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Southampton's Rickie Lambert is carried off the pitch after the final whistle.
Southampton's Rickie Lambert is carried off the pitch after the final whistle.
Image: Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport

Championship wrap: Southampton back in the big time

Saint seal their second promotion in as many seasons as Nigel Adkins masterminds their return to the top flight.
Apr 28th 2012, 3:17 PM 378 0

SOUTHAMPTON SEALED AUTOMATIC promotion to the Premier League on the final day of the Championship season today.

Nigel Adkins’ team recorded a comprehensive 4-0 win against relegated Coventry City at St Mary’s Stadium, which will see them in the top flight for the first time since 2004/05.

After making a nervous start, Southampton broke the deadlock in the 16th minute as Billy Sharp turned in a powerful drive from Adam Lallana.

Portuguese defender Jose Fonte got the second with a header from Danny Fox’s cross, before centre-back Jos Hooiveld made it 3-0 with a close-range effort on the hour-mark. Lallana completed the scoring just four minutes later, netting his 13th goal of the campaign.

It left West Ham United to finish third, with Sam Allardyce’s team managing a 2-1 win at home to Hull City at Upton Park. Carlton Cole netted goals either side of half-time before Corry Evans got on the scoresheet for the visiting Hull.

West Ham will face Cardiff City in the playoff semi-finals after the Welsh side wrapped up sixth spot with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. Wilfried Zaha had given Palace a surprise 13th-minute lead at Selhurst Park, before Cardiff hit back through goals from Peter Whittingham and Don Cowie.


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In the other playoff semi-final, Birmingham City will take on Blackpool. Chris Hughton’s Birmingham were 2-0 winners at home to champions Reading, with Adam Rooney and Wade Elliott on the scoresheet.

Blackpool held onto fifth despite only managing a 2-2 draw at Millwall, who had Harry Kane score an 83rd-minute equaliser at The Den. Middlesbrough finished seventh after suffering a 2-1 loss at Watford, while Leeds United went down 2-1 at home to Leicester City.

Relegated sides Portsmouth and Doncaster Rovers finished their campaigns with losses. Dexter Blackstock’s brace saw Nottingham Forest to a 2-0 win at home to Portsmouth, while Rovers lost 3-2 at home to Ipswich Town. Barnsley and Brighton and Hove Albion played out a scoreless draw, Peterborough United held Derby County to a 1-1 draw and Burnley and Bristol City drew 1-1.

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