Section: Football

Championship: Brighton 0-2 Bournemouth

Bournemouth edged closer to promotion to the Premier League after second-half goals from Yann Kermorgant and Callum Wilson sealed victory over Brighton.

The Cherries moved four points clear with four games left, but Norwich and Watford can close the gap on Saturday.

In a match of few chances Leon Best had Brighton’s best effort with his tame effort straight at Artur Boruc.

However, Kermorgant’s stunning 25-yard free-kick and Wilson’s cool finish from close range secured the points.

With five points covering the top four, the promotion race threatens to go to the last game of the season but Bournemouth will reach the top flight if they win their remaining fixtures.

Brighton remain 19th and are still nine points above the relegation zone, although Millwall in 23rd place have two games in hand.

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Conference: Alfreton 0-2 Grimsby

Grimsby kept pace in the hunt for automatic promotion with victory at struggling Alfreton Town.

Grimsby debutant Josh Gowling broke the deadlock midway through the second half, firing Jack Mackreth’s cross into the bottom corner.

Mackreth then hit a post with an angled shot from the edge of the area and Alfreton striker Karl Hawley steered a close-range effort onto the crossbar.

Lenell John-Lewis headed home Craig Clay’s cross to secure the points.

The Mariners remain three points behind league leaders Barnet while Alfreton stay in 20th, six points above the bottom four.

Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside:

“I felt we started the game right and then it slowed a bit, but that was the problem.

“I think the lads felt like they were in control, but it was too slow.

“The longer it went on I did feel that our fitness and fresh legs would come through and again I think that showed.”

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League 2: Hartlepool 0-1 Southend

Southend United boosted their chances of League Two automatic promotion with victory against in-form Hartlepool.

The visitors almost took the lead early on when Barry Corr broke through on goal but sent his effort just wide.

Southend took the lead just after the restart when Will Atkinson fired past home goalkeeper Scott Flinders.

Pools pressured for a late equaliser and were unlucky not to take a point when Dan Jones’s volley was diverted onto the underside of the bar.

The result was Hartlepool’s first loss in six matches but they sit precariously just one point and one place off the League Two relegation places.

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Championship: Ipswich 1-1 Bournemouth

Substitute Kenwyne Jones struck on his Bournemouth debut to salvage a point away to Ipswich Town.

The striker, on loan from Cardiff, had been on for just over three minutes when he headed in from a corner.

Freddie Sears had put the home side ahead early on, and goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski had preserved their lead with several important saves.

The Cherries pressed for a late winner with Bialkowski saving deep into added time but had to settle for a point.

Trinidad and Tobago international Jones had admitted to being “surprised” by his move from south Wales to the south coast having scored 13 times.

But his deft header could prove to be vital in Bournemouth’s bid to be promoted to the Premier League for the first time.

They had been replaced as Championship leaders by Middlesbrough earlier in the day, and the draw at Portman Road kept them in second place before Derby’s evening meeting with Watford.

Ipswich’s point put them into the play-off places ahead of Derby v Watford, and they were ahead after just six minutes when Sears found the top corner for his fifth goal since joining from Colchester in January.

Bialkowski helped keep Ipswich ahead with some fine saves, twice denying long-range efforts from Ryan Fraser.

Matt Ritchie also tested Ipswich’s Polish keeper from distance, with Fraser scuffing his follow-up shot wide.

Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc used his legs to thwart Luke Varney, and the on-loan Pole’s save proved vital when Jones equalised shortly afterwards.

The ex-Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke striker cleverly guided Ritchie’s corner past Bialkowski, who prevented Bournemouth enjoying a dramatic win with a brilliant save to deny Yann Kermorgant in injury time.

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League 2: Southend 2-0 Mansfield

Barry Corr’s eighth goal in nine games helped Southend United beat Mansfield and kept alive their slim League Two automatic promotion hopes.

Michael Timlin’s pass allowed Corr to lift the ball past Lenny Pidgeley before Will Atkinson tucked in a rebound for the second.

Vadaine Oliver’s header against the bar was as good as it got for Mansfield, who are six points above the drop zone.

Southend are eight points off third-placed Wycombe, with a game in hand.

Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray told BBC Radio Nottingham:

“We gave everything we could, but we came up against a side that were better than us in certain areas.

“We matched them for large parts, but we got punished for little errors like we have done for the majority of the season.”

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Football: Italy 1-1 England

Andros Townsend’s spectacular strike gave an experimental England line-up a creditable draw against Italy in Turin.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle’s first-half header looked to have put Italy on course for victory in this friendly as England struggled to get to grips with the changes made by manager Roy Hodgson after Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier win against Lithuania.

England, however, were lifted by the introduction of several substitutes and Townsend capped a second-half display that merited a draw. The Tottenham winger’s rising 20-yard drive 11 minutes from time gave Italy’s veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon no chance.

Hodgson’s side then ended the game on top and only a fine save from Buffon stopped England captain Wayne Rooney – who had earlier hit the bar – from adding to his total of 47 goals for his country and closing even further on Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 49.

