EFL: Leeds and Sheffield United fight on, Stoke draw 0-0 again and great escapes go on

Leeds United fans celebrate
Leeds United are two points clear in the Championship's final automatic promotion spot

You know when the clocks are about to go forward that the business end of the season is about to be upon us.

So as March comes to an end, its final weekend has given us some captivating promotion fights, impressive bids to dodge the drop and a team on the most boring run in English football for more than a decade.

So here are some of the things from the EFL and beyond you might have missed....

Sheffield United's 12 minutes of misery

Sheffield United's David McGoldrick and Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez display the conflicting emotions in Yorkshire
The agony and ecstasy - Sheffield United's David McGoldrick and Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez display the conflicting emotions in Yorkshire

Sheffield United's home form has been amazing - the Blades had not conceded in seven games at Bramall Lane prior to Saturday's visit of Bristol City and were going for a club record eighth-successive home clean sheet.

Sadly for them, City had not read the script as their hopes of another shutout, and with it a continued place in the Championship's top two, flew away with the Robins.

When Andreas Weimann cancelled out Billy Sharp's early opener, it ended a period of 697 minutes since the Blades' net had last been hit at home by Derby's Harry Wilson - but nobody could have foreseen how the promotion race would change in a 12-minute spell that was to follow in two games just 40 miles apart in Yorkshire.

Top of the Championship

Scott Hogan put the Blades 2-1 up after 71 minutes - while at Elland Road Leeds were trailing 2-1 to lowly Millwall, with Sheffield United seemingly going four points clear of their promotion rivals.

Then Luke Ayling equalised for Leeds, before Weimann levelled for Bristol City for a second time, with the gap now one point in Sheffield United's favour.

And in the 83rd minute of both matches, it swung again as decisive goals went in - Weimann completing his hat-trick for City to put them 3-2 up, while Pablo Hernandez scored his second for Leeds to give them a 3-2 advantage.

That's how it stayed, meaning second-placed Leeds are two points clear of the Blades with seven games left after that dramatic six-point, 12-minute swing.

Wally Downes - the south west London Lazarus

Wally Downes celebrates after AFC Wimbledon's win
Wally Downes has led AFC Wimbledon to 10 wins and four draws in his 24 games in charge

Seven weeks ago AFC Wimbledon were nine points adrift at the bottom of League One - a 2-0 loss at home to Burton seemed to have all but ended their hopes of survival, with the club 10 points from safety.

But a run of six wins in their last nine games now means the Dons have wiped out that 10-point gap, culminating in Saturday's 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Scunthorpe.

AFC Wimbledon are now on 42 points and only in the bottom four by virtue of goal difference after James Hanson's double secured another victory.

Just three points now covers the eight teams from 16th to 23rd place in League One, and with Wimbledon facing fellow strugglers Accrington, Bristol Rovers, Wycombe and Bradford City in their final six games who would bet against them staging a Great Escape?

"Most of the teams we're playing now are around us, so it's just a matter of chalking them off," Downes told BBC Radio London after the match.

"If we can keep winning then we'll get to where we want to be."

Not(ts) dead yet

Notts County celebrate James O'Brien's first-minute opener at Stevenage
James O'Brien' gave Notts County the lead in the first minute at Stevenage

'Hang on', I hear Notts County fans say, 'what about our own Great Escape?'

After last week's stoppage time 1-0 loss at home to 10-man Exeter City, many observers had written the Magpies off - they were three points adrift at the bottom of League Two and had won just once in seven games.

But they roared back on Saturday as a 3-0 win at mid-table Stevenage, coupled with fellow strugglers Macclesfield and Yeovil Town dropping points, saw them move off the bottom of the table and only still in the relegation zone on goal difference.

"We've been the better team in the last four games," remarked manager Neal Ardley to BBC Radio Nottingham.

"The lads are running 20% further than they were when I first arrived. It's huge amounts, 15 or 20km more.

"I don't like it when people accuse the lads of not trying. They're trying their hardest, they're in a pressurised situation and sometimes you miss your chances, a pass goes astray, or the odd player has a bad game.

"I've had a lot of heart-to-hearts and tried to restore their belief. Today the work rate was still there, the organisation that we've had over the last few months was still there and at the moment the boys are in a good place."

No goals for Stoke... again

Stoke City manager Nathan Jones
Reports that this was Nathan Jones' reaction when asked whether a Stoke City goal or a Brexit deal would happen first are unfounded.....

If AFC Wimbledon and Notts County are the Great Escape, then Stoke City must be the EFL's answer to Groundhog Day.

The Potters' last four results? 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0.

Yes, four successive goalless draws, the first side this decade to record such a feat in the top four divisions of English football.

Stoke's latest stalemate, at home to Sheffield Wednesday, equals a mark last set by Arsenal in February 2009.

And if you like goals, then it is best you do not follow the Potters - Nathan Jones' side have scored just four in their last 11 matches and drawn a blank in eight of those games.

However, they are unbeaten in their last eight matches having registered seven draws and one win - a 2-0 victory at home to Nottingham Forest on 2 March - so every cloud does have a silver lining.

Yeovil going down?

Neale Marmon
Neale Marmon did not have a lot to smile about at the final whistle of his first game in temporary charge of Yeovil Town

Staying with the silver screen theme, Yeovil Town fans must think their current form is resembling the final minutes of Titanic.

Darren Way was finally put out of his misery as Glovers boss last Sunday after fan protests at a run of four wins and 18 losses in 24 games.

In stepped first-team coach Neale Marmon, a 57-year-old who has spent most of his time in German football, as caretaker manager.

But the new manager bounce appears to have bypassed Huish Park after the Glovers lost 3-1 at home to Newport County.

With six games to go it looks like it is any two from Yeovil, Notts County and Macclesfield to drop into the National League - can the Glovers avoid the iceberg or will they slip under the icy waters of the North Atlantic?

Bye bye Braintree

Braintree Town emblem
Braintree Town became the first side to be relegated from the National League after one season back in the fifth tier

One team whoever gets relegated from League Two will not be facing next season is Braintree Town.

They joined Premier League side Huddersfield in becoming the first teams in the top echelons of the English football pyramid to be relegated this weekend.

Despite beating Gateshead 2-0 to climb off the bottom of the National League, Dover Athletic's 2-2 draw at high-flying Solihull Moors means the Iron have a 16-point gap to safety with just 15 points to play for.

Miraculously, they were not joined in going down by National League North strugglers Nuneaton Borough.

Having avoided a winding-up order earlier this week, they ended a 15-game winless run with a 4-0 victory at fellow strugglers FC United of Manchester.

They are now 18 points from safety with 18 points to play for - they have to win all their remaining games, hope Guiseley do not pick up another point and benefit from a 34-goal swing in goal difference to stay up.

If that happens then that truly would be a Great Escape!

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