The Championship – The Final Day

They’ve been stumbling, lurching and tripping on their shoelaces, but Birmingham City are a Premier League club again. As it turned out, it was a surprisingly untense day. Kevin Fahey’s early goal at The Madejski Stadium meant that events at Selhurst Park, where former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock had a tug of love going on in taking two points off the club that he never tires of telling everyone that he supports. Kevin Phillips added a second Birmingham goal before Reading pulled one back, but by this time everyone knew that the game was up and that Reading, who had briefly threatened to look like a steamroller during the autumn, would join Sheffield United in the play-offs. The race for the final two play-off places was between Preston North End, Burnley and Cardiff City. Cardiff should have been absolutely nailed on for one of them, but they had failed to win in their previous three matches – seeing off Ninian Park in the process with a 3-0 home damp squib against Ipswich Town – and they failed again yesterday, going down 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. This result left a window of opportunity for the two Lancashire clubs, and they both took full advantage of Cardiff’s end of season implosion. Burnley brushed Bristol City aside by four goals to nil in the manner that one would swat at a...

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