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Club news

Loan watch: Ramsdale and Dons stay up

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale kept a clean sheet, as Wimbledon pulled off their great escape in League One after a 0-0 draw with Bradford.

No more than three months ago, the club were ten points adrift of safety in English football’s third tier but just one defeat in their last 12 games has seen them avoid the drop on goal difference.

On Saturday, Bradford, who were already relegated to League Two, had the best of the chances through Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O'Connor, but Ramsdale reacted well to avert the danger.

While Joe Piggott came close for the Dons, the game finished goalless, sparking wild celebrations for Wally Downes’ side.  

The young ‘keeper was seen celebrating in the stands alongside his teammates, with fans of the south London club staying well beyond the final whistle.

Elsewhere in the EFL, with a play-off position already secured, Tyrone Mings didn’t feature for Aston Villa in their 2-1 defeat to eventual Championship winners Norwich.

Similarly, Connor Mahoney remained on the bench as Birmingham recorded a 0-0 draw with Reading, the side finishing a respectable 17th position in the second tier despite a nine-point deduction earlier in the season. 

The youngster did enjoy a successful weekend off the pitch, though, being named the Blues' Young Player of the Year 

In League Two, Alex Dobre’s Yeovil found themselves already relegated with a game to play, but the striker continued to benefit from game time, playing all 90 minutes of their 0-0 draw with Carlisle. 

It was a similar outcome for Harry Arter and Cardiff, who were relegated from the Premier League after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace. 

The Cherries midfielder did not feature for the Bluebirds. 

North of the boarder, Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the game to give Rangers all three points at Ibrox, as Paul Heckingbottom was defeated for the first time as Hibernian manager following a ten-match unbeaten run.

The striker should have made Rangers’ dominance pay in the 20th minute when a Marcus Tavernier pass sent him through on goal with just the ‘keeper to beat, but the eventual effort went wide.

However, Defoe made his next chance count, firing home Steven Davis’ square ball just before half time for his eighth of the season.

Despite a fifth straight victory for the Gers, it wasn’t enough to keep them in the title race, as Celtic’s win over Aberdeen saw them remain nine points clear with two games to go. 

Mikael Ndjoli’s Kilmarnock also tasted victory after a 1-0 win, theirs coming away from home against Heart of Midlothian.

The striker, despite coming off the bench with just nine minutes remaining, was on the field for Stuart Findlay’s late winner, which moved the side into third and places them in pole position to steal the final European spot ahead of Aberdeen.

St. Mirren’s draw with Motherwell moves them a step closer to a relegation play-off, with the side now four points from safety in the SPL. Jordan Holmes was an unused substitute during the game.

In the Scottish Championship, Charlie Seaman and Keelan O’Connell played against each other for Dundee United and Greenock Morton respectively.

It was the latter who came out on top thanks to Michael Tidser's marvellous free-kick 20 minutes in, however it didn’t matter for Dundee United who finished second and have a play-off to look forward to in the coming week.

Play-offs, however, had begun in the National League and, despite Shaun Hobson missing Eastleigh’s dramatic win over Wrexham to make the semi-finals earlier in the week, he was on the bench for their trip to Salford.

A Paul McCallum equaliser meant that the scores finished 1-1 at the end of normal time, as well as at the end of extra time, before the Spitfires cruelly saw their promotion hopes end with a penalty shootout defeat.

Yet, fellow non-league outfit Poole Town did make it through in a penalty shootout. They defeated Taunton Town, who finished second behind Mark Molesley’s Weymouth, 4-3 on spot kicks.

Under-18s Tom Hanfrey and James Boote were in the matchday squad, with the Dolphins now playing Metropolitan Police in the play-off semi-final on Sunday afternoon.

Finally, it was another good weekend for Seattle Sounders and Brad Smith, as they avoided defeat to Minnesota United.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw, with the left-back, who recently made the MLS Team of the Week, getting another 90 minutes under his belt.

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