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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 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 44 84
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 44 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25

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