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Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 18:10 UK

Sunday football as it happened

Blackpool 1-1 Watford Match report
Bristol City 3-0 Preston Match report
Cardiff 3-0 Barnsley Match report
Charlton 4-1 Coventry Match report
Crystal Palace 5-0 Burnley Match report
Ipswich 1-0 Hull Match report
QPR 0-2 West Brom Match report
Scunthorpe 3-3 Colchester Match report
Sheff Wed 4-1 Norwich Match report
Southampton 3-2 Sheff Utd Match report
Stoke 0-0 Leicester Match report
Wolves 1-0 Plymouth Match report

West Brom, Stoke
Play-offs: Hull, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Watford
Relegated: Leicester, Scunthorpe, Colchester

Arsenal 1-0 Everton Match report
Liverpool 1-0 Man City Match report


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Sam Lyon

1810: Well, what can I say. What. A. Day. Narrow wins for Arsenal and Liverpool, but it was really all about the Championship today. Fourteen teams had something riding on the results and for the likes of Stoke, Palace, Watford, Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday it's happy days. Not so good for Leicester, who go down, or Wolves, who miss out on the play-offs, literally, by two goals.

As for Coventry, well I would imagine a few of their fans are filling out lottery tickets this week as they stay up by the seat of their pants, despite a 4-1 hammering at Charlton.

You lot have been tremendous today. I'm off to listen to some Sesame Street death metal, have a beer, and reflect on a fascinating Championship season, but I'll be back for Newcastle-Chelsea tomorrow when we can start it all off again. Jubbly.

No great surprises on your player ratings from the Anfield match, Fernando Torres topping the votes on 7.65. Mainly around the five mark for the Man City players, but Andriy Voronin still manages to bring up the rear on 4.93. Which is a touch generous to be honest.

1752: FULL-TIME - Liverpool 1-0 Man City

1750: Chance for Castillo in the Liverpool box, but his shot is deflected behind for a corner by Jamie Carragher. Again it comes to nothing, though. Just a minute or two remaining here.

1749: On a tangent - I've been impressed with that Emiliano Insua for Liverpool today. And it takes a lot to impress me, I tell you. Sort of.

1746: Corner for City... and it comes to nothing.

"Torres is fitter (than Adebayor) and he's got nicer hair. So he's better. So there."
Anon via text

"Berbatov is better than Torres and Adebayor - end of argument!"
Matt Bexley via text
Join the debate on 606

1742: Torres runs through but his effort to chip Joe Hart from 25 yards is tame and the City keeper easily saves. Moments later, the visiting keeper saves again, this time from Javier Mascherano's drive.

1741: City, who should be two or three down to be honest, are making a few waves in attack all of a sudden and Benjani narrowly fails to keep the ball in on the Liverpool touchline with Stephn Ireland poised in the centre of the goal.

1739: Ooh, nice City effort that. Benjani lines up a free-kick 35 yards out and he absolutely spanks it, Pepe Reina doing well to beat it away on the dive.

1735: Liverpool still making all the play, with City lacking any real fervour or intent, and Kuyt roles the ball through the legs of Joe Hart for an apparent second - but the official's flag is correctly raised for an obvious offside.

1731: Torres v Adebayor update for you juniorukwa... it would appear Torres by a country mile according to our texts and 606. Not that that's, like, anything official or anything, but there you go.

1729: Touch of class from Torres, pulling Dirk Kuyt's wayward cross out of the air brilliantly, but Gerrard's follow-up shot is deflected and it comes to nothing.

"Torres or Adebayor? Good one. Does that really need answering? Give that guy some toblerone to shut him up."
Jake, Cardiff via text

Give away my Toblerone, Jake? Yeah, good one...

1725: What a miss! Torres embarrasses Richard Dunne on the right and the Spaniard pulls it back to Ryan Babel, unmarked, six yards out in front of goal, but the Dutchman contrives to spoon it over the bar. What a plum.

1724: Dirk Kuyt threatens again but his header from eight yards is straight at Joe Hart. Should've done better.

1723: Liverpool are turning on the style now and Dirk Kuyt thunders a header against the crossbar from Sami Hyypia's superb right-wing cross.

"I know this may cause a rant but who is the better footballer - Torres or Adebayor?"
juniorukwa on 606
Join the debate on 606

1718: Lucas tries his luck from 30-odd yards but it is deflected wide for a corner. From the resultant set-piece, Dirk Kuyt forces a smart stop from Joe Hart in the City goal with a header, the visiting keeper then denying Lucas's overhead kick in the follow-up.

1717: Ah, nice moment that from the Liverpool fans, applauding Manchester City substitute Didi Hamann as he goes through his warm-up.

1716: GOAL - Liverpool 1-0 Man City
Cracking goal from 'El Nino' Fernando Torres, the Spaniard driving into the box, racing past an anchored Richard Dunne and sliding into the far corner from wide of the goal. What a debut season this man has had - that's his 32nd of the season - and he and the Anfield faithful have a nice little love-in as he celebrates.

1714: Nearly excellent from Javier Mascherano, the Argentine dancing around two Man City players on the right wing but then smashing his shot miles wide, with players in the middle awaiting a cross.

