Irish Abroad: Stephen Ward helps Brighton into playoffs

The Republic of Ireland international was on the scoresheet in his side's late win over Nottingham Forest, while Glenn Whelan and Jonathan Walters featured for Stoke City
By Ronan Murphy


Stoke City recorded a 4-1 win over Fulham to send the Cottagers to the Championhip after 13 years in England's top flight. Republic of Ireland international Glenn Whelan captained the Potters to victory with a solid display in midfield, while Jonathan Walters came off the bench to bag his side's fourth.

Ciaran Clark returned to the Aston Villa lineup as they ensured survival with a 3-1 win at home to Hull City. The 24-year-old was deployed at left-back and put in a decent performance to help keep compatriot Shane Long quiet up front.


A 2-1 away win at Nottingham Forest helped Brighton and Hove Albion take the final playoff spot and set up a semi-final with Derby County. Stephen Ward scored his fourth league goal of the season to level matters and give his side a chance of playing in the top tier next season.

Birmingham City scored a stoppage time equaliser to draw 2-2 at Bolton Wanderers to avoid relegation to the third tier, sending down Doncaster Rovers instead. Darren Randolph was busy in the away goal, while Ireland Under-21 international Callum Reilly was also involved as the Blues secured safety.

Blackburn Rovers defeated Wigan Athletic 4-3, but with the Latics already safely in the playoffs, Uwe Rosler had the chance to assess his squad ahead of the Queens Park Rangers double-header. James McClean scored for the visitors, while Rob Kiernan also did well despite the scoreline.


Alan Sheehan's late penalty was enough to keep Notts County in League One, as they drew 1-1 with Oldham Athletic. The Magpies captain showed his nerve to score from the spot, helping his side finish above Tranmere Rovers in 20th.

Already-promoted Brentford defeated bottom-placed Stevenage 2-0 with Alan Judge scoring his side's second as the clock wound down on the season.

Leyton Orient moved up to third with a 3-1 win at Milton Keynes Dons, to set up a playoff semi-final with Peterborough United. David Mooney brought his tally to 19 league goals this season with his side's third. 


Paddy Madden was on target for Scunthorpe United, but a comeback from York City resulted in a 2-2 draw, allowing Chesterfield to overtake the Iron at the top of the table and win the League Two title.

Conor Hourihane scored twice as Plymouth Argyle came from behind to draw 3-3 with Portsmouth. The result matters little to either side, with both finishing in midtable.

Barry Corr scored the only goal of the game in Southend United's 1-0 win over Burton Albion. Southend climb to fifth with victory, and will now face the same opponents in the playoff semi-final. 


Anthony Stokes was on target again for Celtic, scoring his 19th goal of the Scottish Premiership season as the Bhoys defeated Aberdeen 5-2. Despite the loss, the Dons now know they will qualify for the Europa League due to Dundee United's 1-1 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.


Goalkeeper: David Forde (Millwall)

Defenders: Stephen Ward (Brighton), Rob Kiernan (Wigan), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Alan Judge (Brentford), Conor Hourihane (Plymouth), Alan Sheehan (Notts County), James McClean (Wigan)

Forwards: David Mooney (Leyton Orient), Paddy Madden (Scunthorpe)