League round-up: Pompey and Sky Blues fall as Royals are crowned champions
Sunday 22 April 2012
Coventry City and Portsmouth were relegated from the Championship after both lost and Bristol City, the only other team in danger, won 2-0 against Barnsley. Meanwhile, Reading were crowned champions.
The Sky Blues dropped to the third tier after a 48-year stay in the top two when Doncaster Rovers, themselves condemned to League One, won at the Ricoh Arena. Following a goalless first half, Rovers took the lead in the 81st minute. Richard Keogh pulled down James Hayter and was sent off before the Rovers striker tucked away the penalty. Six minutes later Simon Gillett scored the second, it ended 2-0 and the Sky Blues fell.
"The club has asked if I will stay," said the Coventry manager, Andy Thorn. "I have asked for assurance that they will give me some help with good players coming in. Sometimes you can come back stronger, but the player side needs addressing."
Pompey's problems started with a 10-point deduction for entering administration and reached their conclusion in a 2-1 home defeat by Derby County, Jake Buxton and Steve Davies, from a penalty, scoring for the Rams. Luke Varney replied for Portsmouth. But any fightback had been rendered useless by Cole Skuse's first-half goal and Jon Stead's 51st-minute penalty that saw the Robins fly to safety. "The overriding emotion is of relief, rather than joy," said the City manager, Derek McInnes.
Promoted Reading's procession to the Championship title seemed to have been interrupted by a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace, but Southampton's defeat at Middlesbrough meant they took the title. Wilfired Zaha gave Palace the lead and Kaspar Gorkss's header levelled before the Reading striker Jason Roberts' 45th-minute elbow on Jonathan Parr earned a red card. The substitute Adam Le Fondre's header gave the home side the lead but Glenn Murray equalised. It ended 2-2.
Blackpool and Birmingham City both booked tickets for the play-off lottery. Pool are in the play-offs for the second time in three years, thanks to an emphatic 4-0 win over Burnley, Stephen Dobbie, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Stephen Crainey and Nouha Dicko all on target. The Blues drew 1-1 at Brighton, Nathan Redmond giving them the lead after 69 minutes, but Ashley Barnes levelled for the Seagulls six minutes from time. Sixth-placed Cardiff City's unbeaten run now stands at nine matches, but yesterday's 1-1 draw at home to Leeds United was their sixth draw in that sequence.
Goals by Yann Kermorgant and Dale Stephens saw Charlton Athletic beat Wycombe 2-1 to become champions, but Rochdale's defeat by the same score at Chesterfield means they return to League Two. A Sheffield team will join Charlton in automatic promotion, but which one? United lost 1-0 at MK Dons so Wednesday's 2-1 win over Carlisle leaves them a point behind the Blades with two to play.
Despite losing again, Swindon Town are promoted. Shrewsbury could only draw 1-1 at Accrington Stanley so Paolo Di Canio's side's 3-1 defeat at Gillingham couldn't stop their celebrations.
Ups and downs
Championship Reading are champions; Portsmouth, Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers are relegated. Blackpool and Birmingham City are in the play-offs.
League One Charlton Athletic are champions; Rochdale are relegated.
League Two Swindon Town are up.
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