1709: Fabulous effort from Elano, the Brazilian curling a cracking free-kick from 30 yards against the outside of the upright with Pepe Reina beaten.

"I want to do a streak around Anfield to get the crowd excited after that boring first half."
Scoopex, Anfield via text

1703: And the second half is under way at Anfield...

1655: Another moment of reflection on an incredible afternoon in the Championship, this time from an Ian Holloway who is clearly on the brink of tears: "It's a devastating day for all of us. It's all about standards - I saw them dying for a cause, but too many times this season we haven't.

"And the table doesn't lie. We have let everybody down. It's very difficult, but I'm afraid we have to hold our hand up. We have let 30,000 Leicester fans down. Our fans have been different class - they deserve a team that fights and battles like that every week.

"But Leicester City will be back, probably in a very different form with different people playing for them. The overall season has been a disaster.

"I didn't see this happening - nearly everything I touched at Plymouth came off, everything I've touched here hasn't."

Not a half of high drama at Anfield and not a plethora of high scores over on our Player Rater. Man City's Benjani is the only man to break the magic seven-point barrier with 7.22. Even Player Rater stalwart Steven Gerrard is languishing, with a relatively-motley 6.75. I'd be surprised if that don't change, mark you.
Rate the players

1647: HALF-TIME - Liverpool 0-0 Man City

"Sam - are City still in contention to qualify for Intertoto next year?"
BigDragg on 606

Indeed they are, BigDragg. In theory, they could still finish as high as sixth - so can anyone tell me why Thaksin Shinawatra is sacking Eriksson?

1638: Great work down the left by Ryan Babel, skipping past Sun Jihai and putting in a fine cross that Richard Dunne does well to clear from Dirk Kuyt.

1633: Close! Fantastic save from Joe Hart in the City goal, the keeper denying Gerrard's curling effort at full stretch with his fingers - brilliant.

1632: Cracking move from Man City, ending with Martin Petrov smashing Stephen Ireland's cross-field pass onto the post. The linesman's flag is raised against the Bulgarian, but it would have been a decision to debate had it gone in, I tell you.

"Matt Oakley and Steve Howard were relegated twice this season. Sort of."
ZZTop on 606

1628: Fine strike from Steven Gerrard but the midfielder's effort arrows narrowly wide from 25 yards. Meanwhile, office update - our Stoke fan (see 1350) has shared out his Toblerone, but kept his celebration drink to himself. Anyone for a code of conduct ruling?

"Benjani is wearing gloves to disguise a terrible thing - he has two right hands. And he is left handed."
Script Writer on 606

1626: Very much end-of-season-fare at Anfield so far, Martin Petrov whipping in an excellent free-kick for City but a foul is given against Richard Dunne.

"Liverpool look to have broken a new kit out. Similar to this season's one, but they got rid of that ugly flappy collar and replaced it with a white v-neck and its got a wee small golden liver bird on the back. Not much differences other than that."
manfrombelmonty on 606

Fascinating kit chat, that, manfrombelmonty. Errrr....

"I've found eight cases of the word unbelievable throughout the day! Yep im pretty sad... Come on Liverpool!!"
reilly_lfc on 606
Join the debate on 606

"Can someone answer one question for me please.... Why is Benjani wearing gloves???"
dublinmanc on 606

1621: Great chance for Ryan Babel at Anfield, the Dutchman latching onto countryman Dirk Kuyt's pinpoint cross but heading over on the stretch from six yards.

1618: Liverpool beginning to dominate against City, but no real chances as yet.

1615: An emotional - and clearly drained - Southampton manager Nigel Pearson says: "It's hard to get my head and heart round just how brilliant my players were. It was topsy-turvy, we had a man sent off, and yet we've pulled off a fantastic result. I am so, so proud."

1611: Quiet start on the pitch between Liverpool and Manchester City, but off the field in the away end it's lovely scenes - the City fans chanting Sven-Goran Eriksson's name at the top of their voices and sporting face-masks of the Swede as well. Eriksson may be off in the summer, but he's won the hearts of the City faithful, for sure.
Eriksson to be sacked by Man City

1607: What an afternoon of Championship football, huh? Joy for the Baggies, Stoke, Crystal Palace, Watford, Sheff Weds and Southampton, despair for Leicester and the likes of Wolves, Ipswich and Sheff Utd. Unbelievable.

Wolves 1-0 Plymouth
Watford scrape into the play-offs courtesy of just a couple of goals - so close and yet so far for Mick McCarthy's Wolves.

1601: Under way at Liverpool.

"GET IN! And don't let me ever catch you doing that again Southampton!"
andibarnes on 606
Join the debate on 606

"I cant really take this. I'm not really a man of many words but... devastated."
SchmidtyT on 606

"Clearly never look at the Championship, but someone is going to get relegated being only 17 points off a play-off spot. What sort of madness is that? I need to know."
Ste, Ireland via text

1558: Massive celebrations for West Brom and Stoke - fans are swarming the pitch at the Britannia Stadium - but it's heartbreak for Leicester, who go down thanks to Southampton's topsy-turvy victory over Sheffield United.

