Football League

Reading defeat Southampton in a Championship top-of-the-table encounter to take a huge stride towards winning promotion.

13 April 2012 Last updated at 23:05

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As it happened

  1. 2208: 

    And that, as they say, is that. It has been an evening of excitement, impact and great significance in the Football League as Reading took a huge stride towards securing promotion. Don't forget that on Saturday we will have our regular football live text but also one dedicated to the Football League. That, I understand, will be coming your way from 1400 BST. Hold on to your hats.


    Sanj on Twitter: "Givens Saints' superior GD, even if #WHUFC win final 4 games, Saints need just 2 wins from final 3 games....= Saints going up."

  3. 2204: 

    Reading have lost once since 28 January, drawing once, losing once and winning 14 since their 1-0 reverse against Hull. It would take somebody extremely mean-spirited to deny them promotion.


    Henry on Twitter: "To all those Saints fans upset, just think back to how far we've come! Nothing can stop the Saints Marching on!"


    Jim, Isle of Wight: "Saints will be fine . Look at West Ham's fixtures."

    OK then, Brighton, Bristol City, Leicester and Hull.

  6. 2158: 

    I'm going to go seriously off topic, but for all the right reasons. After the phenomenal success of Sport Relief weekend, when more than \u00a350m was raised for good causes, the fundraising continues this month with the inaugural 'Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief'. On the weekend of 27-29 April, the BBC is teaming up with Swimathon & British Swimming to give thousands of swimmers the opportunity to raise money for charity through distance swimming challenges. There are more than 640 pools taking part across the UK. You know you want to be involved. Make it happen.


    alphabetbands on Twitter: "Smash & grab from Reading tonight but that ability to soak pressure will see them up. Saints have looked porous all season."

  8. 2155: 

    It is perhaps worth pointing out that Reading had a superb 2010-11 campaign but fell at the last (it is Grand National weekend), losing to Swansea in the play-off final. They lost the influential Shane Long in the summer but they are well managed and have a good team spirit (not unlike Saints). I don't think they need to worry too much about the play-offs this season.

  9. 2153: 

    Can anyone stop Reading now? I very much doubt it. Saints have been in the top two all season. They have remaining games against Peterborough, Middlesbrough and Coventry. I cannot see them slipping up either.


    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "Reading move a step closer to promotion with a vital victory but Saints will certainly join them if they play like they they did tonight. Saints were robbed, but that won't matter one bit to Brian McDermott and his side."


    From Les Wilson, Farnborough, Hants (Man Utd Season Ticket holder): "Saints fans down in the mouth? Joke! Still a good chance of auto promotion and they have been brilliant all season! Worst case is play offs - who at St Mary's wouldn't have taken that if offered last August? Believe!"


    Intriguing Cap on Twitter: Simply brilliant full credit Brian McD and all the #readfingfc squad #bbcfootball not boring at all for us! Congrats Going Up."

  13. 2144: 

    One other result of significance to tell you about. The game between League Two strugglers Barnet and Hereford at Underhill finished 1-1. That is enough to lift the Bulls off the bottom, while Barnet remain 22nd. Barnet 1-1 Hereford


    Joe Netimah on Twitter: "I must say Reading's run of form has been exceptional . They deserve to be champs . Feel sorry for the saints though."

  15. 2142: 

    Reading's remaining fixtures - Forest and Palace at home, before Birmingham away.

    FULL-TIME- Southampton 1-3 Reading

    The full-time whistle sounds, Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins shake hands. The away fans quite rightly celebrate a huge, huge result. The Royals are now top of the Championship with just three games of the regular season remaining. They are three points clear of Saints and nine clear of West Ham in third, although the Hammers have a game in hand.

  17. 2140: 

    Reading will be on 85 points at the end of tonight.

    GOAL- Southampton 1-3 Reading - Adam Le Fondre

    Brian McDermott looks slightly anxious. No need. Substitute Adam Le Fondre scores his second, taking one touch to control the ball and take it away from the despairing Kelvin Davis before slotting home with his second from a tight angle. A poor header towards Davis from Jose Fonte played its part in the goal.

  19. 2136: 

    Lots of frustration at St Mary's. Billy Sharp goes down under pressure from Shaun Cummings. A big penalty appeal, turned down by referee Mike Dean. More desperation than anything else. Four minutes of added time.


    Liam Hadley on Twitter: "Reading are so boring, they just absorb pressure & break. Yes it works (esp with a keeper of Federici's quality) but it's dull."


  21. 2133: 

    It is all Saints at the moment (sorry). Reading defending deeper and deeper. The Royals thinking? What we have, we hold.

  22. 2131: 

    Five minutes of normal time left. Some Saints fans looking very down in the mouth.


    Rachel Roach on Twitter: "I'm growing fonder and fonder of Adam Le Fondre."

  24. 2130: 

    Good chance for Saints after a jinking, teasing run from Steve de Ridder, whose shot from a tight angle strikes Adam Federici on the chest. Reflex save? I'm not sure the keeper knew too much about it.

  25. 2129: 

    Underhill update, it remains Barnet 1-1 Hereford.

  26. 2128: 

    Fleetwood are made to wait to secure promotion to League Two after drawing 2-2 with Lincoln City. That said, if Wrexham do not defeat Grimsby then the Cod Army's delayed celebrations can start for real. Fleetwood Town 2-2 Lincoln City


    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "We are top of the league" chant the Reading fans. In 10 minutes time they could virtually be Premier League."

  28. 2126: 

    There is roughly 10 minutes left at St Mary's for Saints to salvage something from this contest. I have to say that they don't really deserve to be on the losing side but their opponents have shown them what clinical finishing is all about.


