Bernardo Silva made amends for his midweek penalty miss as holders Manchester City returned to the FA Cup final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Silva badly fluffed his lines as City were agonisingly knocked out of the Champions League on penalties by Real Madrid on Wednesday but he was the match winner as they bounced back at Wembley.

The Portugal international turned home the only goal of a tight encounter six minutes from time to keep alive City’s hopes of retaining the domestic double.

Chelsea were left to rue wasting a host of chances, with Nicolas Jackson particularly culpable, on what proved a bad day for the Senegal forward in front of goal. The Londoners were also frustrated not to be awarded a penalty.

City, without the injured Erling Haaland, were not at their best – perhaps still feeling the effects of their draining encounter with Real.

With former City midfielder Cole Palmer instrumental, Chelsea made most of the running.

Palmer played in Jackson early on but his shot was too easy for Stefan Ortega.

City’s first opportunity came as Kevin De Bruyne slipped in Phil Foden with an inch-perfect pass but he went too wide attempting to go round Djordje Petrovic and Chelsea escaped.

Pep Guardiola’s side had a huge let-off when Jackson raced clear from an Enzo Fernandez long ball. Jackson only had Ortega to beat but he hesitated on the edge of the area and failed to shoot or go round the goalkeeper.

City were caught out again when Malo Gusto escaped down the right but he could not pick out Jackson in the centre. Palmer also dug out a chance for himself with some neat footwork but did not get any power on his shot.

At the other end, Marc Cucurella cleared off the line after Silva got on the end of a Jack Grealish cross but the flag was then raised.

Jackson failed to deliver again early in the second half after breaking clear in the area but shooting tamely at Ortega. The ball came back to him as Palmer whipped in a cross but his header was weak and straight at Ortega.

City had another let-off when a Palmer free-kick struck the arm of Grealish. The contact was missed by referee Michael Oliver, with Chelsea’s frustration at not getting a penalty compounded by the official awarding a goalkick.

Jackson also wanted a spot-kick after going down following a race with Kyle Walker but nothing was given.

Grealish suffered a heavy blow to the knee in a challenge from Felipe Caicedo and was withdrawn moments later. The England international voiced his frustration to the officials as he left the field, maybe suggesting Caicedo – already on a booking – should have been dealt with more severely.

Grealish’s replacement Jeremy Doku made a lively entrance and immediately tested Petrovic.

As time wore on, the game became a test of City’s resolve and the lively Doku made a notable difference.

He was involved as the deadlock was finally broken, playing in fellow Belgian De Bruyne with a clever ball. De Bruyne pulled the ball back across goal and a deflection took it into the path of Silva, who made no mistake.

It was a sweet moment for the Portuguese, who celebrated vigorously out of relief and joy.

There was no way back for Chelsea as City, befitting their champion status, held out.

Hull boss Liam Rosenior saw Daniel Bachmann dent the Tigers’ play-off hopes – then heaped praise on the Watford keeper after the 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road.

Bachmann saved Ozan Tufan’s 11th-minute penalty to rob City of vital points in their push for the top six.

Rosenior spared Tufan any criticism for the miss, insisting Bachmann deserved all the credit for keeping City at bay.

The manager said: “Their keeper was magnificent. You just have to hold your hands up. There was the penalty stop and three or four other world-class saves.

“But no blame on Ozan. He’s been brilliant all season. He’s brave and he will take the next penalty.

“I was pleased with the response of the whole group after that. We never gave up until the final whistle. I can’t fault this group – I’m so proud of them.

“The players worked themselves into the ground and never gave up. They’re a credit to this club and a credit to the shirt.”

Hull continue their quest for the top six on Wednesday away to FA Cup semi-finalists Coventry.

They lie six points behind sixth-placed Norwich having played a game less and Rosenior added: “Norwich dropped points today and they will be as flat as we are.”

Turkish forward Tufan, rejected by Watford in 2022 after a loan spell, faced a barrage of abuse as he prepared to take the kick in front of the home end.

Watford’s defenders also encroached as they complained that the ball was not on the spot.

But Austrian stopper Bachmann remained calm and dived low to his left to save.

