LONDON // Burnley will have to wait at least another few days to clinch promotion to the Premier League as Derby stayed in the hunt on Friday.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley moved within touching distance of the top-flight thanks to a 1-0 win at Blackpool, but just hours later Derby beat Doncaster 2-0 to claim the victory they needed to keep their hopes alive.
Michael Kightly’s 49th-minute goal earned the points for Burnley at Bloomfield Road, where fans of struggling Blackpool threw tennis balls onto the field in protest at the current state of their club.
Seasiders player-manager Barry Ferguson also had to deal with coach Bob Malcolm and substitute Steven Dobbie having an altercation on the sidelines as his side slipped closer to the relegation zone.
“It is another part of the business we have taken care of, it’s a big result. That’s 11 away (games) unbeaten and we had to work hard,” Dyche said.
“Cardiff won the division with 87 points last season, so to get 86 with three (games) to go is a powerful message about what we’ve done and what we’re doing. But it’s still not over.”
Unfortunately for Burnley, Steve McClaren’s Derby were too strong for relegation-threatened Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.
George Thorne opened the scoring with a 25-yarder at the end of the first half, but Derby were stronger after the break before Chris Martin diverted in his 19th league goal of the season 11 minutes from the end.
The second placed Clarets are still eight points clear of third placed Derby with three games left, meaning a win at home to play-off contenders Wigan on Monday will seal automatic promotion along with leaders Leicester, who confirmed their own promotion earlier this month.
Elsewhere, Uwe Rosler's Wigan shrugged off last week's FA Cup semi-final defeat against Arsenal and moved closer to confirming their place in the play-offs with a 3-0 win over Reading.
Jordi Gomez – whose spot-kick had given the Latics a shock lead against Arsenal at Wembley last week – lashed home a superb opener on the half-hour as his side cruised to victory over Neil Adkins’ out-of-sorts Royals.
Martyn Waghorn added a second for the home side before half time and Callum McManaman’s strike six minutes after the break effectively sealed a win which strengthened Wigan’s play-off claims and sent their opponents tumbling out of the top six.
Brighton left it late to edge back above the Royals as Bruno Saltor scored his first goal of the season to salvage a vital point in a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield.
Bournemouth’s hopes of moving further into play-off contention suffered a shattering blow as they crashed 4-2 at home to 10-man Sheffield Wednesday.
Blackburn’s unlikely top six prospects also faded despite extending their unbeaten run of nine games with a goalless draw at home to rock-bottom Yeovil.
There was similar frustration at Charlton, who missed the chance to put breathing space between themselves and the bottom three as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Bolton.
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