The big winners and losers following a crucial Easter weekend in the EFL

The Winners

Hull City

The League One title race has become extremely exciting over the past few months, with top three Hull, Peterborough and Sunderland all showing great form at the right time. All three sides won on Good Friday, with Hull relying on a dramatic, late winner to get past a determined Crewe performance. 

However, with both their rivals playing each other, Grant McCann knew that a win on Monday would give his side a huge boost going into the final few weeks of the campaign. The Tigers did their job, comfortably sweeping aside struggling Northampton at the KCOM stadium with a dominant display. 

At London Road however, it was much more of a contest, with Lee Johnson’s side leaving it late to grab a crucial equaliser through Aiden McGeady to snatch a point from the hosts. 

This result meant that Hull stretched their gap to third to 5 points, while also now sitting 3 points above second placed Peterborough. This weekend could therefore prove to have been crucial if Hull are to reclaim their Championship status after just one season away.

Portsmouth

With maximum points from their opening four games in charge, what a start it has been in charge of Pompey for the Cowley Brothers. 

Upon Kenny Jackett’s dismissal last month, it looked as if Portsmouth’s play off status may have been in doubt, but six points from their Easter weekend fixtures have meant that they now sit five points above Charlton Athletic in seventh, as they begin to solidify fourth position. 

Their two wins both came against sides fighting for their lives at the bottom, in the forms of Rochdale and Wigan, so both were extremely gritty and impressive. 

Automatic promotion may be slightly out of reach with games running out, but no one will be wanting to play them in the play offs if this form can continue, and there is no reason to suggest it won’t.

Cheltenham Town

If you’d have offered Michael Duff four points at the start of the weekend I’m sure he would’ve took it, and it is four points that have been made even sweeter by the fact the win came against close promotion rivals Tranmere.

Coming off the back of a disappointing defeat against Morecambe, there was huge pressure on Cheltenham in their 2nd vs 3rd matchup with Tranmere. However, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, Town showed their strength, putting out a massive statement by taking apart their rivals defence, and eventually running out 4-0 winners.

On paper the draw with Grimsby on Monday afternoon doesn’t look great, but results elsewhere meant their cushion to fourth was actually extended. Tranmere, Bolton and Forest Green all dropped points, with Cheltenham now sitting 5 points above the play offs, while also having a far superior goal difference.

This weekend’s events now mean it is very hard to see Cheltenham remaining in League Two for next season, with games running out for the chasing pack to catch up.

The Losers

Swansea City

A month ago Swansea were embroiled in a fight for the automatic spots in their efforts to get back into the promised lands of the Premier League, however their charge seems to have hit a brick wall at just the wrong time, with the Swans now on a four match consecutive losing streak.

Before the international break Steve Coopers men were beaten by local rivals Cardiff in their own backyard, so he would’ve been expecting a big reaction from his players, this was exactly the opposite of what he received.

Facing two bottom half sides in Birmingham and Preston, on both occasions Swansea seemed out of ideas and had nothing going forward. Both affairs ended brutally for City, conceding in the final minutes twice, firstly to a penalty at St Andrews and then a Matt Grimes own goal gifted Preston the three points in South Wales.

These results have left Swansea hanging onto their play off spot by their fingertips, sitting just four points above Bournemouth in seventh. If Steve Cooper’s men fail to make it into the play offs, the inquest at the Liberty will be large, as the club ponders how they look to have capitulated at this late stage of the season.

AFC Wimbledon

Wimbledon came into these two fixtures on a four game unbeaten run, looking like they could potentially pull away from the relegation zone. 

However, two defeats for Mark Robinsons men have plunged them right back into it, with their League One status looking increasingly precarious. 

On Friday they travelled to Devon to face Plymouth, but went down early on to a Sam Woods’ goal, a goal they never seemed to recover from. Their struggle for goals continued as they hosted Fleetwood Town on Monday, once again losing 1-0, this time to a painful late winner from Barrie Mckay.

These results see Wimbledon stuck in 22nd, leaving the Dons with eight games to save their season or relegation to the fourth tier will be inevitable.

Forest Green Rovers

Two defeats over the Easter weekend summed up a truly abysmal few weeks for the Nailsworth based outfit, with their automatic promotion ambitions being left in ruins.

Steve Cooper claimed that his Rovers side played well on the ball at Valley Parade, but in truth his players were blown away by Bradford on Friday, as they conceded four for the first time in the entire campaign.

It was a similar dismal display as they hosted Salford on Monday afternoon, allowing veteran Ian Henderson to net a brace for the visitors as he gifted Gary Bowyer his first win in charge of the club.

Rovers have now slipped down to fifth in League Two after being around the automatic places for much of the season so far, their poor form becoming more of a concern as they head into the business end of the season.

Written by Tom Bird