Watford interim boss Tom Cleverley, beaten just once in his seven games in charge, restored Bachmann to the team when he took over last month.

He said: “I don’t know how much homework has gone into that or whether Dan dived into the archives of penalties against us, but it was a fantastic save.

“He showed his real worth today. I knew his worth from playing alongside him for all those years – not only on the pitch but in the dressing room.

“He’s massive for me. He’s come in for some unfair criticism but we have full belief in him and we know how important he is to the squad.”

But Cleverley was not happy with a Watford performance that saw the Hornets fail to get a shot on target in the first 60 minutes.

They have not won at home in the league since November 28 – 12 matches – and Cleverley said: “We were flat for an hour. We need to make things happen, not wait for them to happen.

“I must change the mentality. From the first minute we must grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

“But we’ve played five of the top seven and we’ve made them all work hard to get points off us.”

Birmingham interim manager Gary Rowett was left frustrated after his side were held to a 0-0 draw at Rotherham.

The result edged the Blues two points clear of the Championship relegation zone but it was a missed opportunity to move closer to safety against the already-relegated Rotherham.

Steve Evans was back in the home dugout following his shock midweek return following the sacking of Leam Richardson and he will have been pleased with the spirited display which kicked off his second stint as Millers’ boss.

Play was stopped for more than half an hour after nine minutes of the first period when referee Keith Stroud was alerted to a medical emergency in the home stand, with the supporter being taken to hospital after receiving treatment.

The game lacked quality following the restart but burst into life in the closing stages, with Birmingham’s Jay Stansfield having an effort ruled out for offside.

Rowett said: “It was an attritional game. The way that Rotherham are going to be set up, you know they’re going to be very direct and play for second balls and make it difficult to get out.

“I thought it was difficult to find any rhythm. It was a tough game.

“The first half was a non-event. Second half was a little bit better, we just needed those moments of quality to open the game up. Sometimes we did that without finding an end to it and sometimes we lacked composure.”

On Stansfield’s disallowed goal, Rowett added: “There is a player in or around the goalkeeper. There is about 15 but one is in an offside position. I don’t think he saves it anyway. It does not impact the keeper’s vision. He hits it so hard and low and wide of the keeper that he isn’t going to save it.”

Birmingham lead third-bottom Huddersfield by two points and they travel to face the Terriers next weekend.

“I don’t think you can get any bigger at this stage of the season,” Rowett added.

“Every game is massive and every game is one where you don’t want to waste an opportunity. We just could not quite find that winning goal today.”

Rotherham boss Steve Evans is glad to be back at the New York Stadium.

He said: “It was everything you would have wanted. It was exciting. It was a fantastic welcome. How I got received will go down as another wonderful memory at this place.

“That is how we play. We played against a team fighting for their lives and against top players.

“The boys have gone through the pain barrier. All we can do is freshen them up and get them ready for Bristol City and Cardiff.

“The break in play changed the momentum of the game because they were under the cosh. It was like starting afresh. It gave the Birmingham lads an opportunity to reset.

“We asked the boys to work incredibly hard. From a neutral point of view a draw was probably a fair result.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admitted his side’s Premier League season was over after a 4-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Burnley.

Burnley struck twice in the space of two minutes just before the interval through Jacob Bruun Larsen and Lorenz Assignon to snatch control after being second best for most of the first half.

The Blades threatened a comeback when Gus Hamer reduced the deficit, but further goals from Lyle Foster and substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson maintained Burnley’s late bid for survival.

The Clarets climbed to within three points of 17th-placed Nottingham Forest, while a 23rd league defeat of the season has left the rock-bottom Blades 10 adrift of safety with five games to play.

Wilder said: “We all understand the situation. I’m not being defeatist, I’m being a realist. The season really, is gone.

“We have an obligation to our supporters and an obligation to the league to be as competitive as we possibly can, so we’ll look at that as well.

“We’ll get it right. We’ll have people who want to be here. People that want to run around and be involved when the going gets tough and want to be part of it when we’re going well.

“In the meantime, we have to do our best to make this as painless as possible because at the moment pain is going through every part of the football club.”

