Birmingham City clinched automatic promotion to the Premier League after a season in the Championship when they won 2-1 at Reading on Sunday to finish second behind champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. A dramatic final day of action ended with Sheffield United, Reading, Burnley and Preston North End taking the playoff places. One of them will eventually join Wolves and Birmingham in the top division. Sheffield United will meet Preston in one of the two-legged playoff semi-finals while Reading will face Burnley in the other. The final is at Wembley Stadium on May 25. Cardiff City, who started the day in fifth place, were squeezed out of the playoffs after losing 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. Preston, who beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 to finish level on points and goal difference with Cardiff, moved one place above them as they scored a goal more this season. Norwich City's slim hopes of avoiding the drop ended in a 4-2 defeat at already relegated Charlton Athletic, with Southampton completing a trio of former Premier League clubs dropping down to the third tier.
3 May 2009
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