, all the points at this stage of the season help.
The Crystal Palace loanee has made a real impact in his two loan spells and his contributions have helped the Shrews climb out and stay well clear of the dropzone. If they stay up, they’ll certainly thank Kaikai for the assist.
PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND: Callum O’Dowda – Oxford United
When the other teams below them stumbled, Oxford United needed a hero and Callum O’Dowda answered the call to help his side pick up a valuable 3-0 win against Barnet, a place a lot of teams have left without any points this season.
O’Dowda was a consistent threat and showed that in the two goals he scored, even if his second was a little bit greedy. However, if you’re going to tuck them away, no one cares how greedy you are and the 20-year-old
Oxford finally look like they along with Northampton are making a break for it in the automatic promotion places. When gaps grow at this stage of the season, they can be so difficult to overhaul and the U’s must see the finish line in the distance now.
TEAM OF THE WEEKEND: Bristol City
Just when you need that extra boost for your survival bid, especially with teams below you picking up points, Bristol City really needed a big performance and a big win against Bolton Wanderers. Thankfully for their supporters, they got both.
A 6-0 thumping at Ashton Gate, complimented by six different goalscorers, helped them pick up the three points against the managerless bottom side. They were swashbuckling at times, looking like they could score with every attack and they limited a hapless Bolton to no shots on target in the first half.
A top performance just when Lee Johnson would have wanted it, that should give the Robins some breathing space heading into the international break. With a -point gap opening up to the relegation places, City will be hopeful that they are now strong enough to avoid an immediate return to League One.