Burnley goalkeeper Arijanet Muric made a string of crucial saves in either half, while at the other end the visitors were clinical and Gudmundsson’s effort with 20 minutes left, less than a minute after stepping off the bench, killed the game.

Wilder added: “I won’t name names, but I think there were a few players out there who wanted to get out of there pretty quickly after the fourth went in, which you just can’t have.

“I think there were a few who wanted to get out of there pretty quickly and that can’t happen. It’s a powerful league and it’s been too powerful for us all season.”

Burnley registered just their second win of the year, but have now taken 10 points from their last seven matches and boss Vincent Kompany was delighted his players appear to be holding their nerves.

The Belgian said: “You get closer to the end (of the season) and this game was important for both teams, so I feel really happy with the result and the performance.

“The timing of their goal was really bad for us, it’s as bad as you can get. But you’re looking to see if the team is panicking, if there are any signs, but it didn’t feel like this.”

Rob Edwards backed Luton to respond after their Premier League survival hopes were dealt a devastating blow following a painful 5-1 home loss to Brentford.

The 18th-placed Hatters knew victory would take them out of the relegation zone, but they were undone at Kenilworth Road by a slick attacking display from a Bees side without Ivan Toney due to his ongoing hip issue.

Thomas Frank watched Brentford run riot with Yoane Wissa scoring twice in the first half before Ethan Pinnock, Keane Lewis-Potter and Kevin Schade netted after the break.

Luke Berry hit a stoppage-time consolation for Luton, but they remain a point behind Nottingham Forest in 17th and two off Everton ahead of those clubs playing at Goodison Park on Sunday.

“Yeah, I am deflated and I am hurting right now because of the manner of the performance. I have never really had to come out too many times all year and say that wasn’t us. Today it wasn’t us,” Edwards reflected.

“How I feel is we’re in this. Today was a bad day for us as a club but the teams directly above us play each other and we will not be out of it this weekend. It’s important we all remember that.

“What we have to try and harness now is the spirit, quality, fight and intensity we’ve shown that has kept us in and around it this season. We know we have to go and show that with four games to go.”

A raucous reception greeted both players, but Brentford could have scored three times before Wissa rifled them ahead in the 24th minute with a superb snapshot.

The brilliant Bryan Mbeumo had set up that chance and created the next for Wissa when his cross was scuffed home by the Bees forward in first-half stoppage-time for his 10th goal of the season.

While Edwards introduced Berry at the break, the visitors hit Luton with a double sucker-punch when Pinnock powered home a header from a Sergio Reguilon corner after 62 minutes before Lewis-Potter nodded in Mbeumo’s centre two minutes later.

Brentford substitute Kevin Schade slotted home a fifth after Mbeumo had set Vitaly Janelt away with four minutes left before Berry grabbed an added-time consolation, which was followed by applause at full-time from the Luton fans.

Edwards added: “I have got to say thank you to the supporters who stuck with us. I apologise to them as well for having to live through that. A difficult day for them. We don’t want to go through that again so we’ve got to respond.

“The players know there needs to be a response. As I say, we still have an opportunity to be in the Premier League next season and we don’t want to give that up easily. After today I am pretty confident we will respond in the right way.”

After Brentford moved on to 35 points and 10 above Luton, Brentford boss Frank said: “Of course it was an important game but it was still one of the next five.

“I also know it would be good to beat Luton because then that little sneaky feeling in the back of the head in this relentless league is more or less out of the question.

“Five games unbeaten now, we need to continue playing well and doing well to end the season on a high.”

Cardiff’s second smash and grab raid at home against a top four team in the Championship in the space of six weeks sent Southampton’s hopes of automatic promotion into a tailspin.

It was a goal from Callum O’Dowda in the 100th minute that sank Ipswich Town 2-1 on March 9 and a first league goal for teenager Cian Ashford in the 96th minute of his first full appearance sent Saints marching home after a similar 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City Stadium.

“It’s unacceptable to lose a game like that. With the amount of chances we had we should have been out of sight by half-time,” said frustrated Southampton boss Russell Martin.

“We started the second half well and had some more chances. We played some amazing football but it won’t matter one bit because we lost.

“If you’re not going to have the conviction and ruthlessness, be clinical in their box, and then not defend your own properly that’s what happens.

