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Championship wrap: Southampton promotion on hold

21 April 2012 20:52

Southampton missed the chance to seal promotion to the Premier League after a 2-1 loss at play-off chasing Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Saints were looking to become the second promoted side after champions Reading but may have to wait until the final weekend with West Ham still five points behind with two games to play.

Reading sealed the title despite a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace after Southampton surrendered their early lead at the Riverside.

Southampton took just under minute to open their account against Boro who needed a win to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

The league's leading scorer Rickie Lambert worked an opening superbly and squared for Billy Sharp, who side-footed home from close range for his seventh goal in seven league games.

But goals from Nicky Bailey on half-time and a superb late free kick from Merouane Zemmama secured the points for the home side, who should have finished the game with 10 men after Seb Hines (on a yellow) hauled down Adam Lallana as the last man.

Glenn Murray's superb strike 14 minutes from time rescued a point for Palace as Reading were still crowned champions following the Southampton result.

Blackpool secured a play-off spot with a 4-0 win over Burnley on Saturday while Reading moved closer to clinching the title.

Stephen Dobbie scored his fifth goal in six matches since his loan move from Swansea to give Blackpool the early lead.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher's header, Stephen Crainey's finish and Nouha Dicko's 79th-minute goal made for a comprehensive win and three points that ensured Blackpool will take part in the play-off after next weekend's last round of games.

Cardiff blew their chance to seal a play-off place with Luciano Becchio's second-half strike earning a 1-1 draw for Leeds.

Coventry and Portsmouth's relegation fates' were sealed after both suffered home losses.

Portsmouth will compete in the third tier of English football for the first time in 30 years after their torrid campaign, which included entering administration for the third time in a decade, culminated in a 2-1 defeat to Derby.

Luke Varney equalised in the 74th minute for Portsmouth but saw his goal cancelled out by Steve Davies' winning penalty for Derby.

Coventry's disappointing campaign came to an end with a 2-0 home defeat to rock-bottom Doncaster, who are also relegated.

Bristol City won 2-0 at home to Barnsley amid jubilant scenes as they extended their unbeaten run to seven matches to secure their safety in the division.

Birmingham made the play-offs with a 1-1 draw away to Brighton while Hull just missed out despite a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

Andy Keogh bagged a brace for Millwall as they scored an impressive 3-0 win over mid-table rivals Ipswich and Peterborough shared a point with Watford in a 2-2 draw.

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