Matchday 44 of the 2021-22 EFL League One season was full of surprises as fans were pleased to see big games on display. It was a rollercoaster ride for everyone with teams and players shining bright to push their hopes of a big win to add to their tally.
The Easter weekend was more of a promising stretch of games with half of the games ending up in a draw. This just shows how intense the games were heading into the season’s closing stretch. It also proves that all of them are a crucial part of how one club can end up being promoted or relegated.
English football is known to be one of the most promising leagues in the world. Teams have stepped up their play looking for a chance to prove their worth as one of the deserving clubs to be promoted.
Matchday 44 was more intense than it should have been. Most of these games were expected to be an easy win for the favourite clubs, but it seems that the underdogs are also keen to prove their point. This is what makes League One exciting to watch especially in the closing stretch.
Here are the highlights for Matchday 44 of EFL League One:
AFC Wimbledon vs Wycombe Wanderers, 1-1
This matchup was one of the most intense games of the league. It was more of a disappointment at the end but it also showed that neither team would give in. A goal from Jack Rudoni in the 21st minute gave Wimbledon the lead before they gave up a crucial play from Adebayo Akinfenwa in the 80th minute.
Wimbledon had nine shots in the game but only two of them on target. They held the ball for 42% of the game while dishing out a total of 269 passes for 56% accuracy. Wycombe, on the other hand, went for 17 shots but only had five of those close to the bottom of the net. The team held the ball for 58% of the game but only managed to tally 361 passes on 71% accuracy. It was one of the most physical games for Easter week as both clubs combined for a total of 28 fouls.
Wycombe’s unbeaten run continues at five games in a row and holds the sixth seed in the league. Wimbledon, on the other hand, have not yet won a single game in the last five with three losses and two draws.
Plymouth Argyle vs Sunderland, 0-0
As intense as this goalless game could get, both clubs showed up with an intense defence on both ends as they did not allow each other to get a good look at the goal. While it was an unsettling score for both teams, this ended well for both teams in the top five race. Plymouth attempted a total of seven shots, but only had one good look that barely missed the left side of the net. They held the ball for 43% and made a total of 366 passes on 78% accuracy. Sunderland, on the other hand, had 10 shots with two almost making it to the net for a win.
They dominated the ball with 57% possession but could not convert them into meaningful possessions. They had 492 passes in the game and went for 83% accuracy. That was a wasted chance for Sunderland to keep a strong pace going towards the end of the season. Plymouth continues to struggle in getting a big win in the last five games. Sunderland, however, snapped its three-game win streak but kept a winning run in the last five to stay on par in the sixth seed.
Shrewsbury vs Doncaster, 3-3
Perhaps the most intense draw of the week was the battle between Shrewsbury and Doncaster as it ended up in a 3-3 affair. Goals from Daniel Udoh, Ryan Bowman, and Shaun Whalley hammered Doncaster and gave Shrewsbury a three to nil lead before halftime. Doncaster was fueled in the second half and managed to storm back to tie the game. The club came alive after scoring goals from Mipo Odubeko, Reo Griffiths, and Kyle Knoyle. Knoyle’s tying goal came four minutes into injury time.
Shrewsbury had 19 shots for the whole game. Eight of those were so close to being a made goal. The team held the ball for 44% of the game but managed to tally a nimble amount of 341 passes for 71% accuracy.
Doncaster, on the other hand, had 17 shots and eight on target. They had the ball for most of the game with 56% and capitalised on the big momentum they had in the second half after making 437 passes on 75% accuracy.
Bolton vs Accrington Stanley, 3-1
While the first three games ended up in a draw, this win by Bolton came by a big margin as they hammered Stanley 3-1. Oladapo Afolayan scored the first blood for Bolton in the 42nd minute before Jay Rich-Baghuelou nailed one to tie it up in the 50th minute.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came alive in the second half for Bolton, scoring two big goals that broke the tie and gave them the win. That brace by JDB was a huge story for Bolton as they scurried back into the 10th place after winning back to back games and two of the last five.