“Today has done us a lot of harm in terms of chasing the automatic spot, but we have to react properly now. We’ve got three games left and we can still get over 90 points.

“I expect a big reaction from everyone on Tuesday night. If it means our season’s going to be extended, so be it, and we have to get ready for that.

“We’ve spent a little time in the top three, but we have been outsiders for automatic promotion for a long time.”

The Cardiff fans let the board of directors know their feelings about manager Erol Bulut, who has yet to secure an extension to his one-year contract, by chanting ‘We want you to stay’ for long periods of the second half as goals from Famara Diedhiou in the 68th minute and Ashford at the death saw their side take the points.

“Sometimes it’s good when you’re not pushing for something or at the bottom, so the players can play freely. I said to my team before today I wanted only positive things, even if they make mistakes,” said Bulut.

“I told them to play freely and I think they did a really good job. After 90 minutes, Cardiff had three youngsters, new players, on the field. This is important for the future of the club.

“The academy did a really good job, so thanks to them. It’s a message to the academy that we always have an eye on them.

“I think that is a moment Cian Ashford will never forget. I spoke about what we’ve seen in training from him, he is doing really well.

“He played 15, 20 minutes in previous games and had some good movements. But today, for 90 minutes, he was great.”

Huddersfield manager Andre Breitenreiter insists his side have to continue believing they can beat the drop from the Championship, despite a 4-0 defeat at home to Swansea leaving them two points from safety with just two matches left to play.

Second-half goals from Jamal Lowe, Ronald, Jerry Yates and Liam Walsh condemned the Terriers to a fifth loss in their last 10 outings – a run which includes just one win.

Huddersfield’s penultimate game of the season sees them welcome Birmingham – the team currently directly above them in the league table – to the John Smith’s Stadium in what is likely to be a decisive encounter in the battle against relegation.

And Breitenreiter is refusing to give up hope that they can retain their Championship status.

“We have to stay in the league, but it’s a hard fight,” he said.

“We need the people around the team, we need one group on the pitch, and when it’s not like this, you’ll never have a chance to stay in the league.

“Teams will go down when they’re not together. This is the truth in every country.

“So we have to stay together and yes there’s frustration – that’s totally clear today – but it’s done from Monday and then we have to prepare and to think positive.

“It’s hard maybe to say, but we have to believe that it’s possible.

“We have to come to the stadium next week and to give everything for the three points, because then we’d be one point above Birmingham.”

Although the four goals came from the 73rd minute onwards, Breitenreiter was disappointed with his team’s performance from the outset as they failed to register a shot on target all game.

“We didn’t start the game good and we knew about the quality and ball possession of Swansea, their identity,” the German added.

“But the distances from the defenders to the strikers were not very good – it was a bit too big.

“We didn’t press as a team, individual players didn’t execute the plan we’d discussed before.

“We weren’t near to 100 per cent as a group – we have to speak honest about this – and it wasn’t good enough.”

Swansea boss Luke Williams was thrilled with his side’s display as they made it three wins on the bounce without conceding a goal.

“I think it was a very tough game because Huddersfield have such clear motivation for the game, and I thought they approached it really well,” he said.

“And I’ve worked with at least three of the players in the squad and I know they have a lot of quality.

“But I think when we made the breakthrough, of course, they have to try to get back on terms and then it leaves more space at the back of the pitch.

“That’s the moment that you have to try to capitalise and I think we’ve been guilty at times of scoring and then trying to protect the lead.

“We had this probably earlier on in the season. We had a big problem with conceding a goal not long after we’d scored the first one, so we’ve improved from that and today we were ruthless.”

Lowe, Yates and Walsh all scored from the bench, something which was particularly pleasing for Williams.

“Everyone’s there fighting for everything, and then you make changes and those guys affect the game in a really positive way,” he added.

“When you get that as the head coach, you’re very fortunate.”

Fleetwood manager Charlie Adam has already targeted an instant return to League One after their relegation was confirmed despite a 1-0 win at Leyton Orient.

Town’s 10 year tenure in the third tier came to an end despite Xavier Simons scoring three minutes into added time to settle the match and give the 133 traveling fans some small consolation on their return to the north-west.