1557: Only Wolves and Plymouth are still playing... and it could still be a crucial match. Watford are in the play-offs as it stands, but if Mick McCarthy's side get a couple and win by three goals, they will jump into the top six at the Hornets' expense. Permutation-tastic.

Stoke 0-0 Leicester

Southampton 3-2 Sheff Utd
The Saints are surely safe now, what a victory... Leicester must win but there's only seconds left against Stoke...

Blackpool 1-1 Watford

1554: Stoke fans are on the pitch to celebrate - but it's not over yet! The ref's whistle was for a foul... hold fire Potters...

Ipswich 1-0 Hull

Crystal Palace 5-0 Burnley

Sheff Wed 4-1 Norwich
Scunthorpe 3-3 Colchester

1549: GOAL - Wolves 1-0 Plymouth
Nervy times for Watford as Seji Olofinjana puts Wolves ahead. The Hornets are in the play-offs as we speak, but if Blackpool go back in front against them, Wolves will jump ahead of them...

1548: GOAL - Charlton 4-1 Coventry
Chris Powell gets a rare ol' strike and Coventry are well and truly relying on Stoke holding on against Leicester. The Foxes, for the first time in the match, look a little spent, truth be told.

"Am enjoying every nailbiting update. Keep up the good work. All the best to you."
Love Daniel O'Donnell, Ireland via text

Erm, thanks Daniel. Love your work.

1546: Apparently, there could be up to 10 minutes injury-time at Wolves after what looked like a bad head injury to Plymouth captain Krisztian Timar. The play-offs are not set in stone just yet, people.

1545: GOAL - Sheff Wed 4-1 Norwich
Wednesday will definitely be in the Championship next season and it's happy, happy days for the Owls. Leon Clarke gets in on the goalscoring action and the blue and white half of Sheffield are getting the party started.

1542: RED CARD
Stern John is off for a second yellow at Southampton, the first of which he received for removing his shirt after putting the Saints ahead. Stupid rule that, especially on today of all days, and Southampton are back on the ropes.

1541: GOAL - Scunthorpe 3-3 Colchester
Paul Hayes levels it up.

1541: So close!! Iain Hume gets clear in the box and his strike is brilliantly saved by Carlo Nash. Unbelievably, the keeper is the hero seconds later as Richard Stearman's header is tipped over. Stunning scenes and Leicester can't believe their luck - or lack thereof, should I say.

1540: Leicester are piling numbers forward at Stoke and look to be building a real head of steam. Can they score and pull off a remarkable escape? Around 10 minutes left for them to do so...

1539: GOAL - QPR 0-2 West Brom
A crackerjack free-kick from Chris Brunt and the Baggies are champions now, surely.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez makes five changes from the side that lost at Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final in midweek, with Steve Finnan, Lucas, Sami Hyypia, Ryan Babel and youngster Emiliano Insua in for Xabi Alonso, Martin Skrtel, Yossi Benayoun, Alvaro Arbeloa and John Arne Riise. Man City - who have lost four of their last five - recall captain Richard Dunne, with Gelson Fernandes dropping to the bench.

1535: Massive decision at Stoke - Leicester denied what looks a stonewall penalty. Richard Stearman is felled just inside the box, but a free-kick is given - much to the chagrin of the Foxes players. The set-piece comes to nothing.

1534: GOAL - Sheff Wed 3-1 Norwich
Wednesday are surely safe now - they may have got away with it a bit in the first half, but Deon Burton makes it 3-1 to send the Owls fans delirious. As an aside, Dion Dublin has played his last minutes of professional football as he makes way for Jamie Cureton.

1532: A quick note from the Emirates - Arsenal's players are doing a lap of honour, but Everton's supporters are nowhere to be seen, understandably. The Toffees are still fifth - and with a three-point lead over Villa with a match to play - but they're not definitely in Europe just yet.
Arsenal 1-0 Everton

1529: GOAL - Southampton 3-2 Sheff Utd
Would you Adam and Eve it - Southampton go back in front as Stern John pulls off a superb finish following a fine cross. The Saints are safe again, Leicester are back in possession of a Daniel O'Donnell LP. What next?!

1528: GOAL - Ipswich 1-0 Hull
Alan Lee heads home from 12 yards to deservedly put Ipswich in front and Stoke City fans go almost as ballistic as the Town.

1527: GOAL - Southampton 2-2 Sheff Utd
All change at the bottom again! Just as Southampton looked to be turning on the style, Jonathan Stead heads home a United equaliser to send the Saints back into the bottom three as it stands. Leicester fans go mental at the Britannia.

1526: GOAL - Scunthorpe 2-3 Colchester
Paul Hayes reduces Scunny's deficit.

1525: FULL-TIME - Arsenal 1-0 Everton

1524: GOAL - Crystal Palace 5-0 Burnley
Party time and proper champagne football for Palace, who go five goals to the good with an excellent strike from Clinton Morrison.

1522: GOAL - Blackpool 1-1 Watford
Unbelievable. Tommy Smith nets seconds after Henderson's red card to underline the Hornets' play-off place.

1522: GOAL - Cardiff 3-0 Barnsley
Joe Ledley makes it three, it's done and dusted in Wales.

