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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2015

Reading back in the big time after defeat of Forest

Brian McDermott, Ian Harte and Noel Hunt are tonight celebrating promotion to the Premier League.

Reading fans celebrate on the pitch.
Reading fans celebrate on the pitch.
Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

READING ARE HEADING back to the Premier League.

Mikele Leigertwood clinched promotion to English football’s top flight with a late winner against Nottingham Forest tonight.

The 81st-minute strike — the only goal of the game – came typically enough, from an Ian Harte free-kick. It arrived minutes after news filtered through to the home fans that West Ham had been held to a 1-1 draw away to Bristol City.

The crucial win caps a marvelous run for Brian McDermott’s side — it’s the Royals sixth successive win their 15th in the last 17 games.

Forest, for their part, know they will remain in the division as Coventry lost at home to Millwall. But it’s party-time at the Madejski Stadium

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Southampton are also likely to be automatically promoted after they won 3-1 at Peterborough, giving them a five-point lead over third-placed West Ham. Jos Hooiveld and Billy Sharp scored inside the first 10 minutes for the winners and Sharp’s second 12 minutes into the second half sealed the result.

Tommy Rowe bagged a late consolation for Peterborough. West Ham disappointed as they drew 1-1 at lowly Bristol City as mentioned, with Cole Skuse cancelling out James Tomkins’ opener for Sam Allardyce’s side.

The race for the play-offs continued as fourth-placed Birmingham City drew 1-1 at Ipswich Town, while Joe Mason and Mark Hudson netted for Cardiff City as they toppled Derby County 2-0. Angel Martinez’s late winner gave Blackpool a 1-0 win over a 10-man Leeds United while Middlesbrough drew 0-0 at already relegated Doncaster Rovers.

Portsmouth’s unlikely bid to avoid relegation continued as they beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Fratton Park. The visitors – who scored twice in injury time to win 4-3 at Doncaster on Saturday – won thanks to goals from Scott Allan and Greg Halford. They now sit five points away from safety with two matches to play, while Coventry City – who lost 1-0 at home to Millwall – are in the same position.

Australian Shane Lowry scored the only goal of the game to give Millwall their fourth win on the trot. In other results, Brighton and Hove Albion came from two goals down to grab a point in a 2-2 draw with Watford, a Matty Fryatt hat-trick helped Hull City to a 3-1 triumph against Barnsley, while Leicester City and Burnley played out a goalless stalemate.

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