Derby’s push for automatic promotion to the Championship took a hit after they drew 0-0 away at mid-table Wycombe.

The Rams, who have three matches remaining, stay in second but sit just two points ahead of Bolton, who have a game in hand.

The visitors nearly took the lead in the opening two minutes when a Ryan Tafazolli header almost crept past his own goalkeeper, Franco Ravizzoli.

This started an onslaught of Derby attacks as Corey Blackett-Taylor missed an open goal from a Conor Washington cross inside six minutes.

The latter then had his attempt blocked by Jack Grimmer 10 minutes later before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s resulting corner nearly snuck in, but Ravizzoli tipped the set-piece over.

Wycombe had several chances but nothing that tested Joe Wildsmith in the Rams goal as Beryly Lubala and Kieran Sadlier fired their attempts wide of the mark.

The second half was on a knife-edge, as Joe Low and Gideon Kodua had Wycombe’s best attempts, with Conor Hourihane and James Collins going close for Derby in the final few moments but to no avail.

Peterborough boosted their automatic promotion hopes with a 3-0 triumph that sent Port Vale plunging back into the relegation zone.

The hosts ended a frustrating first half on a high when Joel Randall’s 25-yard thunderbolt sailed past helpless keeper Connor Ripley – courtesy of a double deflection off Vale men Rhys Walters and Alex Iacovitti – to hand them the lead seconds before the break.

Randall, Ephron Mason-Clark, Ricky-Jade Jones and Kwame Poku had all squandered good chances before Ripley pulled off a fine save to deny Archie Collins, but the following corner – taken short by captain Harrison Burrows to Randall – led to Posh hitting the front.

Burrows followed up his EFL Trophy final heroics with another goal as Posh doubled their lead 11 minutes in the second half.

The captain struck for the 12th time this season when he sent Ripley the wrong way from the spot after Ryan Loft’s pull on Josh Knight.

And Burrows was again involved when Posh put the result beyond doubt in the 86th minute as his left-wing cross was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Iacovitti.

Vale fell back into the bottom four on goal difference as they failed to manage an attempt on target until second half stoppage time when substitute Uche Ikpeazu’s blast was spectacularly tipped over by Jed Steer.

Ruben Selles praised Reading’s character after they moved nine points clear of the League One relegation zone thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Selles was all smiles after striker Sam Smith put the visitors in command after eight minutes with a close-range header before Lewis Wing doubled the lead just before half-time with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.

“It takes a lot of character to win in the circumstances where we are fighting against relegation,” Selles said.

“We did a really good job to get the three points and we hope that with this result and the coming performances we will have done enough to stay in the league.

“But I think this season for Reading is never done until the final whistle – and maybe after that – but we can only control what happens on the pitch until then.

“We are just thinking about getting as many points as possible because we never know what might happen, but hopefully nothing else will happen with processes.”

Selles added: “We have been talking about how the team has been growing and maturing and today we did the job in the first half and then you could not expect us to dominate for the 100 minutes.

“They had good players to send on at half-time and they made it difficult for us over a period of 15-20 minutes but after that we regained control and we finished strongly.

“We enjoyed the victory and we enjoyed celebrating with our fans because we go all in and they enjoy that.

“Sometimes we don’t get what we want and sometimes we do but there is no doubt we go all in every single time we play.

“The way we do things is exciting for the fans and the way we play is good for the fans and the way we have connected is great.”

While Reading fans celebrated victory, Rovers fans booed their side at the final whistle following a record-extending seventh game without a goal

Manager Matt Taylor said he understood their frustration but asked for the poor run to be seen in context.

“It is understandable because they don’t like what they see at the moment but they are not alone in that,” Taylor said.

“As the manager I have to find a way to make the team function better than we did tonight.

“Moments in the game just dictate everything and certainly the weakness within us to concede that first goal in the manner we did is so frustrating.

“And then they were on top of us because they understand the situation and they don’t like what they see.

“But there is a deeper story. We all know the elephant in the room as regards where players are going to be towards next season.

“But there are still four games left this season so there is enough to play for to show their pride because the supporters want to see fight and endeavour.

“They probably saw that at the start of the second half, which is close to what I want to see out on the pitch, but they didn’t like the way it derailed towards the end.”

Charlton boss Nathan Jones was disappointed with his side’s defensive work in Tuesday night’s 2-2 League One draw with Wigan.

The Addicks had gone ahead in the 20th minute when Wigan captain Charlie Hughes sliced a long ball from Macaulay Gillesphey into his own net.

But Charlton’s soft underbelly was on show again just after the hour mark, when two goals in four minutes from Charlie Kelman turned the game around.