1521: RED CARD
Darius Henderson is off for a second yellow card. It's deserved - squeaky bum time for the Hornets.

1520: GOAL - Crystal Palace 4-0 Burnley
Fourth for Palace as Scott Sinclair nets a beauty.

1519: Holy moly, Leicester come oh so close at the Britannia. McAuley's header comes off the post and Barry Hayles's follow up is blocked on the line. Unbelievable.

1516: Oh to be a Foxes fan - news of the Southampton goal filters through at Stoke and Leicester supporters look like someone's just come into their house on Christmas Eve and replaced all their presents with a Daniel O'Donnell LP. Ouch.

1515: Leicester have an almighty escape. The ball breaks to dangerman Ricardo Fuller right in front of Paul Henderson in the six-yard box but the keeper pulls off a fantastic save. Truly fantastic, but is it enough?

1514: GOAL - Southampton 2-1 Sheff Utd
Massive, massive goal at St Mary's. Stern John smashes into the net to put the Saints up and that goal not only means the Blades have no chance of a play-off spot but that Southampton are safe as it stands, with Leicester down. Should the Foxes score, Coventry would go down.

1513: GOAL - QPR 0-1 West Brom
The title is Baggies-bound it would appear, Do-Heon Kim - usual spelling - puts West Brom in front, heading into an open net.

1512: GOAL - Bristol City 3-0 Preston
David Noble puts City three up and they are cruising.

1511: GOAL - Sheff Wed 2-1 Norwich
Breathing space for Wednesday and Tommy F as Ben Sahar heads the hosts in front from close range.

1511: GOAL - Charlton 3-1 Coventry
Only Southampton and Leicester stand between Coventry and the drop as Grant Basey extends Charlton's lead.

1510: Bit of early Liverpool-Man City team news - the Reds have rung the changes, apparently. More news when I get it.

1509: GOAL - Cardiff 2-0 Barnsley
Kevin McNaughton scores to surely ensure they go into the FA Cup final in high spirits.

1507: GOAL - Arsenal 1-0 Everton
Bad news for Toffees fans everywhere as Nicklas Bendtner scores. The Dane gets his ninth of the season and it's a beauty - he starts the move off by slipping the ball down the left channel and then strides into the box to power home a thumping header. Everton's bid to secure fifth spot will have to wait a week as it stands.

1507: GOAL - Scunthorpe 1-3 Colchester
...and Kevin McLeod makes it three inside a minute. Colchester on the verge of a first win in 10.

1506: GOAL - Scunthorpe 1-2 Colchester
Scott Vernon puts the U's back in front.

1504: We are back under way in the Championship... I don't even have a vested interest and even I'm blooming nervous.

"Arsenal's season went down the toilet ever since Adebayor cut his hair. What will happen if Gallas gets rid of his shocker?"
Anand, London via text

"A nice scenario from Tommy (below) but a bit strong considering Norwich have only had two shots on target."
switchblade on 606

Don't be too hard on Mr Fordyce switchblade, he's been watching most of the match through his fingers the poor ol' soul.

1500: It's clap-the-players time at the Emirates as Jens Lehmann replaces Fabianski in goal to a roar of approval from the home fans looking to bid him a fond farewell before he scoots off this summer. How nice.

"This is such a boring match between Everton and Arsenal. The Gunners have just switched off and havent even been trying this second half."
Scubar2k8 on 606
Join the debate on 606

1456: Bit of chat from Tommy Fordyce at Hillsborough. I can't quote him word for word to be honest, but needless to say he's not very happy, saying Norwich should be about 5-1 up. I wonder what the home fans think of his silk vest?

1455: Tony Hibbert gets into an advanced area at the Emirates, but his cross is cut out well by Lukas Fabianski. Not exactly one to write home about at the minute, but Everton certainly will be happy enough as it stands.

1452: Don't forget to have your say on player rater for the Championship as well as the Premier League today. Not a bad way to wile away a few seconds.
Rate the players

1451: It is all a bit quiet again at the Emirates but Joleon Lescott almost causes a stir with a left-foot shot that flashes wide from a difficult angle.

1450: Sheffield United's free-kick comes to nothing and that's half time.

1449: Right, deep breaths Championship fans, we're half-time pretty much around the grounds... except at Southampton, where the Blades have a free-kick.

1446: Dean Windass's 30-yard free-kick flies over the bar for Hull, Stern John's drive is deflected wide at Southampton, and Watford are piling on the pressure at Blackpool. It's all happening.

1444: GOAL - Cardiff 1-0 Barnsley
Paul Parry scores in the match between the FA Cup specialists.

1443: GOAL - Southampton 1-1 Sheff Utd
Seconds after Michael Tonge is denied by Richard Wright, Marek Saganowski heads Southampton level. The Saints are still in the bottom three but what a lifeline that could be... Sheffield United drop out of the play-off zone.

"The three teams that get promoted are going to be chicken feed for the big boys in the Premiership!"
Super_Fin_SAFC on 606
Join the debate on 606

That there be fighting talk Super_Fin_SAFC!

