West Bromwich Albion claimed the Championship's second automatic promotion place when Graham Dorrans' 17th goal of the season, a typically astute curling free-kick after 31 minutes, set up a 3-2 win at Doncaster Rovers, ensuring that two relegated clubs will now bounce straight back to the Premier League.
"Credit to the players, who have worked very hard," the Albion manager, Roberto Di Matteo, said. "Their attitude and effort has been the key to this season; to be promoted with three games left is an amazing achievement.
"This is probably the highlight of my career, an achievement based on the last two years of hard work," he added. "We conceded that second goal late on and we were hanging on in the last few minutes, but we showed tremendous resilience to win."
Albion went 2-0 up when Chris Brunt fired in the rebound after his 45th-minute shot was blocked. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas pulled a goal back for Rovers in the second half, Roman Bednar headed Albion's third, and James Hayter tested the visitors' nerves with Rovers' second. But they hung on for a fourth promotion in nine seasons.
Meanwhile, in the scramble for a play-off berth Luke Chambers, Guy Moussi and Robert Earnshaw scored as third-placed Nottingham Forest beat Ipswich Town 3-0, while Cardiff City, fourth, were held to a goalless draw by Reading. Andy King's last-minute header earned Leicester City a 2-1 win at Peterborough United, relegated Posh's first match under their new manager, Gary Johnson.
Leicester moved above Swansea City, whose short trip across the Severn ended in a 1-0 defeat at Johnson's former club Bristol City, Nicky Maynard scoring six minutes from time.
There was no party-pooping at St James' Park, where 47,010 turned up to celebrate Newcastle United's first home match since securing promotion, the Magpies putting on a 4-1 show against an outplayed Blackpool. Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Wayne Routledge were the Geordies' scorers. A win at Reading on Tuesday will take them to within a point of the Championship title.
In the scrap to avoid relegation, Heidar Helguson's 50th-minute tap-in saw Watford ease their plight with a 1-0 win over struggling Plymouth Argyle, who remain in the bottom three with Sheffield Wednesday, who also lost 1-0, at Middlesbrough, Scott McDonald scoring Boro's winner. Another last-gasp winner, knocked in by Keith Treacy, saw Preston North End beat Scunthorpe United 3-2 at Deepdale. Elsewhere, Sheffield United beat Coventry City 1-0 and Barnsley and Derby County drew 0-0.
A 90th-minute Chris Martin free-kick rescued a point for leaders Norwich City in a 1-1 home draw with MK Dons, whose goalscorer, Aaron Wilbraham, was sent off for conceding said free-kick. Millwall's 4-0 defeat of Gillingham lifted them back into the top two because Swindon Town lost 3-0 at Colchester United. Leeds United beat Southend United 2-0 and are third. Stockport County were relegated after a 3-1 home defeat by Yeovil Town.
A bad day out at Torquay for leaders Rochdale, who lost 5-0 but are still 14 points clear of the play-offs. Second-placed Notts County won 1-0 at Northampton Town, but Bourne-mouth, third, lost 2-1 at Lincoln City.
Ups and downs
Up: West Bromwich Albion
A 3-2 win at Doncaster means a swift return to the top tier with Newcastle. It is Albion's fourth promotion in nine seasons.
West Ham's 1-0 win sent Pompey to the Championship on the eve of their FA Cup semi-final. Stockport go down from League One.Reuse content