League One: Burton deny Plymouth as Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday win | League One

Adrian Mariappa’s last-gasp header denied League One leaders Plymouth victory as Burton grabbed a late point.

The defender’s equaliser – just his second goal in English football in nine years – secured a 2-2 draw for the hosts after Plymouth looked to have turned the game around. Bobby Kamwa put the Brewers ahead in the first half, but Ryan Hardie’s penalty and a goal from Norwich loanee Bali Mumba put the visitors in front.

Ipswich closed the gap at the top with a 2-0 victory at Exeter. Freddie Ladapo and Marcus Harness struck to give the Tractor Boys a comfortable win, while third-placed Sheffield Wednesday kept in touch as Mark McGuinness’ header was enough to earn a 1-0 home win over Shrewsbury.

The gap between the top three and the chasing pack is now nine points after fourth-placed Peterborough lost 1-0 at Bristol Rovers. Scott Sinclair grabbed the winner for the Pirates before Ronnie Edwards was dismissed for the visitors with 15 minutes left. Barnsley moved into the play-off spots after a 3-1 home win over struggling MK Dons, with Adam Phillips and Herbie Kane securing victory for the Tykes.

Bolton also climbed into the top six after a dramatic late comeback at Fleetwood. Carlos Mendes Gomes’ classy first-half finish put the hosts in front but they conceded twice in the final five minutes, Conor Bradley tapping in from close range before Oladapo Afolayan won it in stoppage time. Daniel Butterworth’s winner earned all three points for Port Vale as they beat Charlton 1-0.

Mark McGuinness heads home the winner at Hillsborough.
Mark McGuinness heads home the winner at Hillsborough. Photograph: Barrington Coombs/PA

At the bottom of the table, Forest Green earned a morale-boosting 1-1 draw at Oxford after Harry Boyes’ own goal was cancelled out by Jamille Matt. Morecambe lost 2-1 at Lincoln, with Joe Walsh and Ben House on target for the Imps, who climb to ninth. The bottom four, which also includes Burton and MK Dons, all have 14 points each.

Harvey Rodgers’ first-half winner gave Accrington a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Cambridge to open a six-point gap above the relegation zone, while Alfie May’s strike earned Cheltenham a 1-0 victory at home to Wycombe.

Quick Guide

League One results


Exeter 0-2 Ipswich, Barnsley 3-1 MK Dons, Bristol Rovers 1-0 Peterborough, Burton 2-2 Plymouth, Cambridge 0-1 Accrington, Cheltenham 1-0 Wycombe, Fleetwood 1-2 Bolton, Lincoln 2-1 Morecambe, Oxford 1-1 Forest Green, Port Vale 1-0 Charlton, Sheff Wed 1-0 Shrewsbury

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League Two: Orient extend lead after Beckles winner

The league leaders, Leyton Orient, came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over in-form Stockport. The Hatters took the lead through Myles Hippolyte in the fifth minute but Darren Pratley equalised 15 minutes later and Omar Beckles netted the winner for the visitors midway through the second half.

Orient have a five-point cushion over their nearest rivals, Stevenage, who thought they had found a winner at Grimsby through Jake Reeves’ goal 11 minutes from time – but Niall Maher popped up with a last-minute leveller. Northampton boosted their automatic promotion hopes with a 3-1 win at Bradford, taking charge of the game through Mitch Pinnock and Shaun McWilliams in the first half.

Carlisle’s Ryan Edmondson celebrates with the away fans at the Peninsula Stadium.
Carlisle’s Ryan Edmondson celebrates with the away fans at the Peninsula Stadium. Photograph: Tim Markland/PA

Barrow climbed above Mark Hughes’ side and into fourth with a 3-1 home win over Hartlepool, who drop back to the bottom of the table. Josh Gordon, Ben Whitfield and Billy Waters got the hosts’ goals inside the first 21 minutes. Carlisle moved into the top six thanks to a 4-1 victory over Salford, with Kristian Dennis on target twice for the visitors.

Colchester climbed off the bottom after ending a seven-match winless run in the league with a 3-0 success against Doncaster. Alex Newby and Samson Tovide scored either side of half-time, with Luke Jannant adding a late third. Gillingham are in the bottom two after Priestley Farquharson’s double earned Newport victory.