Bolton had 17 shots for the whole game and only had three of them on target. They held the upper hand in ball possession with that second half burst for 57% and had 373 passes on 73% pass accuracy.
Stanley, on the other hand, had 16 shots but almost had seven goals if it wasn’t for the stingy Bolton defence. Most of them were either blocked or went too far from the net. They had the ball for 43% of the game and made 285 passes en route to a 65% accuracy.
Sheffield Wednesday vs Crewe Alexandra, 1-0
Sheffield kept their five-game unbeaten run alive with a 1-0 clean sheet win against Crewe. The team sits tight in the fourth spot of League One as they have gone 4-1-0 in the last five games. The team enjoyed a strong winning penalty kick from Lee Gregory in the 54th minute.
Defence was the key for Sheffield’s clean sheet. The club held Crewe to just one shot for the whole game. They hampered the offence well to force big turnovers and limit Crewe to just 39% on the ball. Crewe only had 362 passes as well but still finished with a strong 71% accuracy.
Sheffield had 19 shots and five of them went on target. They owned the ball for 61% of the game and made 555 passes for a stunning 81% accuracy.
This loss also marks the fourth time in the last five games for Crewe. They have won seven games in 44 matches this season. Now, they are in danger of being relegated with just a few more fixtures left in the 2021-22 run.
Oxford United vs MK Dons, 1-0
Oxford United extended its lead in the eighth place of the League One table with a 1-0 win over MK Dons. The club defeated the third best team in the league and came up with a stunning clutch finish from Billy Bodin, who scored the winning shot in the 86th minute for Oxford.
The Ox found a way to score and beat the odds thanks to their unique 4-3-3 formation. The team had seven shots and two of those went close to the net. They were held to 49% possession of the ball but that did not stop them from going all the way to the big finish in the game. They also had 434 passes on 76% accuracy, which is a strong note in their win.
The Dons were shocked for the whole game. They did have 10 shots in the game and yet only had three of those on target. The club had a 51% possession on the ball but only had a small difference in passes made at 447 on 75% accuracy.
MK Dons have lost back to back games in the last five after going unbeaten in the first three. They are still on par for the second spot in the league. With a few more games left to play, they have a shot at the top spot as well.
Morecambe vs Portsmouth, 1-1
Portsmouth almost had a chance to cut the deficit from Oxford to just five points if they came up with a win against Morecambe. The club already had a 1-0 lead by halftime thanks to a goal from Sean Raggett in the 41st minute. They had a major meltdown in the closing moments of the game as Jonah Ayunga found his way for a quick score in the 93rd minute.
Portsmouth had eight shots and three of those were on target. They held the ball for 58% of the game and even had 452 passes on 72% accuracy. Their game was almost perfect had it not been for that late game meltdown on the defensive end.
Morecambe came back from an 0-1 hole to keep their hopes alive and push away from relegation. The club had 19 shots and most of those attempts came in the second half of the game. They held the ball for 42% and tallied 312 passes en route to a 65% pass accuracy.
The draw leaves Portsmouth tied with Bolton for ninth place in the League One table with just a few more games left. Morecambe, on the other hand, has stayed two points away from the 20th spot at this point.
Gillingham vs Fleetwood, 0-0
While it was a scoreless clean sheet, the game between Gillingham and Fleetwood was hyped with two red cards from Charlie Kelman and Paddy Lane, who had an altercation in the 78th to 79th minute of the game.
Gillingham had 16 shots and six of those went close to the bottom of the net. They also held the ball for 53% and made 358 passes en route to a 56% pass accuracy. That was a great stat line that could have been capped off by a big goal by the end of the game.
Fleetwood, on the other hand, was held to just seven shots but almost had three of those on the net. The club was also limited to just 47% on the ball but managed to make a total of 317 passes with a 52% pass rate. That gave them a good look in the game and could have ended well without the altercation.
