Long double leaves Norwich in mire

Reading 2 Norwich 0
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The Independent Football

Reading striker Shane Long kept the Royals in the hunt for automatic promotion from the Championship as two second-half headers pushed Norwich closer to the drop. Long wasted the best chance of a tense first half but made no mistake after the break to score twice and set up a final-day thriller with Birmingham next Sunday.

Reading's hopes of claiming a top-two spot were revived by Birmingham's late defeat at home to Preston on Saturday and the teams will meet at the Madejski Stadium with both in the hunt for a return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Norwich, however, are staring at a season in the third tier for the first time in 49 years and go into the final day three points behind Barnsley in the final relegation place – albeit with a superior goal difference.

Long forced the breakthrough with 21 minutes left. Jimmy Kebe found space on the left and after a stepover took him past Jon Otsemobor he delivered a teasing cross to the back post where Long was unmarked to head home.

That goal took the wind out of the Canaries and the duo combined again for the second goal in the 79th minute. A throw found Kebe on the touchline and he was afforded the time to turn on to his right foot and find Long inside the six-yard box where the striker again headed past Marshall.

Norwich (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor, Shackell (Leijer, 79), Doherty, Bertrand; Gow, Clingan, Russell, Carney (Daley, 74); Lee, McDonald. Substitutes not used: Nelson, Cureton, Lappin,.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Rosenior, Bikey, Duberry, Harding; Cissé (Matejovsky, 62), Karacan, Kebe, Little (Hunt, 41); Kitson (Pearce, 89), Long. Substitues not used: Federici, Doyle.

Referee: C Oliver (Northumberland)