Quick Guide

League Two results


Barrow 3-1 Hartlepool, Bradford 1-3 Northampton, Colchester 3-0 Doncaster, Grimsby 1-1 Stevenage, Harrogate 3-0 Mansfield, Newport 2-0 Gillingham, Salford 1-4 Carlisle, Stockport 1-2 Leyton Orient, Sutton 1-0 Rochdale, Swindon 0-1 Crewe, Tranmere 0-2 Wimbledon, Walsall 2-1 Crawley

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Luke Armstrong struck twice for Harrogate in a 3-0 victory over Mansfield, while Ayoub Assal scored his seventh goal in eight matches as Wimbledon beat 10-man Tranmere 2-0. Daniel Agyei’s penalty earned Crewe a 1-0 victory at play-off chasers Swindon, while Sutton beat Rochdale by the same score thanks to Will Randall.

Danny Johnson grabbed a stoppage-time winner for Walsall in a 2-1 success against Crawley. Dominic Telford put Crawley ahead in the 11th minute but Hayden White quickly equalised before Ludwig Francilette saw red. The visitors held out for most of the second half before Johnson’s late strike.

Nicky Butt ‘delighted’ to replace Gary Neville as chief executive of Salford | Salford City

Nicky Butt is to take over from fellow co-owner Gary Neville as chief executive of Salford, the League Two club have announced.

Neville took on the role on a part-time basis after he and former Manchester United ‘Class of 92’ team-mates Butt, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs purchased the club along with Singaporean businessman Peter Lim eight years ago.

Since the acquisition, the club have risen from the Northern Premier League First Division North – the eighth tier of English football – to reach the League ranks and former England and United team-mate David Beckham has joined them as an investor.

Neville, who has numerous other interests including a successful media career, is now stepping away from the day-to-day running of the club to allow Butt to take over as full-time CEO. Butt, 47, left his role as head of first-team development at United last year.

Neville said: “I have enjoyed my eight years and can’t believe how much we have achieved in that time, and how proud I am of the hard work everyone at the club has put in to make a dream we had whilst on a train turn into a reality.

“I will now be able to sit back and enjoy the game on match days safe in the knowledge that it is in good hands.”

Butt said: “I am delighted and welcome this opportunity, this pressure, this responsibility. I accept the responsibility of the long-term vision, whilst concentrating on the short-term goals and what is needed now, and will work hard to take the club to where we believe it can be.”

‘I just wanted a chance’: the Mansfield goalkeeping coach who fled Syria | Mansfield

For Fahd Saleh, a conversation at the Job Centre sticks in the memory. A couple of years after arriving in Mansfield as a Syrian refugee hoping to land trials at Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea and continue his football career, he was on the receiving end of a cold and quizzical look when asked which vocation he ideally planned to pursue. “I mentioned that I was a goalkeeper and that I’d like to work for a team,” Saleh says. “The lady, and I can still picture the conversation now, she said to me: ‘You are dreaming.’ Now I would really like to see her to tell her that I’m working for a professional team called Mansfield Town and I’m very proud of where I am.”

Saleh combines his role as an academy goalkeeper coach at Mansfield with working as a PE teacher at Crescent Primary School in the town. After spotting a local advertisement, he is grateful to have been given a chance by the academy manager, Richard Cooper, and the League Two club’s manager, Nigel Clough, who allowed Saleh to work alongside his coaching staff for a couple of months last season.

Mansfield are paying for Saleh to complete his Uefa B licence, a course that has seen him deliver a session in front of the England goalkeeper coach, Martyn Margetson. “I went to St George’s Park,” Saleh says. “‘Wow, here is where the England team train.’ It was a dream come true.”

It is a long way from Homs, where he played for Al-Karamah, winning domestic titles and competing in the Asian Champions League. He left the city after being caught in the crossfire of the Syrian civil war, when his wife, Tahrir, was expecting their first child, Nour.