The two teams stayed winless in their last four games. Gillingham stays ahead of Fleetwood in the 20th spot and is unbeaten for three games in a row. Fleetwood, on the other hand, has shaken off their back to back losses.
Lincoln City vs Cheltenham, 3-0
Lincoln City took Cheltenham by surprise when they closed out a 3-0 clean sheet win. It was one of the big games for Morgan Whittaker, who scored a brace for Lincoln and gave them a 2-0 lead before Anthony Scully added one more to give them a comfortable edge over Cheltenham.
Cheltenham had a fair chance at the game. They had 11 shots and four of those went on target. Despite having the ball 49% of time, they still managed to pull off 503 passes for a stunning 80% pass rate. The only downside was their 22 foulsled their defence to crumble.
Lincoln was on fire. The team had eight shots on target out of 15 attempts. The team even had a 51% possession of the ball and made 513 passes to come up with an 82% pass rate. Their flawless defence was a huge reason why they found a great groove and kept Cheltenham at bay.
The win snaps a two game losing streak for Lincoln, giving them their second victory in the last five. They are now close to making a run for the 15th spot. Cheltenham, on the other hand, is still struggling to get back on their winning pace after going unbeaten in the last three.
Cambridge United vs Charlton, 0-2
Charlton came up with a huge shocker in their showdown against Cambridge United as they went up 2-0 in the win. Goals from Corey Blackett-Taylor and Conor Washington fueled the late comeback in the second half and gave them a clean sheet win.
Cambridge had 10 shots but was hounded well on the offensive end, only having one shot on target. The team had 49% of the ball and made 339 passes on 68% pass accuracy. They also had nine fouls - which was still efficient for a game that was supposed to be intense.
Charlton, on the other hand, had 14 shots and nine of those went on target. They had 51% hold of the ball and even made 345 passes with a 73% pass accuracy. While they committed 13 fouls, the team still managed to get the scoring on par.
The win by Charlton proved to be a huge success as it gave them their second win in the last five games. They are also closing in on the 10th spot as they hope to reach 60 points by the end of the season.
Burton vs Rotherham, 2-0
Burton came up with a huge beatdown on the second seed in the League One table. Rotherham failed to come up with a goal and have now lost four of their last five games. Burton had goals from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and John Brayford on both halves to close out the big win.
The club had 13 shots and seven of those went on target. The team also had the ball 42% of the time with 238 passes for a 50% pass rate. The 14 fouls gave them trouble and hampered them before actually making a huge ground in the game.
Rotherham battled back in the game but could not convert their shots. The team had 20 attempts and yet only five of them went on target. They held the ball 58% of the time but could not make the most of their chances - having only 313 passes on 59% pass rate.
Burton continues their hot roll in the top 16 as they hope to keep their four-game unbeaten run alive. So far, it has been a storied season for Burton as they keep finding talents that can win them games.
Ipswich Town vs Wigan Athletic, 2-2
Ipswich Town failed to sit in 10th place after failing to hold off Wigan Athletic in their 2-2 draw. The team saw a huge burst with Conor Chaplin’s shot in the 61st minute before adding another behind Sam Morsy’s 73rd minute goal which resulted in a tie. Will Keane recorded his brace when he nailed the tying shot in the 86th minute to save Wigan’s chances.
Despite having 11 shots, Ipswich only had four of those on target and even held the ball at a 63% possession rate. They also had 583 passes on 79% pass rate. Their 12 fouls were the biggest mistake in this game as they committed errors on the defensive end.
Wigan was lucky to get the draw. They were held to just seven shots but five of those went close to the net. The club only had 37% of the ball for the whole game and made a total of 353 passes en route to a 67% pass rate. Wigan still sits at the top of League One for now, and they have not won in their last three games. This can be a huge problem if they keep struggling in the next set of matches. The club’s future in English football hangs in the balance at this point.