1440: Darius Henderson misses a sitter in front of goal for Watford to keep Blackpool in front at Bloomfield Road. The Hornets needed that and it's a terrible error.

1439: We are back under way at the Emirates, with neither side making any changes.

1438: GOAL - Crystal Palace 3-0 Burnley
Tom Soares makes it even more comfortable for Palace against Burnley - not Coventry, oops.

1437: RED CARD
QPR down to 10 men as Martin Rowlands sees red against West Brom for a professional foul.

1436: Excellent double save from Leicester's Paul Henderson, the keeper twice keeping out Ricardo Fuller on the stretch.

1435: During this quiet period, let me send my condolences to the thousands of you emailing and texting in while studying for exams. Who needs qualifications anyway huh?

1432: At the Britannia Stadium, Foxes striker Barry Hayles bursts into the box but slices wide from 16 yards. Oops.

1431: Chance for Stoke - Mamady Sidibe heading straight at the keeper from 12 yards, should've done better.

"This is way more interesting than the Premier League!"
SkyBlueEel on 606
Join the debate on 606

1428: Idiakez curls a fabulous free-kick towards the top corner for Southampton but Paddy Kenny palms it away in the United goal. Cracking save.

Arsenal striker Emanuel Adebayor leads the way on 7.82, with Phil Neville bringing up the rear. Get involved.
Rate the players

1425: GOAL - Southampton 0-1 Sheff Utd
Stephen Quinn scores a potentially massive goal for United after some very poor Saints defending. As it stands, the Saints and down and United are in the play-offs. The Leicester fans hear about it at the Britannia Stadium and go bonkers. Crikey.

1422: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Everton
Arsenal have been on top but are without their usual fluency against an Everton side who are defending like their European place depends on it.

1422: GOAL - Charlton 2-1 Coventry
Michael Mifsud reduces the Sky Blues' deficit against the run of play with a low 18-yard effort.

1422: GOAL - Sheff Weds 1-1 Norwich
Deon Burton converts from the spot and Wednesday are alive and kicking again.

Darel Russell brings down Deon Burton in the box, definite spot-kick apparently. A Wednesday lifeline?

1421: Michael Kiely should open the scoring for Wolves but it goes wide, while Tommy Miller hits the post for Ipswich.

1419: The Emmanuels combine for possibly the best chance of the half at Arsenal, but Adebayor heads narrowly wide from Eboue's cross.

1419: GOAL - Charlton 2-0 Coventry
Andy Gray slips in from close range and the Sky Blues are really shifting nervously now. Can those below them take advantage?

1418: GOAL - Bristol City 2-0 Preston
Michael McIndoe makes it two for City and they could barely look more comfortable.

1417: We are coming up to half-time at the Emirates where Gilberto gets up above Leon Osman and should have done better than thump his header over the bar.

1417: GOAL - Scunthorpe 1-1 Colchester
What was that about bragging rights? Jonathan Forte levels it up for Scunny - what a match! And yet it means absolutely nothing!!! Unbelievable...

1416: Leicester's Steve Howard goes in shin-high on Andy Wilkinson but somehow escapes a red card at The Britannia.

1415: Pattison nearly makes it 2-0 for Norwich at Sheff Weds, but the shot is clawed away by Owls keeper Lee Grant. Wednesday are reeling at the moment.

1413: GOAL - Scunthorpe 0-1 Colchester
Both sides are down, but Kevin McLeod might have given the U's 'bragging rights'. Sort of.

1411: GOAL - Bristol City 1-0 Preston
Lee Trundle scores for City, they're looking set for fourth.

1410: GOAL - Crystal Palace 2-0 Burnley
Victor Moses volleys a fine second for Palace. They're surely in the play-offs now.

1409: GOAL - Sheff Wed 0-1 Norwich
Body blow for the Owls as Darren Huckerby puts Norwich ahead.

1408: GOAL - Palace 1-0 Burnley
No mistakes from the penalty spot as Ben Watson nets.

Palace striker Clinton Morrison is brought down in the box by Clarke Carlisle and the result is a definite spot-kick. Carlisle has to go and is red-carded.

1406: The crowd have woken up at Arsenal after that flurry of chances. Emmanuel Eboue is set up by Nicklas Bendtner but his shot is deflected wide. From the corner Bendtner heads just wide. That's more like it.

1405: GOAL - Charlton 1-0 Coventry
Luke Varney grabs the goal to ensure Coventry are definitely looking over their shoulders nervously...

1403: Disallowed goal! Ipswich think they're 1-0 up against Hull, but Shefki Kuqi is ruled offside. The Town bench are furious.

1402: It is lively all of a sudden at the Emirates where Emmanuel Adebayor shoots low but Tim Howard gathers.

1401: GOAL - Blackpool 1-0 Watford
Ben Burgess gets the afternoon off to an explosive start, prodding in from close range.

1400: A couple of scares for Arsenal as Everton threaten with almost their first visit into the opposing half. First Andy Johnson races through on goal and tests Lukasz Fabianski with a low shot and then Denilson is forced to clear off the line from the resulting scrambled corner.

1400: We're under way all around the Championship grounds... here we go...