Adam became Fleetwood’s third boss of the season when he took charge in December and he is determined to make sure their stay in League Two is a short one.

“It’s been a tough day for everybody involved at this football club, the directors, the management the players and the supporters,” Adam said.

“That group of players have given us everything since we came in on December 31 and it’s unfortunate that we’ve just come up short. It really is bitterly disappointing for Fleetwood as a club and for the town.

“I thought we were in full control of the game, we were never really under pressure and that’s what you will see from this side next season. They are going to run and fight all the way.

“That performance away from home was very good.

“I can’t thank the supporters enough for coming to support us. They have been with us all season since we came into the building and I’m really gutted for them.

“There is a lot of frustration of why and what but we’ll sit down and address things and we are going to do everything we can to come straight back up. We have the nucleus of a very good squad in League Two because they’ve shown they are good League One players.

“I’m already thinking about next season, what we want, what we need, how we are going to play and what we are going to do.”

Orient boss Richie Wellens said: “I’m very disappointed at the way the season has ended for us. I’m very professional and I want to keep my standards at the same level all the time.

“Twelve months ago, we were playing Crewe Alexandra in League Two to try and win the league and promotion and my mindset is exactly the same today as it was then.

“Today, I thought that in the first half we were good but in the second half we were poor.

“We were too slow at the back, kept passing back to our keeper, didn’t play through lines or play forward and we didn’t counter well and it was all a bit messy. We got what we deserved, so yes I’m very disappointed.

“We need four or five players to come in and make an impact. There are certain players I keep asking them to do the same thing week in and week out but my patience is wearing thin.”

Michael Skubala hailed the character of his Lincoln side after they came from behind to win 2-1 at Cheltenham and move into the League One play-off places with one game left.

Relegation battlers Cheltenham led through Liam Sercombe’s early penalty, but Joe Taylor levelled before half-time and Freddie Draper won it seven minutes after the break.

The Imps’ top six destiny is in their own hands, with a home match against champions Portsmouth to finish, while Cheltenham’s place in the third tier is now hanging by a thread.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming here,” Skubala said.

“We know how much they were fighting for every point so they could stay up.

“They started the game brighter than us and we didn’t begin it as ourselves.

“In the second half we came out and blew them away a little bit and could have probably scored more.

“It was a brilliant second half and everyone worked hard, digging deep to get those points.

“The 1,000-plus fans really got behind the team and pushed us on when we were 1-0 down.

“It really counted and helped us get back into the game. They drove us on.

“The character of the group is amazing and if we looked back months ago to be told we’d be in a position where we’re sixth with the champions coming to our place to face us as we look to clinch a place in the play-offs we’d have all taken it. It’s up to us now.”

A midweek win at Burton had kept Cheltenham’s survival hopes alive but the defeat leaves them five points from safety with just two games left to play.

Manager Darrell Clarke is refusing to throw in the towel while survival remains a possibility.

“I am gutted, first of all, but we still have to try and take it to the last game of the season,” Clarke said.

“We have to win on Tuesday night (Peterborough at home) and then anything can happen in the last game (at Stevenage). We have to do that.

“We have to appreciate moments in the game today where we should score.

“In the first half we had some golden opportunities so to come in at half-time only 1-1 is disappointing because we’d opened them up a few times and the gameplan was working.

“The first half was the best we’ve played at home for a long time.

“I was then disappointed with the second half as a whole because we huffed and puffed, with players tiring.”

Steven Schumacher claimed “it’s not done yet” despite a 3-0 victory against his former club Plymouth all-but securing Stoke’s Sky Bet Championship status.

The Potters boss enjoyed the bragging rights as goals from Dutch trio Ki-Jana Hoever, Million Manhoef and Wouter Burger secured a win which saw his side move up to 17th in the table – six points clear of the drop zone with two fixtures remaining.

“It was a big day; I had my eye on this game since I came here,” said Schumacher, who left Home Park in December having led Argyle to the League One title last season.

“I would have hoped both teams would have been safe by now, so there could have been a bit less pressure.

“It’s weird when you come up against people who you are friends with and you have a feeling in your belly all week that’s not nice.