Chuks Aneke was able to rescue a point, but only Carlisle have fewer League One clean sheets than Charlton.

“This team hasn’t kept many clean sheets,” he said. “There’s been three managers now and no one’s kept clean sheets, me included.

“That’s something that we need to address and we’ve got to be better at because I don’t want us to have to score three goals at home to win a football game,” he continued.

“It’s either work or personnel. We’ll do lots of work and if the work doesn’t do it then we’ll change personnel.”

The Charlton boss was also disappointed with his team’s finishing.

“We created enough to have punished them tonight,” he said. “If that’s 4-2 or 5-2 then no one’s moaning, no one’s saying ‘we’ve got lucky there’.

“We’ve had 20 shots tonight. We’ve had double their shots, double their shots on target. It shows that we’ve had a right go tonight. The fans want three points but they’ve seen a team that’s proper front-footed tonight.

“But when you don’t put them away, then it’s a 2-2 game – and that wasn’t a 2-2 game.”

Shaun Maloney could have been forgiven for having his mind on other matters, given that his wife gave birth to their daughter on Monday.

“I just about made it here today, so it wasn’t the normal preparation,” said the Wigan manager.

“We knew this was obviously coming at some point and I thought the staff did a really good job today and yesterday. All of them.

“I just want to thank the senior players. They really stepped up today.”

It was a spirited performance from the Latics, who had to suffer but came out with a point. Maloney was pleased with the second half in particular.

“We were under real big pressure,” he said. “We’re 1-0 down, the first five minutes were really difficult. To then play the way that we did, I really liked.”

Maloney was full of praise for the man who turned the game around.

He added: “He’s had to be patient, Charlie. It’s tough. I’m a really big fan of his.

“I think there’s loads more to come. Physically, in the first two or three weeks he got up to speed. I just really like his movement. I love him out of possession. He knows what I think of him.

“Tonight was really big for him.”

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley insists the Seasiders are poised to capitalise on any League One slip-ups following a 1-0 win over their relegation-threatened local rivals Fleetwood.

The Seasiders snatched Fylde Coast derby bragging rights thanks to Jake Beesley’s first-half header at Bloomfield Road.

Jay Lynch kept Fleetwood in the game with his superb save from Shayne Lavery’s penalty in the 77th minute.

Victory marked Blackpool’s first win over the Cod Army since December 2020 as they closed the gap between themselves and the play-off spots to three points.

Critchley said: “It’s a big win for us for a lot of reasons. We know how much this fixture means to the fans.

“We knew [to reach the play-offs] that we would probably have to win all four of our remaining matches and that’s the first one out of the way.

“It’s out of our hands at the moment and our aim going into each game is to win and get three points. If we can do that then we can hopefully capitalise on any slip-ups from the teams above us.”

The Blackpool boss defended Lavery for his penalty miss and switched the focus to their next clash against Carlisle at the weekend.

“Look, everybody misses penalties,” he said. “Nobody misses them on purpose. Shayne, unfortunately, missed his. But thankfully it didn’t come back to cost us.

“Derbies are always intense, scrappy affairs. They’re nervy. We’re pleased to get the three points and we move onto Saturday now.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves.”

Fleetwood’s Tommy Lonergan thought he had found a crucial equaliser at the death but celebrations were cut short when his goal was ruled offside.

Manager Charlie Adam stood firm that his side will not give with Fleetwood six points off safety with just four games remaining.

He said: “It’s a disappointing result and we’re disappointed we’ve come away with nothing.

“We came here with a game plan and I thought we stuck to that very well. It’s a game that we came into thinking we could win.

“I’m proud of them, really proud of them. I’m proud that they have come here and shown some personality.

“I said to them before the game that we needed personality and bravery on the ball and they’ve shown that.

“They fought for this jersey, fought for this football club right until the very end and sadly it wasn’t to be tonight.

“It will be the same Saturday and it will be the same for the last four games, we won’t give in.

“We will be here until the end and we will keep fighting. There is absolutely no doubt about that.”

Neill Collins is confident play-off chasing Barnsley can overcome their recent struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Stevenage leaves them looking over their shoulder at a crucial time in the season.

Goals from Jamie Reid and Dan Butler either side of the break earned Boro victory and they now sit within three points of sixth-placed Oxford, albeit having played a game more.

Barnsley, who had taken the lead through Adam Phillips’ 30th-minute strike, are precariously in fifth having taken just eight points from their last eight games, hitting a difficult patch of form at a crucial stage.

But Collins assured supporters it is only a matter of small margins to get them back on track.

