Preston relegated after Cardiff defeat

Preston have been relegated from the Championship after a 1-0 home defeat to promotion-chasing Cardiff, Peter Whittingham firing the only goal of the game into the roof of the net early in the first half after good work from Craig Bellamy.

The result leaves Preston eight points adrift of safety with just two games remaining, while the win keeps the Welsh side one point behind Norwich as they chase the second automatic promotion spot.

Norwich left it late in a thrilling game at Carrow Road: a Simeon Jackson hat-trick clinched a vital 3-2 win over Derby. The Rams had twice equalised through Steve Davies and Alberto Bueno and were proving stubborn away from home, as they had at QPR last week, but were finally broken in the sixth minute of injury time, Jackson bundling home from a corner. Norwich are just two wins from back-to-back promotions.

Despite coming back from two goals down to win 3-2 at the league's form team, Reading, Sheffield United look likely to join Preston in League One next year. Darius Henderson scored a brace, his first goals of the season, but with Crystal Palace's 1-0 win at home to Leeds, and Doncaster's 2-2 draw at Barnsley, it looks ominous for United, who are six points from safety with two games left.

Scunthorpe's inferior goal difference means that they are effectively relegated after losing 2-1 to Millwall. Teenage striker John Marquis scored either side of half time to keep Millwall's play-off hopes alive; the result lifts them two places into seventh.

At the bottom of League One, Swindon are now condemned to the bottom tier of the Football League after they lost 3-1 to Sheffield Wednesday, and Wallsall managed to get a point away to Oldham. Plymouth, deducted ten points earlier this season, are within a win of climbing out of the relegation zone after overcoming play-off contenders MK Dons 1-0, Simon Walton scoring.

Bury are promoted from League Two after they won a top-of-the-table clash 3-2 away at already-promoted Chesterfield. Ryan Lowe scored his 26th of the season in the 87th minute. Now two behind their opponents, Bury could yet pinch the title.

Who's up, who's down

Championship

Promotion QPR are all but up, while Cardiff and Norwich look set to battle it out for the second automatic spot.

Play-offs Swansea are guaranteed at least a play-off spot, but Leeds have slipped out.

Relegation Preston are down, while Scunthorpe and Sheffield United look set to join them after Crystal Palace beat Leeds.



League One

Promotion One of Huddersfield or Southampton will join Champions Brighton in going up.

Play-offs Peterborough are definitely in the play-offs, while MK Dons, Bournemouth and Leyton Orient are all still in contention.

Relegation Swindon have been relegated, less than a year after reaching the play-off final. Plymouth live to fight another day after their 1-0 win over MK Dons.



League Two

Promotion Chesterfield and Bury are both up, but the title is still up for grabs.

Play-offs Any team from 10th upwards can still make the play-offs, only Wycombe have secured their place.

Relegation Barring a mathematical miracle, Stockport are down, with teams as far up as 15th still not safe.

MICHAEL LYNCH

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