“I’ve got a lot of affection for Argyle and always want them to do well, but today was about Stoke and trying to get three points that we needed.

“It was probably the best home performance from us; it was really good all-round.

“We knew how difficult the game would be and if our performance wasn’t right we would have got hurt by Argyle today.

“But credit to the players, they were brilliant from the first minute and, in the big moments, we showed some composure and quality.

“We stressed all week that there was going to be a bit of noise around the game and everybody understood how important it was.

“It’s not done yet; it’s important that we get in on Monday and have another good week and focus on Southampton.

“You never know in this league, and you have to keep going until it’s mathematically secure and at the moment it’s not.”

Plymouth’s three-match unbeaten start under interim boss Neil Dewsnip ended in disappointing style.

The Pilgrims could muster only one attempt on target as they slipped to four points above the relegation zone.

“We’re really disappointed to lose – we knew how important the game was for us,” said interim boss Dewsnip.

“Stoke were by far the better team on the day and credit to them.

“After the first 35 minutes, the crowd seemed to get really involved and Stoke got a big lift from that.

“We didn’t handle that emotion particularly well and I was disappointed with our performance in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

“We showed immaturity, which is something we’ll address and look to do better in the future.

“We’ll take the lessons; Millwall’s going to be a tough place to play and we need to be ready for that.

“We need to handle moments in the game much better.

“The commitment is definitely there (from us); sometimes in football you have to hold your hands up and say your opponents were better.

“Last Friday night, the same group of players gave everything physically and emotionally, and that might have taken it out of us more than we realised.

“Our goal is to stay in the Championship and we’re two games out from doing that.

“If you’d have given us that at the start of the season, we’d have grabbed that opportunity, so we’re in a positive mental state.”

Derby boss Paul Warne hailed his side’s attacking mentality after the 1-0 victory at Cambridge secured a club-record 13th away win of the season.

The Rams could have secured promotion if both Bolton and Peterborough dropped points, but all three League One automatic-promotion chasers won to take the race for second down to the final day.

Cambridge gave as good as they got after half-time but were unable to force an equaliser, having seen Nathaniel Mendez-Laing break the deadlock in the 39th minute, but the U’s need two points from their last two games to secure their spot in League One.

Even that would only be necessary if Cheltenham win both of their remaining fixtures.

“I’ve tried to be consistent with the lads all the time, keep convincing them not to live in regret, try and play on the edge. We’ve never set up to draw,” said Warne.

“It’s not about setting out to get points, it’s about trying to win every game we can. We’re not always going to be at our best but we always create enough chances to give ourselves a chance.

“We had an opportunity today to take another step, got an opportunity today to be remembered for something for however many years it takes to beat it, and an opportunity to get us a step closer to where we want to be, to make everyone proud.

“The first thing the players do is they get on their phones, they just know they’ve got another week. I don’t think we’ve picked up any severe injuries, I had a good plethora of players to pick from today.

“We’ve got everyone fit for the last game of the season, which I’m not going to complain about.”

Mendez-Laing’s goal proved to be the winner to leave Derby three points clear of Bolton heading into the final match.

Cambridge came on strong after the break, with Jordan Cousins firing just wide from distance and Ryan Bennett seeing a shot blocked.

Cambridge boss Garry Monk felt his side matched their promotion-seeking opponents.

He said: “It’s just a real shame for us, a disappointment that the one moment with their goal was from our set-play and a counter-attack which we didn’t deal with well enough.

“We’re really disappointed with that, to concede that way. Really there was nothing else in the game.

“In the second half the territory was all ours and we were really pushing but if we’re honest we probably just lacked that bit of composure and quality in the final third.

“We’re competing hard. We’ve just taken second in the league really close and had them pinned back for the whole second half.

“There can’t be many teams that do that to Derby. We just needed that little bit more composure, to move their shape before we delivered certain passes.

“I can’t complain again with the players. You can see there’s a group of players fighting, trying to get the right results for the club. We just have to continue with that.”

Darren Moore insists he is the man to lead the massive rebuild needed after Port Vale’s two-season stay in Skybet League One ended in a 2-0 defeat at Bolton.