He said: “People might make more of it than it is. We are disappointed with some of the recent results but I don’t think it will take a lot to turn it around.

“This is the first time we have lost two consecutive games since the third and fourth game of the season. The players have been really resilient and it was going to be tough tonight.

“There is no getting away that the recent run of results we have had, especially with the fixtures we have had, it’s not been good enough.

“I think we have been very consistent prior to that and I think we will get that back. At times we have been victims of our own mistakes but I think we need to not blow everything about proportion.

“We need to concentrate on getting the small margins back in our favour because I think that’s all it is.”

Victory for Stevenage brought an eight-game winless streak to an end. And with Steve Evans’ side playing Oxford next and the U’s also playing seventh-placed Lincoln, he believes Boro are still in with a chance of breaking back into the play-off spots.

He said: “Not often do I say that I’m prepared to lose, but I’m prepared to lose in a major way to try and win.

“The players just knew the mission for tonight was to get the three points and they got them and have gone in quietly. We will regroup and freshen up for Saturday.

“We have to win every game. We have been on the wrong end of some tough stuff and I said to them at half-time we can play eight up front tonight because that will be the way it will be.

“The managers that fail at this level continuously are not prepared to lose, but you have to be prepared to lose to win games.

“Neil Harris and Neil Warnock are specialists at it because in their heart they try to win and that is in me.”

Richie Wellens blamed his side’s lack of experience after his Leyton Orient side, who finished with 10 men, drew 2-2 with Exeter at Brisbane Road.

Orient were holding a comfortable two-goal lead with Ollie O’Neill and substitute George Moncur on the scoresheet.

But the context of the game changed when Brandon Cooper was forced off with injury during the second half leaving Orient, who had already used all their substitutes, to battle out the final 20 minutes a man down.

Orient were then penned in and around their own penalty area and the Grecians finally broke through a resilient rearguard action with a Millenic Alli header before Will Aimson got the final touch to Tommy Carroll’s shot to salvage a point.

“I thought it wasn’t a great game in terms of quality,” said Wellens.

“Both teams gave too many turnovers, especially us. When we go into a 2-0 lead and down to 10 men, it’s a problem. But it should only be a small problem and we just lacked experience.

“The schedule and the amount of extra time we’ve played is hard for everyone and I think every single club have lost a lot more players this season. For us, losing another two players to injury tonight was not ideal. We always wanted to give Dan Agyei half an hour but losing two players made us run the risk with substitutions.

“We’ve got certain players out of contract and some players are not improving, so we’ve got some decisions to make in the summer.

“The game tonight was comfortable for us but the injuries and the lack of bodies we had before tonight was severe. But it’s extreme now, we’ll have a patched-up team for Derby on Saturday.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell admitted it was a hard-earned point.

“We had to work extremely hard for the point to come back from behind,” he acknowledged.

“I thought the first half was fairly even. We started the game well but then Orient came back into it. I wanted a bit more intensity and I thought we got that second half.

“The two goals we gave away were extremely poor from our point of view and they didn’t create many chances outside of them.

“Late on I thought we created enough chances to win the game, so it was great fight and spirit from us to keep the unbeaten run going. It’s another point on the board but we wanted more so we now need to look at the remaining three games to see what we can take out of them.

“We put a lot of balls into their box and it was a backheel I think from our centre-half Will Aimson for the equaliser from a brilliant short corner, but at that moment we were creating lots of opportunities.

“But to be 2-0 down and come back, I’m delighted.”

Darrell Clarke admitted his Cheltenham side are “falling at the last hurdle” in their survival bid after they went down 1-0 at home to already-relegated Carlisle.

Sam Lavelle’s first-half goal was enough to seal the points for the Cumbrians, whose fate was sealed by a 2-0 defeat at Northampton last Saturday.

Cheltenham knew a win would lift them out of the bottom four for the first time since mid-August, but they came up short and Clarke admitted he is scratching his head over the performance.

“I am very disappointed with our performance and with the whole night,” Clarke said.

“Yet again, after a poor first half, I am searching for answers and I am not coming up with the right solutions at the minute.

“The group is lacking a bit of confidence, but it’s no excuse and I’ll take responsibility as manager.

“We are falling at the last hurdle as things stand, and that’s not acceptable after working so hard to give ourselves a platform to stay in this division.

“I have to get better, the group has to get better as well and we have to give our supporters a lift come 3pm on Saturday (at home to Bristol Rovers).”

Carlisle were the better side during a cagey first half.

Joe Nuttall missed a good opportunity to give Cheltenham the lead in the sixth minute, side-footing wide after Liam Sercombe’s pass.

