Today’s finale to the Championship had a little bit of everything. In addition to the unbelievable endings in the Hull-Cardiff and Watford-Leeds matches, there was the relegation battle to avoid the drop to League One. With Bristol City already relegated and Wolves quickly going two-nil down, it was a race to avoid the final third relegation spot.
During the course of the 90 minutes between Huddersfield and Barnsley, there were points in the match where one team or the other were in the relegation zone if the scores stayed the same in all of the matches. But as it turned out, thanks to a last gasp goal by Crystal Palace against Peterborough, Huddersfield Town and Barnsley knew that if their match continued and ended in a draw then both teams would stay up.
Not surprisingly, the last few minutes of the match were essentially a game of ‘let’s not try to win or score in this match.’ In particular, almost the final 90 seconds of the match were spent by the Barnsley goalkeeper keeping the ball at his feet without one single Huddersfield footballer trying to get it away from him.
At the same time, supporters from both the home and away fans were chanting “We are staying up, we are staying up.”
It just goes to show that clubs are desperate to fight to stay in the division they’re in, and how relegation battles generate some bizarre endings to matches.
Watch the bizarre scenes in the video below, as well as the pitch invasion:
It reminds me of the match between West Germany and Austria from the 1982 World Cup where, if the scoreline had stayed the same, both teams would qualify for the next round. As a result, Austria didn’t try to take the ball away from West Germany, who passed the ball around to kill time much to the fury of Algeria, who were knocked out.