Moore says he is sufficiently “energised” to try to transform the fortunes of a side that were early-season third tier pacesetters.

Vale had to win at the Toughsheet Community Stadium and hope results elsewhere went in their favour to keep them up.

But second-half goals from Aaron Collins and Cameron Jerome sent them down and kept alive Wanderers’ slim hopes of automatic promotion.

“The biggest thing is to galvanise and get together to start the rebuilding for next season,” said Moore, less than 12 months after taking Sheffield Wednesday into the Championship.

“But I am here for the rebuild. I am energised.

“It is fantastic club with wonderful owners and a wonderful fan base.

““We have lots of ideas going forward and I look forward to getting that plan into action. But it is a big rebuild, let’s not kid ourselves.

“Structurally, we have got to get it right first and then it will be implemented on the pitch.

“We have to get a team together to cope with the demands of that league (League Two) and be pushing on to get this club back to this league and beyond.”

Vale earned five of their 10 league wins by mid-September. Moore was appointed on a five-and-a-half-year deal five months later but failed to stop the rot.

“It’s a sad day,” he added. “You can hear a pin drop in the dressing room. The mood is down and sombre.”

Bolton must beat Peterborough on the final day of the season and hope second-placed Derby lose to Carlisle to avoid the play-offs for a second successive campaign.

“We must have laser focus for what lies ahead,” said manager Ian Evatt.

“We are a really good team and I have felt we have been in pretty good form for a couple of months.

“There is some hope. For us, it is being in a position to take advantage.

“We have to go to Peterborough and win, first and foremost. If we get a miracle elsewhere, then fantastic. If not then we continue our momentum into the play-offs.

“What is important is that we don’t look backwards. What’s done is done. There can be some frustrations but that is not going to help anyone moving froward.

“We could have scored more goals but we have seen that game a lot this season. Sometimes there is anxiety in the box when we should be more composed.

“But Aaron came up with a bit of magic and I’m delighted for Cameron to get a couple of goals this week because his performances deserve that.”

Norwich head coach David Wagner was happy to take a point after seeing his play-off chasing side held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol City at Carrow Road.

The Canaries went into the match with eight successive home victories behind them but failed to hit the heights of recent months against in-form opposition and had to come from behind to secure a hard-fought draw.

The draw took Norwich level with fifth-placed West Brom and kept them six points clear of the chasing pack with games running out.

“I am satisfied with the point – if you can’t win a game it is important you take something from it and that is what we have done today,” said Wagner.

“It is another small step closer to our target and the gap between ourselves and the teams chasing us is the same, so that is good.

“We were up against a good side and our performance and energy levels were not as high as they have been recently. We know we can play a lot better than that – but players are only human.

“I can’t complain about their effort and attitude but we were not at our best level today.

“There were a lot of turnovers, giving them opportunities and we were fortunate we had a top level keeper like Gunny (Angus Gunn) out there.

“He was outstanding today – and has shown why I feel he is the best keeper in this league.”

Both goals came in a three-minute spell early in the second half, with a shock Bristol City opener being quickly cancelled out.

The Robins, who went close on several occasions in the opening period, got their noses in front on 56 minutes when defender Haydon Roberts got on the end of a Tommy Conway cutback to score his first league goal for the club.

But the visitors were quickly brought down to earth when they were short at the back as a quick ball forward found Josh Sargent and Norwich’s top scorer squared for Borja Sainz to complete the easiest of finishes.

Bristol City boss Liam Manning was delighted with the performance of his side.

“There were a lot of positives from the game,” he said. “In the first half especially we took the game to them and created a lot of good chances and I suppose the only disappointment was that we failed to take them.

“This is really tough place to come but we went out and played really well against a very good side.

“I guess it says something that we have come away from here with a point and are still a little bit disappointed.

“I thought the players were excellent – they showed a lot of quality on the ball and the work-rate and commitment was there too.

“We are on a good run now, I think that’s six unbeaten and we want to maintain these levels in the next two games, to finish the season in the best way possible.”

Neil Critchley hailed a brave Blackpool performance as the Seasiders beat promotion rivals Barnsley 3-2 to boost their League One play-off chances.

