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The Madejski Stadium (ATT 23,879) 3rd May 2009 - Kick off 13:15 Ref: H Webb

Reading Reading vs Birmingham City Birm'ham

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Birmingham are promoted

Blues secure promotion

Reading to face Burnley in play-offs

Last Updated: 03/05/09 3:26pm

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Phillips: Crucial second goal

Phillips: Crucial second goal

Birmingham clinched automatic promotion and confined Reading to the play-offs with a 2-1 victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Blues started the final day of the season in second place and needing to win to make certain of an immediate return to the Premier League.

They were gifted an early lead when Keith Fahey's shot crept past Marcus Hahnemann and Kevin Phillips made it 2-0 on the hour mark.

Substitute Marek Matejovsky hammered in a reply for Reading but they were unable to find an equaliser and Birmingham held on to spark wild celebrations from the travelling fans.

Reading's Jimmy Kebe had the first shot on target after a fine crossfield ball from Andre Bikey picked him out on the left of the area but his shot was straight at Maik Taylor in the Birmingham goal.

Phillips hooked an acrobatic effort wide after Reading made a hash of dealing with a long throw as Alex McLeish's side began to press.

Breakthrough

And the Blues had the lead in the 19th minute. James McFadden took a corner which was cleared back to him and he drilled a second cross deep to the back post.

Phillips cushioned a header down to Fahey and, after cutting in from the left, the Irishman curled in a shot from the edge of the area which should have been gathered by Hahnemann but somehow squirmed through his grasp and over the line.

Shane Long flashed an effort wide at the start of the second period after good work from Dave Kitson before Steve Coppell brought Matejovsky on in a bid to wrestle control of central midfield.

Top scorer Kevin Doyle was then also summoned from the bench despite not being fit after a knee injury as Coppell gambled on finding an equaliser.

But it was the visitors who struck the second goal in the 60th minute.

A throw found its way back to Fahey and he clipped an immaculate first-time pass to release Phillips, who was level with Michael Duberry.

Composure

The home side called in vain for an offside flag while Phillips showed some trademark composure to calmly roll the ball wide of the advancing Hahnemann and into the far corner.

That appeared to be that but Reading found a way back into the game with a goal just a minute later.

A set-piece was brought under control at the back post by Kitson and he smuggled it back to Matejovsky on the edge of the area.

The Czech Republic international skilfully dummied inside one challenge before arrowing a right-footed shot past Taylor and into the bottom corner.

It was his first of the season but he was clearly in the mood as he went close to an equaliser with a rasping drive from 25 yards which forced Taylor to nervously beat the ball away.

Reading were now dominant but left themselves exposed to danger on the break and Birmingham substitute Garry O'Connor nearly settled the game with five minutes left when he broke from his own half and smashed a shot against the foot of the post.

The ball stayed out but it was the 2,000 visiting fans who were cheering at full-time as they joined Wolves in returning to the top flight.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Middlesbrough 35 66
2 Derby County 35 65
3 Watford 35 65
4 Bournemouth 35 63
5 Norwich City 35 62
6 Brentford 35 61
7 Ipswich Town 35 60
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 57
9 Nottingham Forest 35 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 35 48
11 Sheffield Wednesday 35 46
12 Charlton Athletic 35 45
13 Birmingham City 35 45
14 Cardiff City 35 44
15 Leeds United 35 44
16 Huddersfield Town 35 42
17 Bolton Wanderers 35 41
18 Reading 35 41
19 Brighton and Hove Albion 35 40
20 Fulham 35 39
21 Rotherham United 35 37
22 Wigan Athletic 35 31
23 Millwall 35 31
24 Blackpool 35 22

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