“One night, armies assembled just behind my home, on the street, to check people’s IDs, and they brought tanks to send bombs and missiles. I could hear everything. During the night they started to attack each other. We were in the middle. I had an apartment in this building that had three floors, and the top floor got bombed. My flat was on the first floor. From that point in the morning, I said: ‘In the morning we will escape. No more.’”

Fahd Saleh with his Al-Karamah teammates during his time as a title-winning goalkeeper in Syria.
Fahd Saleh (top row, second left) with his Al-Karamah teammates during his time as a title-winning goalkeeper in Syria. Photograph: Courtesy of Fahd Saleh

Saleh joined a club in the United Arab Emirates for four months but, anxious about leaving his loved ones behind, he took his family to Jordan. He spent three and a half years there before applying to claim asylum via the the UN Refugee Agency. He was told he would be resettled in the United States, before they changed his destination. “They said: ‘Are you still willing to come?’ I was like: ‘Come on, yes, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, yes I want to come!’”

On arrival in Mansfield in 2015 he could not speak a word of English and although he always takes his hefty English-Arabic dictionary to classes and courses, he carries out this interview with a perfect grasp of the language. He candidly discusses everything from idolising Gianluigi Buffon, Googling Clough, meeting Gary Lineker, his growing love for fish and chips and jacket potato, and getting to grips with the football lexicon. “I heard ‘drive, drive’ … oh ‘drive with the football, go forward’. OK, thank you,” Saleh says, smiling. “And then: ‘whip it, whip it.’ What do you mean ‘whip it’? Oh, cross it. OK, thank you. I have to be able to use these kind of words in my sessions.”

Fahd Saleh in the stands at Mansfield
Fahd Saleh who fled war in his homeland seven years ago and moved to England. He is now the academy goalkeeping coach at Mansfield Town FC and is studying for UEFA coaching badges. PLS WRITE Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Observer

Saleh enrolled on a college leadership course and spent a year working at a secondary school to support three Syrian children before volunteering at AFC Mansfield and the school he now works at twice a week. “I learnt from this country that if you don’t ask for something, then you’ll never get it.

“I’ve been there more than two years now. I didn’t come to the UK to get benefits from the government and sit on the sofa. I came to the UK to learn, develop myself, get a proper job, support my family, support my community and be a good example in front of my children. I say to them: ‘If you wake up early, you will do your job while they [others] are sleeping.’”

Saleh’s family moved to Mansfield with three other Syrian families and realised it was a blessing in disguise that they live in separate parts of town. “I mentioned it with Gary Lineker,” Saleh says, recalling how the former England striker told him he tried to avoid spending too much time with expats when he played for Barcelona. Lineker interviewed Saleh for part of a book to support refugees.

“He asked me: ‘How did you learn the language?’ I told him how I was trying to not be involved too much with the other families because I knew it would affect my English. So we had the same mindset … Now when Match of the Day is on my kids say: ‘Daddy, it’s Gary Lineker, your friend.’ I say: ‘Well, I’d like him to be my friend!’”

Since arriving in England he has seen his mother only on video calls and was ineligible to attend his father’s funeral in 2017. He stays in touch with friends in Syria but only recently has he been able to stomach news of events back home – “for the first two or three years I didn’t watch it at all because it is heartbreaking” – and the landscape there is much changed.

Fahd Saleh meets Gary Lineker in London at the launch of a book to support refugees.
Fahd Saleh meets Gary Lineker in London at the launch of a book to support refugees. Photograph: Fahd Saleh

“In the past the life was great: playing for a team, you walk around the city, most of the people know you and want to take photos, and suddenly everything is gone. It is awful. Before I escaped I decided to go home to bring some of my stuff. When I went there, my home was burnt down. All of my trophies, photos had gone. Sorry, I get emotional,” he says, as tears pool in his eyes. “It is not an easy one.”

Saleh’s aim is to work in the Premier League within five years. How does the 37-year-old reflect on his journey to this point? “I’m going to say it’s a big achievement. To rebuild the life that you had in the past is extremely hard, with a new language, new culture, new atmosphere, new food, new everything.

“The main thing is to believe in yourself, to believe in what you have and in where you want to go. I just needed an opportunity. I didn’t want money, I just wanted a chance.”

