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St. Mary's Stadium (ATT 32,363) 28th April 2012 - Kick off 12:30 Ref: A Taylor

So'ton Southampton vs Coventry City Coventry

So'ton 4

B Sharp (16)
J Fonte (19)
J Hooiveld (59)
A Lallana (63)

ft

Southampton are promoted

Saints thrash Sky Blues to go up

Last Updated: 28/04/12 3:43pm

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Fonte: Celebrates his strike

Fonte: Celebrates his strike

Southampton secured their return to the Premier League after a seven-year absence with a 4-0 win against already-relegated Coventry.

Goals from Billy Sharp and Jose Fonte in the first half and Jos Hooiveld and Adam Lallana after the break gave a record St Mary's crowd the result they had been eagerly hoping for.

The home side dominated from start to finish, rarely allowing their lowly guests a sight of goal.

And Southampton could well have won by more, but Rickie Lambert and Guly Do Prado both wasted golden opportunities in front of goal.

For manager Nigel Adkins and the players and coaching staff at the south coast club those misses will not have mattered.

As, almost three years to the day after a 10-point deduction effectively consigned them to relegation to League One, the Saints are marching back into the top flight.

Coventry enjoyed the first two sights of goal early on but Carl Baker ballooned his effort over the crossbar when well placed inside the area and Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal got down well to deny Gary McSheffrey.

And having squandered such glorious chances in the first 10 minutes, the Sky Blues were made to pay as the Saints stormed into the lead.

On 17 minutes, Fonte burst out of his own area and teed up Do Prado on the right and, when the Brazilian's cross was met by Lallana's volley, Sharp was on hand to redirect the ball past Coventry keeper Joe Murphy.

Nerves settled, Southampton quickly went about their demolition job and edged further in front.

Danny Fox's corner from the right picked out Fonte, who outmuscled his marker to bury a header beyond Murphy. St Mary's went ballistic.

Baker tested Davis once more before half-time, in a rare foray forward for the visitors, while Lambert saw his goalbound effort blocked by Martin Cranie.

The second half picked up exactly where the first had left off, with Southampton in utter control.

Do Prado headed over from Danny Butterfield's cross and Lambert's fizzing effort went within inches of adding a third for the hosts.

But soon the Saints could start celebrating on the terraces, as the home side pushed themselves out of sight.

Fox's right-wing corner broke to Sharp and, after the striker's initial attempt was blocked, Hooiveld was on hand to scramble the ball home.

Pressure now fully released, Southampton had the liberty to run wild.

It did not take long for a fourth goal to arrive. This time it was Lallana's turn to get on the scoresheet, tapping home from close range after Lambert nodded the ball back across goal.

As time ran out, and the fans assembled pitchside for the inevitable end-of-match invasion, the hosts continued to press.

And while their heroes were unable to add to their afternoon's haul, come the final whistle the supporters did not care.

The Saints go marching on.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13