It was a full fixture list on Good Friday for the Football League, which saw some surprise results as the season is drawing to it’s conclusion.
5) Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 Preston North End
The hosts took the lead when Atdhe Nuhiu headed in from Jack Hunt’s cross before Lucas Joao quickly doubled their advantage with a looping header over visiting keeper Declan Rudd.
Preston got back in it when Louis Moult prodded in Daniel Johnson’s low cross.
The Owls wrapped up the win in injury time, with Nuhiu scoring a fine curling effort and Fernando Forestieri adding a fine free-kick.
A second successive victory moved Jos Luhukay’s side 11 points clear of the bottom three.
4) Plymouth Argyle 4-0 Southend United
Plymouth moved back into League One’s top six with a comprehensive win over mid-table Southend thanks to two goals apiece from Ruben Lameiras and Graham Carey.
Lameiras opened the scoring, finishing off a brilliant passing move by steering a low shot past United keeper Mark Oxley after being teed up by target man Ryan Taylor.
Simon Cox missed a golden opportunity to level when Argyle keeper Remi Matthews could only parry Dru Yearwood’s thumping 30-yard drive into his path.
Southend would rue that miss as within a minute as Carey fired promotion-chasing Plymouth two goals ahead with an audacious, deflected strike from the right of the box that flew up and over Oxley and in.
Carey doubled his tally and extended Argyle’s lead in the when he swept in Oscar Threlkeld’s pinpoint cross from the byline.
He missed an opportunity for a hat-trick when substitute Joel Grant won a penalty after John White’s foul, Carey’s rising spot-kick flying off the top of the crossbar.
It was left to Lameiras to make it 4-0 late on when he pounced as Oxley failed to hold Grant’s strike.
3) – Barnet 2-1 Crewe Alexandra
Akinde put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot in the 51st minute but they were pegged back in the 71st minute when George Ray looped a header to the back post and McKirdy was able to steer it in.
The match appeared to be heading for a draw but in the 87th minute the Bees won their second penalty of the match and Akinde made no mistake from the spot to revive Barnet’s League Two survival hopes.
2) – Rochdale 3-1 Shrewsbury
Relegation-threatened Rochdale ran out winners against promotion-chasing Shrewsbury in a game that ended in controversy at Spotland.
Shrewsbury raced into an early lead when Nathan Thomas turned Harrison McGahey and raced clear to fire past Josh Lillis.
But the visitors’ momentum was broken when Toto Nsiala was stretchered off with a suspected fractured cheekbone following an accidental clash of heads with Stephen Humphrys.
Dale levelled deep into the resultant 12 minutes of time added on at the end of the first half, Oliver Rathbone firing wide of Dean Henderson. The hosts then took the lead in the second half when Steven Davies hooked a brilliant overhead kick into the roof of the net.
Referee Clark awarded Shrewsbury a spot-kick in time added on when Jim McNulty challenged Shaun Whalley – only to change his mind and award a corner after consulting his linesman.
From the resulting set-piece and, with Town keeper Henderson having joined the attack, his namesake Ian Henderson broke away to fire into an empty net.
1) – Derby County 1-4 Sunderland
Sunderland exploited defensive errors by Derby to win at Pride Park and move off the bottom of the Championship.
George Honeyman’s shot deflected in off Craig Forsyth for the opener, before Ashley Fletcher pounced on a loose Richard Keogh pass to make it 2-0. But Matej Vydra’s half-volleyed finish reduced the deficit before half-time.
Aiden McGeady’s penalty restored the two-goal lead after Forsyth fouled Lynden Gooch, and John O’Shea poked in a fourth after a goalmouth scramble. The veteran defender’s first club goal for more than four years helped Sunderland move within three points of safety with seven matches remaining.
It was only the second victory of 2018 for Chris Coleman’s side, a result which ended a winless run of 10 games and took them above Burton, who lost to Cardiff earlier on Friday.