1357: If you could see the looks on the faces of the fans of those teams involved in key matches today, it'd pull on even the coldest of heart strings I tell ya. Sir Bobby Robson looks on the verge of tears at Portman Road, bless 'im. Three minute warning people... A reminder of who needs what and why, web users click below.
Ups and downs

"Come on you Sky Blues! We've had many last-gasp escapes in the Premier League before, so why the need to worry?"
Mifsud is a CCFC fan on 606

1352: Arsenal are looking increasingly dangerous after a sluggish start by their standards. Bendtner sets up Gilberto with a dinked cross but the unmarked Brazilian cannot get his header on target.

1350: Office update - our resident Stoke fan has brought in Toblerone for everyone, but two of our Leicester fans brought in squat. My allegiances are easily swayed...

"I'm going to take some heavy medication. Someone please revive me in two hours with a positive Watford result."
HarrowingHornet on 606

1348: Arsenal get their first sniff of goal at the Emirates with Theo Walcott finding a bit of room to shoot, but he cannot get enough curl on his right-footer and it sails wide.

1347: LINE-UPS
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Mancienne, Blackstock, Ainsworth, Rowlands, Connolly, Ephraim, Rehman, Balanta.
West Brom: Kiely, Hoefkens, Barnett, Clement, Robinson, Koren, Gera, Brunt, Greening, Bednar, Phillips.

Charlton: Weaver, Halford, Bougherra, McCarthy, Basey, Thomas, Holland, Shevley, Youga, Varney, Gray.
Coventry: Schmeichel, Osbourne, Ward, Dann, Fox, Mifsud, Doyle, Michael Hughes, Stephen Hughes, Tabb, Best.

"Come on you Hull! Whatever happens today its been an amazing season."
HavingAHullOfATime on 606

1344: Emmanuel Adebayor gets in a good position out on the right, exchanging passes with Nick Bendtner brilliantly, but it comes to nothing as Joleon Lescott pressures well.

1342: This is your less-than-20-minutes-to-go-before-the-Championship-matches-kick-off warning. So the 'as it stands' returns to the top of the page, which should get pompey_manic off my back at least. Hoorah.

1338: Quiet start in the match between Arsenal and Everton. Pienaar making a nice break down the left that comes to nothing, otherwise it's a bit of a midfield tussle at present.

1336: LINE-UPS
Southampton: Richard Wright, Jermaine Wright, Powell, Perry, Surman, Viafara, Safri, Idiakez, Euell, Saganowski, John.
Sheff Utd: Kenny, Geary, Kilgallon, Naysmith, Halls, Cotterill, Speed, Tonge, Quinn, Hulse, Sharp.

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Foley, Breen, Craddock, Elokobi, Kightly, Olofinjana, Henry, Jarvis, Keogh, Ebanks-Blake.
Plymouth: McCormick, Doumbe, Timar, Anderson, Sawyer, Clark, Abdou, Summerfield, Mackie, Fallon, Easter.

Sheff Wed: Grant, Beevers, Wood, Johnson, Spurr, Watson, Bolder, Songo'o, Burton, Sahar, Slusarski.
Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Shackell, Bertrand, Huckerby, Russell, Fotheringham, Pattison, Dublin, Evans.

Scunthorpe: Murphy, Byrne, Iriekpen, Butler, Williams, Forte, Cork, Sparrow, Morris, May, Hayes.
Colchester: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Heath, White, Duguid, Izzet, Jackson, Kevin McLeod, Lisbie, Vernon.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, Hudson, Fonte, Hill, Derry, Watson, Soares, Sinclair, Morrison, Moses.
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Harley, Duff, Elliott, McCann, Randall, James O'Connor, Blake.

1333: And we're under way at the Emirates... at the second time of asking. Players in the area apparently. Nice pedantic start to the afternoon that.

1330: LINE-UPS
Stoke: Nash, Cort, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Dickinson, Lawrence, Delap, Whelan, Cresswell, Fuller, Sidibe.
Leicester: Henderson, Stearman, McAuley, N'Gotty, Mattock, Worley, Oakley, Bell, Howard, Hume, Hayles.

Blackpool: Rachubka, Barker, Evatt, Gorkss, Coid, Martin, Southern, Jorgensen, Hoolahan, McPhee, Burgess.
Watford: Lee, Doyley, Shittu, Bromby, Sadler, Smith, Eustace, McAnuff, Williamson, Henderson, Ellington.

Bristol City: Basso, Orr, Carey, McCombe, McAllister, Noble, Elliott, Carle, McIndoe, Trundle, Adebola.
Preston: Lonergan, Hart, Trotman, St. Ledger, Hill, Sedgwick, McKenna, Chaplow, Lewis Neal, Brown, Mellor.

1328: The teams are out at the Emirates, led out by Everton mascots who are great-grandchildren of the legendary Dixie Dean - the striker scored a hat-trick against Arsenal 80 years ago this weekend to complete his 60-goal tally for the season.

1325: LINE-UPS
Ipswich: Bywater, Simpson, De Vos, Bruce, Wright, Walters, Garvan, Miller, Quinn, Kuqi, Counago.
Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Dawson, Folan, Ashbee, Marney, Hughes, Campbell, Windass.