Georgie Kelly saw a shot saved by Luke Southwood at the other end and Luke Armstrong fired wide of the near post.

Jack Armer blasted over the bar for the Cumbrians, but the deadlock was broken three minutes before half-time.

Jack Robinson’s corner was headed back across goal by Ben Barclay and Lavelle touched it in from close range.

Cheltenham sent on four substitutes at half-time and changed formation, resulting in some early pressure on the visitors’ goal.

But goalkeeper Harry Lewis was rarely troubled and Southwood had to fly at full stretch to keep out a looping effort from Jon Mellish in the 77th minute.

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was pleased with his side’s attitude.

“It was one of those games where we had to roll our sleeves up, put our tin hats on and defend for our lives and that’s what we did,” he said.

“I was really pleased with so many things in what has been a tough time for us.

“It was a good goal and then we had to hang on because Cheltenham are fighting for their lives.

“It’s a good result and makes the journey home more enjoyable. I’m still adamant I want the players to do something now at home for our fans as they’ve been starved of a good 90 minutes. We now have two home games to do that.

“It’s been really painful what we’ve been through this year, but the truth is we just haven’t been good enough.

“I think the players who are still here next year will be better for the experience.”

Exeter scored twice in the final eight minutes to earn a point as Leyton Orient were forced to play out the final stages with 10 men due to Brandon Cooper’s injury.

Ollie O’Neill and George Moncur scored for the hosts but the Grecians salvaged a point through Millenic Alli and Tommy Carroll.

The deadlock was broken in the 36th minute by O’Neill, who scored direct from a corner on the left when his set-piece delivery eluded everyone in a crowded penalty area and found the far corner of the net.

The Os doubled their lead in the 64th minute when O’Neill intercepted an intended clearance and fed unmarked substitute Moncur, who slotted the ball home from close range.

After Orient, having used all five substitutes, were reduced to 10 men by the loss of Cooper, Exeter camped in and around the opposition penalty area and reduced the deficit when substitute Alli headed home on 88 minutes.

Four minutes later, a Carroll shot nestled in the back of the net from a deflection off an Orient player.

Charlton extended their unbeaten run to 12 games as they celebrated their longest streak in nearly 13 years with a 2-2 League One draw against Wigan.

In the 20th minute, Alfie May pressed for an opener and he caused Wigan captain Charlie Hughes to slice a clearance up and over goalkeeper Sam Tickle and into his own net.

Wigan had been second best but turned the game on its head just after the hour mark. First – in the 62nd minute – Charlie Kelman touched home to equalise after on-loan Fulham winger Martial Godo’s deflected shot fell his way.

Four minutes later, Kelman completed his brace via a close-range shot which deflected off Macaulay Gillesphey.

But 11 minutes from time, Charlton hit back through substitute Chuks Aneke, who headed home from a George Dobson cross.

It is now just one victory in six for the Latics, who have not won away from home in nearly two months.

Charlton, meanwhile, look a different side under Nathan Jones and moved up to 14th as a result.

Dan Butler’s second-half goal helped Stevenage reignite their play-off hopes with a 2-1 comeback victory against promotion-hopefuls Barnsley.

Boro were initially left to rue missed chances when Adam Phillips hit a lofted shot to put the Tykes ahead, but Jamie Reid levelled as the break approached and Butler secured victory with a powerful free-kick.

Stevenage find themselves three points off the play-off places, while Barnsley remain firmly in fifth position with three games left to play.

Barnsley’s Liam Roberts had an impact at both ends of the pitch as he stopped shots from Aaron Pressley and Elliott List.

The Tykes’ goalkeeper then punished Boro’s profligacy by finding Phillips behind Stevenage’s static defence and the midfielder fired past Craig MacGillivray to open the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Boro levelled in first-half stoppage time when Reid skipped past Phillips and drilled a shot home to score their first goal in 317 minutes.

And their second quickly followed after the break when Butler’s free-kick crept through Barnsley’s wall. Reid cannoned a shot against a post late on as Stevenage edged to an important victory.

Bristol Rovers were booed off by their own fans as Reading eased their own relegation worries with a 2-0 win at the Memorial Stadium.

First-half goals from Sam Smith and Lewis Wing were enough to secure victory as Rovers stretched their record-breaking run of games without a goal to seven.

Smith put Reading on course for an ultimately comfortable victory in the eighth minute with his 13th goal of the season.

His close-range header beat Jed Ward’s despairing dive after Tyler Bindon flicked on Amadou Mbengue’s long throw.

