Fallen giants Leeds win promotion
Fallen giants Leeds United clinched automatic promotion to the Championship on Saturday after a 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers on a dramatic final day in League One. After three seasons in English football's third tier, Leeds scrambled the win they needed to finish one point ahead of third-placed Millwall, who defeated promotion rivals Swindon 3-2.
The Yorkshire club had missed out in the play-offs for the last two seasons, but Simon Grayson's side don't have to worry about the end-of-season lottery this time. The three-time champions of England, who were in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals just nine years ago, looked in danger of squandering promotion when Darryl Duff gave Rovers a 48th minute lead after winger Max Gradel had been sent off in the 34th minute for violent conduct.
But, in front of a 38,000 capacity crowd at Elland Road, substitute Jonny Howson equalised with a fine finish in the 59th minute before Jermaine Beckford struck four minutes later to put the hosts on course for promotion alongside champions Norwich.
Grayson said: "Going down to 10 men made it a difficult ask but we knew we would get opportunities, even when we went behind. We kept working, as we have done all season, and the players got their just rewards. It is a fantastic achievement and we will kick on from here."
Before Leeds's fightback, Millwall briefly looked set to finish second as they beat Swindon at The New Den thanks to Steve Morison's double and a Gordon Greer own goal, but they had to settle for third and a play-off meeting with sixth placed Huddersfield, who lost 2-1 at Exeter.
Millwall boss Kenny Jackett said: "It looked like events in Yorkshire were going to go our way but fair play to Leeds, they have done well to go up. In terms of us, I thought we did well to come back from a goal down and win. This was a great game with a terrific atmosphere and it sets us up nicely for the play-offs."
Swindon will meet Charlton in the play-offs after the Addicks' 2-0 win at Oldham secured fourth place. At the other end of the table, Gillingham joined Stockport, Southend and Wycombe in being relegated to League Two after a 3-0 loss at Wycombe.