The experiment of using Phil Jones in midfield failed dismally and he reverted to defence when Chris Smalling went off ill just before half-time. Similarly, it was a wasted night for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, misused in a forward role rather than on the wing.

There were pluses too, however, with an excellent cameo from Everton’s Ross Barkley and a composed performance from Michael Carrick when he replaced Smalling.

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Euro 2016 Qualifier: Northern Ireland 2-1 Finland

Kyle Lafferty scored both goals as Northern Ireland beat Finland to boost their chances of a first major finals appearance since the 1986 World Cup.

With four wins from five games, they trail Romania by a point at the top of Euro 2016 Qualifying Group F.

Lafferty scored with a right-foot volley and then made it five goals from five qualifiers with a guided header.

Berat Sadik grabbed a late consolation for the Finns after Roy Carroll spilled Roman Eremonko’s initial drive.

Michael O’Neill’s side are four points clear in the second automatic qualification place after Hungary were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Greece.

Group leaders Romania, Northern Ireland’s only conquerors to date, visit Belfast on 13 June.

Lafferty’s two goals have taken his total in qualifying to five – joint-second with Germany’s Thomas Muller and Israel’s Omar Damari, and one behind Danny Welbeck of England.

The striker’s form for his country contrasts with a tough season at club level, having been sent out on loan to Turkish side Caykur Rizespor in February after struggling at Championship side Norwich City.

Northern Ireland boss O’Neill made a major selection call by leaving out Brighton defender Aaron Hughes, with the 35-year-old primed to overtake David Healy as his country’s most capped outfield player.

The match pitted the Northern Ireland boss against a familiar figure as his Finnish counterpart, Mixu Paatelainen, was the man who gave him his coaching break as his number two at Scottish club Cowdenbeath.

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Euro 2016 Qualifier: Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar

Steven Fletcher scored Scotland’s first hat-trick for 46 years as they recorded an emphatic victory over Gibraltar.

Shaun Maloney netted a penalty before Gibraltar stunned Hampden with their first competitive goal.

However, Fletcher restored the lead before Maloney tucked away another penalty and Steven Naismith got Scotland’s fourth.

The Scots laboured through the second half until Fletcher headed home and curled in for Scotland’s sixth.

That hat-trick – the first since Colin Stein netted four against Cyprus in 1969 – gave Scotland their biggest win since beating the Faroe Islands 6-0 in 2006.

The result means Gordon Strachan’s side keep pace with Germany, who beat Georgia 2-0 and, like Scotland, move on to 10 points, with Poland and the Republic of Ireland playing later in the evening.

Strachan had hinted beforehand at a change of system against a team who had conceded 21 and scored none in their four previous competitive fixtures.

And so it proved as he played just one central defender in Russell Martin, opting to load the attacking areas in the quest for goals.

But Scotland found Gibraltar awkward opponents, struggling to find a sufficiently high tempo or a crispness of passing to pick the lock of a well-drilled and stuffy side.

As they began to exert their authority, Fletcher might have had a penalty and moments later Maloney did, using his experience to dangle a trailing leg into the Gibraltar keeper Jamie Robba.

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Euro 2016 Qualifier: Israel 0-3 Wales

Wales leapfrogged Israel at the top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group as two goals from Gareth Bale inspired a hugely impressive win that leaves them well placed to reach next summer’s finals in France.

Manager Chris Coleman had described this match as Wales’ most important since the Euro 2004 play-off defeat by Russia in 2003.

And with three wins and two draws from their first five matches, this is Wales’ best start to a campaign since that ill-fated bid 12 years ago as they attempt to reach a first major finals since the 1958 World Cup.

Victory against an Israeli side who had won all three of their previous qualifiers must rank as the finest of Coleman’s three-year tenure.

The visitors had the better of the first half in Haifa and took a deserved lead as Aaron Ramsey headed in from Bale’s flick-on just before the break.

The Real Madrid star doubled their advantage with a superb, swerving free-kick from the edge of the area soon after the restart and, a minute later, Israel’s Eytan Tibi picked up a second booking for fouling Bale as Wales took control.

He then added a final gloss with a sweeping finish late on as Coleman’s side moved two points clear at the summit of Group B.

Wary of their in-form opponents and a hostile atmosphere at a packed Sammy Ofer Stadium, Coleman reverted to a 5-3-2 formation that allowed him to give Bale a roaming role in attack.

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Euro 2016 Qualifier: England 4-0 Lithuania

Harry Kane scored 79 seconds into his England debut and Wayne Rooney moved a step closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goal scoring record in a routine Euro 2016 dismissal of Lithuania at Wembley.

Kane – with 29 goals for Tottenham this season – emerged as a substitute after 70 minutes with England already on the way to a fifth win from five qualifiers with goals from Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling.

The stage was set for the 21-year-old but even the man with the Midas touch in front of goal this season would have struggled to believe he would score with his third touch as a full England international, heading in Sterling’s cross at the far post.

It was the final flourish on an England win that was little more than a formality in a group that surely provides the safest of passages to France next summer.

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