"Spare a thought for Argyle today. If we beat Wolves we'll probably finish a point or two outside the play-offs and with the third best goal difference in the league. If only..."
Cold War Kid on 606

"Where's Cheese today then? Watching Watford? Who will you be rooting for Sam? How many questions can one sms hold?"
William via text

"An audacious suggestion perhaps but I was wondering if Wolves could get in the play-offs today? Please? It'd be really good."
Alex, London via text

Erm, you do realise it's not up to me don't you Alex?

1316: A few of you are asking me to 'pin my colours to the Championship mast' so to speak. I can quite honestly say I'm as neutral as it gets today. My prediction? West Brom and Stoke first and second, Wolves to push Watford out of the play-off spots and Southampton to go down. Which is pretty much a guarantee that won't happen...

"The nerves are jangling now...Come on Stoke!"
coolmynamewastaken on 606
Join the debate on 606

1305: As the Arsenal and Everton players get their pre-match warm-ups firmly underway at the Emirates, I'll take the opportunity to get back to the main focus of the day - the Championship. As well as Ian Holloway's thoughts (see below), we've also had a word with Match of the Day presenter and West Brom fan Adrian Chiles ahead of the action. And what a nice man he is.
Adrian Chiles on Championship promotion

"Worried not to see Flamini in the starting line-up. Wenger said he'd be fit to play but he's not there and the deadline for his contract signing is tomorrow. Does anyone else feel this is a sign he's not staying or am I reading too much into it?"
royalarsenaltilidie on 606

1302: For the record, Everton only need a point to secure a place in the Uefa Cup next season, but their form at Arsenal is not one to write home about. They have picked up just one draw in the last 11 league visits to the Gunners - although that did come last season in a 1-1 draw. It is also Cesc Fabregas' 21st birthday today - which might explain why he's not playing. Out on the sauce were you Cesc?

Arsenal stick with the bulk of the side that demolished Derby last week, although Cesc Fabregas is given the day off and Robin van Persie is left out in favour of the returning Emmanuel Adebayor. Everton pair Andrew Johnson and Steven Pienaar are passed fit, while their only change is Tony Hibbert in for Yakubu.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Toure, Gallas, Song Billong, Clichy, Eboue, Silva, Denilson, Walcott, Adebayor, Bendtner.
Subs: Lehmann, Senderos, Djourou, Traore, Gibbs.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Pienaar, Neville, Carsley, Fernandes, Osman, Johnson.
Subs: Wessels, Baines, Yakubu, Anichebe, Rodwell.

Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

"Can't see beyond a comfortable Arsenal win today, which as a Chelsea fan makes me nervous of conceding second place..."
StamfordLuke on 606

"Can I just point out that kick off is less than one hour and 10 minutes away in the Championship? It's like Christmas but in May! :D"
Carter158 on 606

"I reckon Arsenal will play a semi decent team and score four or five. Speaking of youngsters to look out for, Jack Wilshire is going to be the next Bergkamp. You heard it here first!"
Zaiky at the Emirates via text

"On the Arsenal vs Everton game. You pointed out that the Arsenal team will be full of youngsters we haven't heard of. Obviously you haven't played football manager."
phillips24 on 606

Erm, is that a bad thing?

1247: Keep your song suggestions coming in, by the way. Alongside "Cochise" I have to say "A Divine Proclamation for Finishing the Present Existance" by 'Last Days of Humanity' - performed by Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street fame (look it up on a popular video sharing site, it's pure genius) - is a sure-fire winner. Absolute gold! Oh, and at the risk of upsetting probably thousands of you, I have to say I think Muse are utter toilet. Sorry.

"Anyone seen Zinedine Zidane at Loftus Road?"
QPRDevon on 606
Sunday's gossip column

1240: A quick word on the Arsenal-Everton match - what do we reckon? A makeshift Arsenal side full of youngsters barely anyone has heard of but who will soon be lauded as 'the next big things'? A first home defeat for the Gunners in the league this campaign? Everton to seal European qualification for yet another season? Questions, questions...

"'Der derder der derderder der, der derder derder derderder'! The Fratellis!"
esssienisanengine on 606

Somebody, somewhere, will be counting those 'ders' and singing along in their head right now. Stop it.

"I'm a Norwich fan, and although relieved to be safe from relegation, we've got nothing to play for now and I feel a little left out."
Oli via text

Cue frustrated responses from all those down at the bottom looking to swap places with Oli...

"Eye of the Tiger always shivers my timbers when I hear it."
redandblackT1899-crop circles in my carpet on 606

"Shivers my timbers"? Are you a pirate redandblackT1899?

1232: Have you all read Ian Holloway's thoughts on Leicester's battle to beat the drop? The Foxes boss may be one of the nicest men in showbiz, but I can pretty much guarantee he won't have heard of half the song suggestions being made on 606 and text. Bless 'im.
Ian Holloway on Leicester's plight

"Muse - Knights of Cydonia. For any of the teams fighting relegation."
Mike, Swansea via text

"Final countdown is always appropriate on a day like this."
KentonKid on 606

It is KentonKid, except it's the campest song this side of a Mika track...