Goals from Sonny Carey, James Husband and Hayden Coulson put the hosts 3-0 up but John McAtee pulled one back for Barnsley, before Adam Phillips’ late strike set up a nervy finish.

Blackpool need to win their final game of the season away to Reading, and hope that both Lincoln and Oxford drop points in order to secure a place in the top six.

Blackpool are bang in form and have now won their last four games, with Critchley proud of their battling display.

“We don’t do things easy, but I thought we were outstanding up until they scored their first goal. Even when they scored their first goal, we had chances to make it 4-1,” he said.

“We looked a really good team. Our mentality was excellent, we played with confidence and took the game to the opposition. I’m not sure how it ended 3-2, but we won and we take it down to a very exciting and interesting last day.

“It was on par with our best of the season the first hour. We played with a calmness in possession and with an intensity without the ball. We were dangerous.

“I didn’t enjoy the end to the game, but I’m grateful we got the three points.

“We had to win this game, so we took the handbrake off and went for it. The only blot on the copybook today was the goals we conceded.”

Carey gave Blackpool the lead on 12 minutes with a curling shot from 25 yards out that found the corner, while Husband headed in Karamoko Dembele’s pinpoint free-kick before Coulson smashed one into the roof of the net just after the restart.

McAtee pulled one back for Barnsley to give them a glimmer of hope midway through the second half, steering into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Phillips then set up a nervy finish in added time when he fired into the corner, but Critchley’s side held on.

Barnsley know a win on the final day will secure them a play-off place but manager Neil Collins knows they can not relax.

“I think we just got overwhelmed at the start of the game and we created our own problems right from the start – poor clearances, poor in tackles, poor defending,” he said.

“We came out second half, and again we made poor decisions and went 3-0 down. It would have been very easy for the players to feel sorry for themselves, and were it not for some of the officiating we should be standing here with a point.

“Performance wise, it wasn’t up to standard. But the spirit the players showed was really good, and again we were on the wrong side of a couple of decisions.”

Shrewsbury head coach Paul Hurst admitted the over-riding emotion after securing League One safety with a 1-1 draw at Charlton was “relief”.

The Shrews ensured they will have a 10th successive campaign in England’s third tier.

The Shropshire club reappointed Hurst as head coach in January after predecessor Matt Taylor had suffered seven losses in eight matches.

Daniel Udoh’s confident finish put the visitors ahead at The Valley – his 10th goal in all competitions – in the 23rd minute.

But George Dobson, set to leave Charlton after signing a pre-contract agreement with Hungarian club Fehervar, equalised in the 46th minute.

Hurst said: “Relief is the first emotion and then enjoyment and togetherness. I have to say I’m really pleased for the chairman (Roland Wycherley) because it hasn’t been easy, I think he has gone on record saying how difficult the last couple of seasons have been – but this one in particular.

“He will be a very happy man tonight. But I feel like almost the job starts again.

“Credit to the players, staff and everyone involved that they managed to get over the line.

“I’ve enjoyed being back in work. It wasn’t the longest break but you have to respect and cherish the times when you are working.

“No doubt there have been some challenges in front of us – like hoping to bring more players in than we did (in the last transfer window) and we’ve had some big injuries.”

Charlton are undefeated in 14 matches – losing just once since Nathan Jones was appointed manager in February – but they are guaranteed their lowest finish since 1926.

Dobson did have a moment to savour in SE7 as he raced on to Connor Wickham’s through ball, going past Shrews keeper Marko Marosi to convert in what is set to be his last outing as an Addicks player on home turf.

Jones said: “I believe he has signed a pre-contract – I want him to be at this football club and playing for Charlton.

“I will do everything I can to keep George Dobson at this football club. I did it in January – to prolong his stay. And I would like to keep him.

“He has done very, very well for me. I’m very proud of him. Now we need to find some common ground.

“He epitomises what I want us to be – front-footed and belief in what we do.

“At half-time we said some choice words and laid some tactical things down and we implemented it straight away. If we had only started the first half like that it could’ve been a different story.

“First half we weren’t us. Second half we asked for a reaction and we got it and we were much better.

“First half we were too passive all over, moved the ball too slowly and became that possession-based boring football team. Second half we were more us.”

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