England’s third division had pretty much everything in 2014-15. There was storming run to the title, but other than that, it was incredibly close throughout the season. There was drama in the last games in the fight for promotion spots, whilst going into the final day, six teams still weren’t safe from relegation. After 46 games, just 19 points separated the bottom four and the top six.
It was Bristol City who ran away with the league title on 99, whilst MK Dons also earned promotion to the Championship for the first time ever. They will be joined in the second tier by either Preston North End, Swindon Town, Sheffield United or Chesterfield, who will compete in the play-offs. At the bottom, Yeovil Town suffered a second successive relegation, and will play in League Two next season along with Leyton Orient, Crawley Town and Notts County. Commiserations to all four teams.
Final League Table
Team of the Season
Player of the Season
Joe Garner – Preston North End
You may have seen his wonder goal in the play-offs against Rotherham last season, and it wasn’t a one off for Joe Garner, who banged in goals every week in 2014-15 as well. 25 in the league to be precise, which meant that he finished as top scorer as Preston once again had to settle for the play-offs. Highlights include a hat-trick against Fleetwood Town in October, and four goals in a 5-1 win at home to Crewe Alexandra in March, so defenders know that they’re in for a tough afternoon when they see Garner’s name on the team-sheet. You have to think that if Preston don’t earn promotion this time around, then the 27 year old will be snapped by a team in a higher division, where it’s unlikely he will look out of his depth.
2nd – Dele Alli (MK Dons)
3rd – Luke Freeman (Bristol City)
Manager of the Season
Karl Robinson – MK Dons
I couldn’t make up my mind as to who to give this award to, and wanted to share it between Robinson and Steve Cotterill, who guided Bristol City to 99 points and a superb run to the title. But, perhaps controversially, I’ve gone for the MK Dons boss, who is just 34 years old, making him the fifth youngest manager in the Football League. He’s also got a relatively young squad at stadium:mk, but they have played like experienced professionals to earn a first ever promotion to the Championship. Robinson’s team, who beat Manchester United 4-0 in the League Cup earlier in the season, finished second on 91 points. This was courtesy of a 5-1 win over Yeovil on the final day, which meant they finished the campaign with 101 league goals, the most in the division. In the past, Robinson has been the target for a many a Championship club, and now he does get a shot at the second tier, with a club he has guided to greatness.
2nd – Steve Cotterill (Bristol City)
3rd – Paul Cook (Chesterfield)
Goal of the Season
Lee Fowler vs Preston North End
2nd – Jordan Cook vs Barnsley
3rd – Marcus Maddison v Barnsley
Game of the Season
Peterborough United 4-3 Crawley Town
Crawley became a step closer relegation after conceding two goals in the final three minutes in a dramatic defeat at Peterborough. Marvin Elliott fired the visitors ahead before Conor Washington equalised. Michael Bostwick put Posh 2-1 up after the break, but goals from Mathias Pogba and Josh Simpson looked to have given victory to Dean Saunders’ side. Bostwick made it 3-3, before Washington turned in a loose ball to leave Crawley in the League One relegation zone on goal difference with one game left. It ended up proving costly as the Red Devils couldn’t beat the drop. Read the full report here.
2nd – Bristol City 8-2 Walsall
Read the full report here.
3rd – MK Dons 7-0 Oldham Athletic
Read the full report here.
I must mention the drama on the final day, when there were an average of four goals per game. That included the above Bristol City win and MK Dons’ thrashing of Yeovil to secure promotion. But at Gillingham, Notts County were leading 1-0 with three minutes to go, a result which would have seen them survive relegation. But three goals from the Gills dramatically relegated Ricardo Moniz’s side.
Club-by-club Player of the Season
Barnsley: Sam Winnall
Bradford City: James Hanson
Bristol City: Luke Freeman
Chesterfield: Jimmy Ryan
Colchester United: Gavin Massey
Coventry City: Jim O’Brien
Crawley Town: Izale McLeod
Crewe Alexandra: Nicky Ajose
Doncaster Rovers: Dean Furman
Fleetwood Town: Chris Maxwell
Gillingham: John Egan
Leyton Orient: Chris Dagnall
Milton Keynes Dons: Dele Alli
Notts County: Roy Carroll
Oldham Athletic: Jonathan Forte
Peterborough United: Marcus Maddison
Port Vale: Tom Pope
Preston North End: Joe Garner
Rochdale: Rhys Bennett
Scunthorpe United: Paddy Madden
Sheffield United: Matt Done
Swindon Town: Massimo Luongo
Walsall: Richard O’Donnell
Yeovil Town: Kieffer Moore
The 2015-16 Sky Bet League One campaign starts on 8th August. If you disagree with any of the awards, please feel free to let me know who you think deserved a mention in the comments below!