Forest Green claim League One title as Bristol Rovers and Exeter City secure automatic promotion

Bristol Rovers' Aaron Collins celebrating promotion Credit: PA

Forest Green secured the Sky Bet League Two title but it was scenes at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol which stole the spotlight this weekend.

Bristol Rovers scored seven goals for the first time since 1964 to thrash relegated Scunthorpe 7-0 and secure the third automatic promotion place from Northampton on goals scored.

Exeter City, who had had topped the table after Forest Green lost last weekend to Harrogate, were beaten 1-0 at home by Port Vale meaning Forest Green's 2-2 draw at Mansfield was enough to give them the title on goal difference.

Swindon Town ended the campaign in sixth place after a 3-0 victory at Walsall, securing their place in the play-offs.

Forest Green boss Rob Edwards described taking the title from Exeter as the ‘icing on the cake’.

Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince celebrating after his side won the league Credit: PA

“I am just incredibly proud and pleased and proud of our performance, which I thought was excellent again today,” he said.

In Bristol, Rovers’ chances of overhauling Northampton had looked slim but a second-half goal rush sparked wild celebrations at the Memorial Stadium, where play was suspended for 16 minutes following a pitch invasion from jubilant fans.

Following the lengthy delay, which saw manager Joey Barton address the crowd to call for calm, the Pirates saw out the closing stages to secure the most dramatic of promotions.

Speaking after the match Joey Barton said he was “so proud” of his Bristol Rovers team.

He said: “There’s been some highs and lows and there’s been some tough moments but one thing that can’t ever be questioned is the character of our team.

“And then as a direct consequence the fanbase have turned up and supported them.

"They really give everything for the Quarters and you get special football days if you get that recipe. I’m so proud.

Elliot Anderson (left) celebrates promotion to the Sky Bet League One Credit: PA

“I didn’t expect us to win 7-0 today. I don’t think anybody did. But, again, were we going to do it any other way?"

Barton, who said he intends to build a good squad to compete in League One next year to capitalise on the momentum, said achieving promotion was something he would never forget.

“This is definitely up there,” he said. “I think my first promotion as a coach I’ll always remember, especially as I had two mad court cases in the middle of it.

“We’ve got a fantastic group and all we can do is give the blue half of Bristol something to believe in.

“The world’s tough. If we can give a little bit of an oasis on the weekend to people then that’s where football’s at its best.”