Championship roundup: Sheffield United beaten while Bruce draws blank | Championship

Sheffield United were undone by a familiar face as Phil Jagielka proved instrumental in Stoke’s 3-1 home win over the Championship leaders. The 40-year-old, who made 309 appearances for the Blades across two spells, scored one and set up another, recording a goal and an assist in the same game for the first time in his career.

Jagielka first assumed the role of creator, teeing up centre-back partner Ben Wilmot to fire the hosts into an early lead. And, after the Blades levelled through Rhian Brewster’s first goal since January, it was the veteran defender who restored Stoke’s lead, scoring for the first time since April 2019. Substitute Liam Delap then opened his account for the club in added time as new manager Alex Neil earned his first home win.

Second-placed Norwich failed to take advantage, being beaten for the first time in 10 games as Preston came away from Carrow Road with a hard-fought 3-2 win. The visitors, who had only scored four goals all season before this fixture, almost doubled their tally in the space of 90 minutes after going behind to a well-taken early goal from Josh Sargent.

Emil Riis equalised midway through the first half with a powerful header and then put his side ahead early in the second period after a swift break. Substitute Gabriel Sara equalised for Norwich on 76 minutes with another neat finish but the Lilywhites had the final say soon afterwards as substitute Troy Parrott’s cross took a big deflection off Liam Gibbs to deceive Tim Krul.

Kenny McLean thought he had levelled in added time when he found the bottom corner with a low shot from distance but referee Dean Whitestone spotted an offence in the area and ruled it out.

Steve Bruce’s future as West Brom manager is hanging by a thread as their dreadful start to the season continued with 0-0 draw against Luton on a toxic afternoon at The Hawthorns. Tensions were high heading into a game where Albion created enough to have won, but were again left ruing those missed opportunities.

The crowd remained behind the Baggies for the majority of the match, until late substitutions from Bruce prompted repeated strong calls for the manager to go, with chants also aimed at the club’s owner Guochuan Lai.

Jerry Yates’ late double sealed a welcome 3-1 victory for Blackpool against stuttering Watford. Gary Madine put the home side in front before Imran Louza restored parity before the break. A draw then looked to be on the cards before two superbly-taken Yates goals in the final 10 minutes secured Blackpool’s first home win since the opening day.

The Hornets were booed off by the travelling fans as new manager Slaven Bilic presided over a second straight defeat, leaving them 12th on 17 points while Blackpool climbed to 19th with 15.

Nathan Tella’s fifth goal of the season moved Burnley within two points of the promotion places after a 1-0 win against Coventry. The Southampton loanee struck in the first half to give the Clarets just their second win in six games, while Coventry remain bottom.

Swansea made it four league wins on the bounce as they held on for a nervy 2-1 win against Sunderland. First-half goals from Ollie Cooper and Harry Darling were enough for Russell Martin’s men who cemented their sixth place in the table, despite a 51st-minute strike by Black Cats winger Jack Clarke.

Ben Brereton Díaz’s double helped Blackburn to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Rotherham at Ewood Park as they continued their win or lose sequence of results under Jon Dahl Tomasson. The Chile striker took his tally for the season to seven with a first-half penalty and a close-range finish after the break before Sammie Szmodics added the third. The victory put Rovers just outside the play-off places on goal difference, leaving new Millers manager Matt Taylor still looking for his first win.

Cardiff continued their recent resurgence by recording a 3-1 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium. Callum Robinson, Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Wintle all scored for the Bluebirds, with Charlie Wyke responding, meaning Mark Hudson’s impressive run as City caretaker continues.

On-loan Arsenal defender Auston Trusty scored his first goals in English football as dominant Birmingham brushed aside Bristol City 3-0 at St Andrew’s. The 24-year-old American scored at the start and end of the first half before the on-loan Wolves defender Dion Sanderson added a late third, ending Birmingham’s three-match wait for a victory. The result extended Bristol City’s winless run to five games.

Zian Flemming scored twice as Millwall continued their fine home form with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. The summer signing from Dutch side Fortuna Sittard benefitted from a lucky deflection early in the first half before hitting the target again just after the break for his third goal this week. Middlesbrough, still without a permanent manager, are still looking for a first away win since early April.