Bristol Rovers secure sensational promotion thanks to 7-0 final-day win
Bristol Rovers remarkably clinched promotion from League Two despite needing to make up five goals on Northampton Town on the final day of the season.
Rovers, managed by former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton, headed into Saturday's matches fourth in the table, behind third-placed Northampton – in the final automatic promotion place – on goal difference.
Northampton appeared to have done enough to secure a spot in League One as they won 3-1 at Barrow, only for events at the Memorial Stadium to halt their celebrations.
That scoreline at Barrow – unchanged from the 45th minute onwards – meant Rovers needed to win 7-0 against already-relegated Scunthorpe United to pip Northampton on goals scored.
Leading 2-0 at half-time, Aaron Collins and Antony Evans each scored twice against a much-changed Scunthorpe side before Elliot Anderson – on loan from Newcastle – added to his two assists with the decisive seventh five minutes from time.
That goal – the 19-year-old's seventh of a sensational loan spell, to go with six assists – prompted a pitch invasion that brought the game to a standstill.
As Northampton got word of the change in circumstances and chased a fourth goal, succeeding only in having goalkeeper Liam Roberts sent off, Barton and Rovers owner Wael al-Qadi pleaded with fans to stay off the pitch, having been warned the match could be abandoned.
Eventually, play resumed and Rovers held on for their joint-record margin of victory and a scarcely believable promotion to the third tier.