Championship round-up: Sharp double puts Saints on verge of promised land


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The Independent Football

Southampton took a large stride back towards the Premier League last night when they won 3-1 at Peterborough to open up a five-point gap on third-placed West Ham with two games to play in the Championship. At the bottom Coventry are on the verge of relegation after a 1-0 home defeat to Millwall.

Southampton wasted little time in putting Friday's home defeat to Reading behind them, surging into a 2-0 lead by the 10th minute through goals from Jos Hooiveld and Billy Sharp. Sharp added a third on the hour mark before Tommy Rowe got a late consolation for Peterborough.

With Middlesbrough only drawing, Cardiff City and Blackpool cemented their play-off places with home wins over Derby County and Leeds United respectively

Shane Lowry's 66th-minute strike for Millwall and Gary McSheffrey's missed penalty put Coventry on the edge of returning to the third flight for the first time since 1964, but Portsmouth beat Crystal Palace 2-1 to cling to a faint hope of escaping.