Ward denied Harvey Knibbs with a fine save before Wing doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time when his 25-yard free-kick found the top left-hand corner.

Rovers boss Matt Taylor saw his team raise their game after the break as veteran striker Chris Martin and winger Scott Sinclair joined the fray.

Substitute Brandon Aguilera went close for the hosts but was denied by goalkeeper Joel Pereira as Reading banished any lingering relegation worries.

Blackpool secured bragging rights over relegation-threatened Fylde Coast neighbours Fleetwood with a 1-0 victory.

The Seasiders boosted their hopes of a play-off place thanks to Jake Beesley’s first-half effort and a missed Shayne Lavery penalty at Bloomfield Road.

Neil Critchley’s side are three points off the top six.

Beesley nodded home the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute as he got on the end of CJ Hamilton’s fine cross.

Jay Lynch denied the hosts two minutes later when he kept out George Byers’ stinging strike.

After the break, Byers squandered a great chance when he fired wide before Beesley also fluffed his lines.

Lavery, who was brought down inside the box, saw his 77th-minute penalty superbly saved by Lynch.

Charlie Adam’s side failed to take advantage to rescue a point in their survival fight as Fleetwood sit six points off safety with just four games left.

Sam Lavelle’s first-half goal earned already-relegated Carlisle a 1-0 victory at Cheltenham, denting the home side’s survival bid.

Cheltenham knew a win would lift them out of the bottom four in League One for the first time since mid-August, but Carlisle were the better side during a cagey first half.

Joe Nuttall missed a good opportunity to give Cheltenham the lead in the sixth minute, side-footing wide after Liam Sercombe’s pass.

Georgie Kelly saw a shot saved by Luke Southwood at the other end and Luke Armstrong fired wide of the near post.

Jack Armer blasted one over the bar for the Cumbrians, but the deadlock was broken three minutes before half-time.

Jack Robinson’s corner was headed back across goal by Ben Barclay and Lavelle touched it in from close range.

Cheltenham sent on four substitutes at half-time and changed formation, resulting in some early pressure on the visitors’ goal.

But goalkeeper Harry Lewis was rarely troubled and Southwood had to fly at full stretch to keep out a looping effort from Jon Mellish in the 77th minute.

Darren Moore felt his Port Vale side “could and should have taken maximum points” at Wigan after the sides shared the spoils in a Sky Bet League One 0-0 stalemate.

Wigan’s Martial Godo came closest to breaking the deadlock, only to fire against a post in the second half.

At the other end, Wigan were indebted to England Under-21 goalkeeper Sam Tickle for pulling off, in the words of Moore, “an outstanding double save” to deny James Plant and Baylee Dipepa.

The point lifts Vale out of the relegation zone, and Moore says that will give them a “psychological boost” for their last five games of the campaign.

“It’s a good day for us at Port Vale, getting the clean sheet and how valuable that point is in terms of the psychological boost of getting out of that bottom four,” he said.

“While we’ll take that today, we know the work isn’t nearly finished, it’s only given us a platform.

“And we have to continue to perform, keep that togetherness, and keep that unity going forward.

“As a group we certainly feel we could and should have taken maximum points, but their goalkeeper has pulled off an outstanding double save.

“The first one, he was going the other way, and then he gets up and makes another save.

“Credit to him for earning them a point, but I just thought both teams were at it, both teams were pressing on, and it was a good footballing match.

“We pressed them high up the pitch, and I liked the way we played on them, and forced errors, which we should have capitalised more on.

“Overall it was a solid performance, and you’re always happy with a clean sheet away from home.”

For Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, it was a third game in a row where his side have failed to beat a relegation-threatened side, after a home draw with Burton and a defeat at Cambridge.

“It wasn’t too bad, it was just OK,” he said. “I know it finished 0-0, but both teams had chances.

“The first 20 minutes was OK, but for the next 25 minutes we became a bit toothless really.

“The second half was a bit better, we had chances to score, as did they…the overall performance was just OK.

“In terms of effort and the mentality of the players – something I really challenged the players on – I couldn’t ask for any more.

“Port Vale are desperate for points, and they went very aggressive during parts of the game.

“When that happens, you have to use the forward passes enough, we just didn’t recognise when to play the forward pass.

“I liked the way the three centre-backs (Charlie Hughes, Charlie Goode and Jason Kerr) played, the forwards they have are good players and I never felt in massive, massive danger from open play.

“Sam Tickle has also made an amazing double save, and he’s just a brilliant player.

“I say it every week, but there always seems to be a moment where Sam influences the result, and that was the case again.

“Those four players were the stand-outs for me.”

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