The match was 1-1 on goals from Fulham’s Neeskens Kebano and Cardiff’s Curtis Nielson when halftime sub Lee Tomlin cleaned up a back post mess to give the Bluebirds a second away goal to match Thursday’s hosts.
Fulham is bidding to make its absence from the Premier League a one-year problem, while Brentford has not played first-tier football since the 1946-47 season.
A day after six-seeded hosts Swansea City beat 10-man third-seed Brentford through a late, sweet Andre Ayew strike, fourth-seed Fulham took hold of its playoff tie with a first leg win at Cardiff City.
There is still one spot open for automatic promotion to the Premier League, with West Brom, Brentford and Fulham scrapping to move up from the second-tier, while Welsh rivals Cardiff City and Swansea City are in a ridiculously tight battle for the final playoff spot.
At the bottom, no team has been relegated yet and seven teams are battling to stay out of the bottom three with Hull, Luton, Barnsley, Middlesbrough, Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic all still in danger, while Wigan could also be relegated due to financial problems. In conclusion, and as always, the Championship will be chaos. We love it.
Here’s a look at how to watch and stream the Championship final day action, plus the schedule and standings.
Automatic promotion down to the wire
Leeds have sealed the title but below them it is an almighty battle for second. West Brom know a win at home against QPR on the final day will seal promotion but Slaven Bilic’s side have stumbled in recent weeks, while Brentford were on fire before their recent defeat but still have a chance and so too do Scott Parker’s Fulham. Brentford host relegation battlers Barnsley, so both teams will go all-out for the win, while Fulham travel to Wigan who need a win to try and save themselves from relegation as they are due to be hit with a 12-point deduction at the end of the season due to going into administration. So much on the line for all three teams chasing automatic promotion.
Playoff spot up for grabs
Brentford and Fulham have sealed two of the four playoff spots, while Nottingham Forest are also in barring a ridiculously large swing in goal difference on the final day which would see them losing to Stoke City and Swansea wining big at Reading. As for sixth place, it is a battle between bitter South Wales rivals Cardiff and Swansea. Cardiff occupy the final playoff spot and host Hull City, who need a win to stay up, but a point for Cardiff will seal sixth place. However, if they lose and Swansea win, then Swansea will finish sixth on goal difference as Cardiff are on +7 with Swansea on +6.
Relegation situation is wild
Hull sit bottom and the only hope for them is if they win on the final day and Luton, Barnsley and Wigan don’t win, as Wigan’s 12-point deduction would save Hull. Middlesbrough and Birmingham City should be okay but Lee Bowyer’s Charlton are well in the mix. Adding Wigan’s situation into the mix makes it even crazier as their 12-point deduction will kick in after the final whistle on Wednesday.
Championship final day schedule
Birmingham City v. Derby County
Brentford v. Barnsley
Bristol City v. Preston
Cardiff City v. Hull City
Leeds United v. Charlton Athletic
Luton Town v. Blackburn Rovers
Millwall v. Huddersfield Town
Nottingham Forest v. Stoke City
Reading v. Swansea City
Sheffield Wednesday v. Middlesbrough
West Bromwich Albion v. QPR
Wigan Athletic v. Fulham
How to watch Championship final day: Stream, start time
Here is your guide to the final nine matchdays of the season for England’s second tier.
The top two
Marcelo Bielsa’s Peacocks and Slaven Bilic’s Baggies have 7- and 6-point cushions on third place with nine matches to go, a congested fixture list ready to tax the benches of all of the sides.
The playoff race
Third through sixth in the Championship will contest the playoffs for the third promotion spot to the Premier League.
Third-place Fulham will learn a lot about whether it’s in the race for automatic promotion or just a playoff probability within one week’s time. The Cottagers host fourth-place Brentford at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and go to Leeds one week later.
Fulham has 64 points, six back of second place and nine clear of seventh place. It would be very surprising if the Londoners didn’t keep hold of a playoff spot.
Brentford (60) and Nottingham Forest (60) have five-point advantages on seventh, nice but not too comfortable, while Preston North End’s one-point-above-sixth-place footing is uneven.
Six teams are within two wins of Preston’s 56 points. Seventh-place Bristol City has 55, Millwall and Cardiff City have 54, Blackburn and Swansea City have 53, Derby County has 51, and QPR’s on 50.
Speaking of QPR, USMNT veteran Geoff Cameron is a fixture for Mark Warburton’s London side. The 34-year-old has played 28 times this season.