"I'd go for Ant and Dec - "Let's Get Ready To Rumble". A sure fire motivational winner!"
NottsUniOwl on 606

"Theme tune - Kasabian Club Foot for Leicester. Great band for a great team!! Okay maybe i am pushing it a little there..."
Blood Sugar on 606

1219: I was listening to Audioslave on my way into the Television Centre this morning and it occured to me - is there a better song to rouse oneself than 'Cochise'? If I were a boxer, and not, as I happen to be, softer than the Andrex puppy, that would be my song of choice as I strode into the arena ready to do the battle of the pugilists.

So what's your song of choice? Your side's theme tune for this afternoon's match if you like? And the first person to bring up the Star Wars theme tune gets sent to the back of the class.

"Sam, you need to keep the 'as it stands' thing at the top, stop moving it down the page!"
pompey_manic_07/08 on 606

You raise an interesting point pompey_manic but a) the table 'as it stands' is on the right of the page for web users anyway and b) I certainly will be putting it back top - and keeping it top - before and during the 1400 kick-offs. It's all in hand, people, erm honest.

"I feel physically sick to the pit of my stomach. I have never known Leicester to take it to the last day for anything as long as I have been around to support them, and I just don't know how to handle it."
sheffield_fox on 606

"I fear for my Watford, we just can't score at the moment, and our players don't seem interested. But knowing Watford they always prove me wrong. So C'Mon you 'Orns!!"
mr-tamas on 606

1211: Soooo... who, what, when, where, how? For those of you unaware of the ins and outs of today's Championship football, check out Paul Fletcher's brilliant piece on the permutations of 'Splendid Sunday' (as I, and only I, am calling it).
Championship's day of destiny

Basically, West Brom are all but definitely up - on goal difference at least - while Hull and Stoke will battle it out for the second promotion spot, with the latter favourites to snatch it. Six other sides, down to Sheffield United in ninth, are all eyeing play-off joy, while five teams are all struggling to avoid the third relegation spot at the bottom.

To add to the flavour of the day on a personal level, pretty much all the teams with something to play for today are represented by a fan in this very office.

Like I say, it's massive.

"Come on Palace! Lets not chuck it away now."
Palacefanforlife on 606

"An Owls fan from Sheffield but living in New Zealand. My dad is gonna be at the game being a season ticket holder and I can only imagine how good the chemical pie and hot Bovril is going to go down should we be a goal to the good by half taime..."
rOWLandnilsson on 606

"If Southampton go down today, not only will I eat my hat, but I will swallow my entire wardrobe!"
Toon4Europe on 606

"Come on Blades! We can still do the impossible, the unthinkable but do-able..."
coolnafs on 606

"Off to watch the mighty Blackpool do Watford. Away fans have no roof and its lashing it down. Happy days."
Coxy via text

West Brom, Stoke
Play-offs: Hull, Bristol City, Watford, Crystal Palace
Relegated: Southampton, Scunthorpe, Colchester

1205: By the way, what do you reckon of my 'as it stands' bit above? Gawd help me when the goals starts raining in late in the day but, as my mate Dan is my witness, I'll be doing me level best to keep it accurate and up to date... love it.

1200: Oh my giddy aunt, this is what it's all about isn't it?

After arguably the most exciting Championship season in recent memory, it quite literally all comes down to today for as many as 14 teams.

Automatic promotion, play-off places and relegation issues are all still to be decided - get ready for an afternoon of nail-biting, bum clenching and, erm, prayer-saying...

I'll be keeping you up to date with all the goals, incidents and permutations from all 12 Championship fixtures as well as, lest we forget, the two Premier League games taking place this afternoon.

On the penultimate weekend of Premier League action, only Everton have anything serious riding on today's results - they can guarantee fifth spot with a point or more at Arsenal - but, to be honest, that's often when games get the most exciting isn't it?

So, to those of you making your way to see your beloveds in action, to those of you fluffing the sofa cushions in preparation for an afternoon of sitting and shifting, and to those of you already halfway through a bottle of some 40% proof alcoholic drink... May the Fourth be with you...

Oh, and don't forget to text me on 81111 or join the debate on 606. Please. Thank you.
Join the debate on 606

The Coca-Cola Football League Championship Table
30 January 2010 19:21
    P GD PTS
1 Newcastle 27 27 56
2 Nottm Forest 28 23 52

3 West Brom 27 26 50
4 Cardiff 27 22 45
5 Swansea 27 3 42
6 Sheff Utd 27 4 41

7 Blackpool 27 10 40
8 Leicester 26 2 39
9 Middlesbrough 28 7 37
10 Bristol City 27 -4 36
11 Preston 26 -2 35
12 QPR 27 -4 34
13 Doncaster 26 -1 33
14 Coventry 28 -8 33
15 Barnsley 26 -8 33
16 Scunthorpe 27 -13 33
17 Watford 26 -6 32
18 Derby 28 -11 32
19 Sheff Wed 28 -12 31
20 Crystal Palace 27 2 30
21 Ipswich 27 -8 29

22 Reading 27 -16 26
23 Plymouth 26 -14 24
24 Peterborough 28 -19 18

Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

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