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Norwich clinch Championship title as relegation fight goes to last day

Ronan Curtis grabbed a goal and assist for Portsmouth in League One.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke celebrates with players after being crowned champions.
Norwich City manager Daniel Farke celebrates with players after being crowned champions.

NORWICH SECURED THEIR second English Championship title in three seasons with a 4-1 win at home to Reading on Saturday as the battle to avoid relegation went all the way to the last day of the regular season.

Already assured of one of the two automatic promotion spots to the Premier League, Norwich fell behind to Josh Laurent’s 12th-minute goal.

But they were level by half-time following the first of Kieran Dowell’s two goals.

Dowell put Norwich ahead at Carrow Road just after the hour mark before further goals from Xavi Quintilla and Teemu Pukki – his 26th of the season — sealed victory.

Second-placed Watford’s 2-0 defeat by Brentford would have given Norwich the title in any event, but Daniel Farke’s men seized control of thir own destiny to go an unassailable eight points clear at the top with just one game remaining.

Watford had already secured their place alongside the Canaries in the top flight.

Brentford will play in the play-offs, with Bournemouth, Swansea and Barnsley.

At the other end of the table, no side has been relegated.

A goalless draw between Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s early kick-off meant the Owls would have dropped into the third tier if Derby had managed at least a point against Swansea.

But instead, Wayne Rooney’s side slumped to a 2-1 defeat, their sixth in a row, to set up a key clash between the Rams and Wednesday at Pride Park — a match the visitors must win if they are to beat the drop.

Derby led through Tom Lawrence’s 48th-minute header but Morgan Whittaker equalised just after the hour mark and Connor Roberts scored Swansea’s winner three minutes later.

Rotherham boosted their own survival hopes thanks to Lewis Wing’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

The result means Rotherham need at least three points from their last two away games at Luton and Cardiff if they are to have a chance of staying up.

Bottom-of-the-table Wycombe maintained their slim hopes of avoiding relegation with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth thanks to Uche Ikpeazu’s fourth-minute goal, although they still need an extraordinary combination of results to remain in the Championship.

Meanwhile, Stoke boss Michael O’Neill admits his side needs to improve in the final third next season following a 2-0 Championship defeat at home to QPR.

Charlie Austin fired QPR ahead with a clinical finish from just outside the box after Harry Souttar was caught in possession after 17 minutes and Osman Kakay slotted the ball past Adam Davies to make the game safe 20 minutes from time.

Sam Vokes failed to set up a tense finish after missing a near open goal with four minutes left.

“We didn’t have many good crosses and we do not have enough goals,” O’Neill said. “We need more goals from wide areas and midfield.

“We have to look to put more goals in the team. A lot of our play is good but we need players that can make a difference in the final third.

“At times we have quality in our possession but we don’t do enough with it and don’t create enough chances in the opposition third.

“Today was a reflection of where we have been in the second half of the season.

“We hit the first man too often with crosses. We need to improve in the final third or find better players next season who can do that.

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“We made the game difficult for us with the nature of the goals we conceded. Harry (Souttar) is still learning and it was a great finish.

“Harry should have played the ball forward but he didn’t and he will be better for the experience. He reacted well to the mistake and that is the game.

“The best centre-backs in the world make mistakes and it’s important he learns from that now. We give him a lot of responsibility and he has taken that on board.

“There was a lot in the performance that was good but it’s not easy to talk about that when you’ve lost.”

Elsewhere, Ronan Curtis scored a goal and grabbed an assist as Portsmouth enjoyed a 3-1 win over Wimbledon in English League One today. 

Curtis equalised for Pompey in the 24th minute after Joe Pigott earlier gave Wimbledon the lead. 

The Irish international set-up Lee Brown for Portsmouth’s third in a victory that leaves them in play-off contention in sixth place.

Brian Barry Murphy’s Rochdale lost 2-1 at home to Doncaster Rovers, leaving themselves four points short of safety in the same division.

-Additional reporting from Press Association

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