Derby County has seen a fine season out of Duane Holmes, who has three goals and three assists. Not American, but ex-DC United man Wayne Rooney is Holmes’ teammate.
No American has played more Championship minutes than Fulham’s Tim Ream (3142). Next up are Wigan’s Antonee Robinson (2587) and Hull City’s Eric Lichaj (2546).
Matt Miazga is handling center back duties for Reading, while Cameron Carter-Vickers’ latest loan stint at Luton Town has gone well individually.
Luca De La Torre (Fulham) has seen neglible minutes this season.
English-born MLS and NCAA star Jack Harrison is with Leeds.
The relegation scrap
Three clubs will go down to League One next season. Two of the three teams in the bottom three will need a massive change in fortunes to avoid that fate.
Barnsley is seven points back of 21st and Luton Town sits six points back of safety.
Charlton Athletic is currently in 22nd with 39 points, but it can look to a single win as chance to move ahead of any of the five sides ahead of it (depending on how goal differential goes).
Hull City, Wigan Athletic, and Middlesbrough are just two points above the drop zone, while Stoke City and Huddersfield Town have three-point distances above the drop.
Charlton can pass Hull with a win at the KC Stadium on Saturday, though it’s only other chance to affect a fellow struggler is July 18 versus Wigan.
This week’s schedule
Fulham v. Brentford — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Middlesbrough v. Swansea City — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday
Millwall v. Derby County — 8 a.m. ET Saturday
West Brom v. Birmingham City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Huddersfield Town v. Wigan Athletic — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Hull City v. Charlton Athletic — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Sheffield Wednesday v. Nottingham Forest — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Luton Town v. Preston North End –10 a.m. ET Saturday
QPR v. Barnsley — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Reading v. Stoke City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Blackburn Rovers v. Bristol City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Cardiff City v. Leeds United — 7 a.m. ET Sunday
The English Football League (EFL) have released details on how they plan to play out the Championship, League One and League Two campaigns as promotion and relegation will continue between the second and fifth tiers of English soccer.
The EFL have accepted that it may not be possible to finish the season in the lower leagues and if that is the decision the final table will be determined on unweighted points per game, with promotion and relegation kept in place and a four-team playoff will decide the final team promoted from each division.
Clubs in each league will vote next week on the guidelines, which only need a simple 51 percent majority to be ratified.
After separate leagues met in recent weeks to discuss options, League Two and National League clubs have decided to end their respective seasons, while League One clubs cannot agree on the next step and Championship clubs plan to restart their campaign alongside the Premier League in June.
If points per game is used in League One and League Two, here’s how the top and bottom of the tables will look:
1. Coventry City (promoted automatically)
2. Rotherham (promoted automatically)
3. Wycombe (playoffs)
4. Oxford (playoffs)
5. Portsmouth (playoffs)
6. Fleetwood (playoffs)
21. Tranmere (relegated to League Two)
22. Southend (relegated to League Two)
23. Bolton (relegated to League Two)
Several clubs across the lower leagues in England are in a dire financial situation due to the coronavirus pandemic and curtailing the season would release much-needed funds, as they will not be able to play in safe environments and afford to following the safety and testing protocols needed. However, there is a real concern that the lower leagues may not be able to start the 2020-21 campaign due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Below is a look at the statement in full from the EFL, as they say there is “strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the Regulations and ensure there is consistency in the approach adopted across the EFL in all divisions.
1. Resuming the 2019/20 season with the existing format remains the most appropriate course of action from a sporting integrity perspective, but the Board accepts there are circumstances that may lead to curtailment (as has been demonstrated with League Two) or a situation subsequently transpires whereby the season is unable to conclude.
2. This means that, in the event of an early curtailment:
Final divisional placings should be determined on unweighted points per game (if required).
b. Promotion and relegation should be retained.
c. Play-Offs should be played in all circumstances but should not be extended (beyond four teams).
3. If a scenario arises whereby the Play-Offs cannot be played, the EFL Board will determine the appropriate course of action.
4. The Board considers that the majority required to curtail the 2019/20 season in any division should be 51%. Determining whether or not to curtail the season is a decision for each division to take.
5. The principle of relegation across all three divisions is integral to the integrity of the pyramid, from the Premier League down to the National League, provided we have assurances that the National League will start season 2020/21 (i.e. the relegated Club in League Two has somewhere to play).
6. Any regulatory solution should be relevant and specific to the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and reach a conclusion that is clear and effective with the impact and justifications easy for all stakeholders to understand.