    From Spence Liverpool fan near Waterloo station: "As a Liverpool fan in London for tomorrow's semi final, I'd be worried if we played either Southampton or reading at the moment. Both teams playing some great stuff. Can see 3-2 Southampton by 90 minutes."

  30. 2124: 

    Reading goalscorer Jason Roberts makes way for Benik Afobe as the visiting team look to try to close out this match.

  31. 2122: 

    Chance, but Danny Butterfield's effort from the edge of the box lacks effort and is easily saved. Saints make a change, with Guilherme Do Prado replacing Dean Hammond.

  32. 2120: 

    Time running out for Fleetwood to clinch promotion tonight. They need to win to secure promotion to League Two tonight. It is 2-2 with less than five minutes remaining.

    GOAL- Southampton 1-2 Reading - Adam Le Fondre

    Jimmy Kebe plays the ball into the box from the right after collecting a pass from Noel Hunt. I'm pretty sure Kebe is trying to play the ball back to Hunt but it breaks to Adam Le Fondre as he bursts into the box and the striker smashes it into the roof of the net from 14 yards.

  34. 2116: 

    Should score. Must score. Ah. Doesn't score. Adam Lallana gets on the end of a probing, teasing cross at the far post but cannot keep his header on target from seven yards. Poor from an excellent player.


    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "It's gone a little quiet at St Mary's as both sides prepare for the closing stages of this game. Who is going to make the decisive move? Billy Sharp's influence on this game is growing with Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert also proving a threat. What have Reading got in response?"

  36. 2114: 

    Busy couple of minutes for Steve de Ridder. Jason Roberts collects the ball on the half-way line, gets his head down and charges towards goal. Eventually he is surrounded on the edge of the box by three Saints players and is thwarted by an excellent challenge from De Ridder.

  37. 2113: 

    Noel Hunt moves to a wider position for Reading, while Adam Le Fondre, who is up front, draws a foul after cleverly holding up the ball. It comes to nothing and Saints attack, with Steve de Ridder drawing a decent block from Ian Harte.


    Daniel D on Twitter: "Top three Championship clubs and overachieving Newcastle have all been managed by Alan Pardew. Coincidence or genius?"

  39. 2110: 

    Adam Le Fondre, a striker, comes on for Jay Tabb, a midfielder, as Royals boss Brian McDermott makes a change.


    From Ollie, trudging home in Southampton: "I'm just walking home from work and I can hear the St. Marys crowd from nearly 2 miles away! I really wish I was there to sample the atmosphere."

    Ed in Peterborough: "Peter metelli on twitter is talking twoddle. Peterborough beat Reading 3-1 just a few weeks ago."

    Ah, Peter might need a rethink. I've not helped him there by publishing his error without checking first.

  41. 2107: 

    Saints prolific striker Rickie Lambert is oozing confidence and takes this one early, striking the ball low and hard from 25 yards but also dragging it somewhat wide of goal.

  42. 2106: 

    I'm going to suggest that this match is taking a breather. Lots of play in the middle third over the last five or so minutes. I just hope this contest does not peter out, with both teams settling for a point.


    Owain Evans on Twitter: "The stat by somebody about Reading conceding 2 or more since november is wrong, cardiff beat them 3-1 in january."


    Chris Baillie on Twitter: "Forget Southampton vs reading. Chelsea just beat man utd in the youth cup semi final 3-2 on aggregate. 1-1 on the night."

    BBC Sport's Steve Claridge at St Mary's Stadium:

    "Saints have had the majority of chances and possession. It has been a really good performance from them so far."


    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "St Mary's erupts as that man Rickie Lambert combines with Billy Sharp to put Southampton level. His partnership with Sharp is showing real signs of promise. Saints now look the more likely to take all three points here."

  47. 2058: 

    Saints make an early change, with Steve de Ridder on for Richard Chaplow. I suggest looking at the text from Tom in Romsey (2051).

  48. 2058: 

    Saints on the attack again, with Richard Chaplow picking the ball up out on the right and thrashing the ball towards the near post. Adam Federici saves. From the subsequent corner Jos Hooiveld once again poorly skims a header wide.

  49. 2056: 

    Hmm, the ball is played over the top, Jason Roberts tries to reach it on the left-hand side of the penalty area, Kelvin Davis charges out of his goal and the two players have something of a coming together. Roberts goes down in a heap, Davis does not appear to get all that much of the ball but, perhaps, just enough. No penalty.

    GOAL- Southampton 1-1 Reading - Rickie Lambert (48 mins)

    Game on, in a big way. A neat move culminates with Billy Sharp chesting the ball into the path of Rickie Lambert, whose shot takes a deflection off Kaspars Gorkss and into the Royals net for his 27th league goal of the season.


    Peter Metelli on Twitter: "Soton need to score 2 now & only 1 team has done that to Reading since November (West Ham - and they lost 4-2)."

  52. 2051: 

    Jason Roberts crosses himself. Play restarts at St Mary's. No subs (as far as I can see).


    From Tom in Romsey: "If Chaplow is still on the pitch in the second half, Adkins is being stupid. Why give Harte a chance to keep up by playing a slow winger? Bring De Ridder on!"

  54. 2047: 

    Oh, so close. Fleetwood - who will seal promotion with a win tonight - have just had a goal disallowed for offside. It is 2-2, with the Trawlermen battling back from 2-0 down.


    Brian Dolton on Twitter: "@Jonny_Foster91 But will those championship sides turn to boring football in Prem just to try and stay up?"

  56. 2045: 

    While we momentarily come up for air, I reckon this is a good time to remind you that we will have a full Football League live text commentary for you on Saturday - and indeed every Saturday for the remainder of the season. Pleased?

  57. 2043: 

    I see that Jason Roberts is currently trending on Twitter. Being a busy tweeter himself I imagine he will be rather pleased with that. Reckon he would rather claim three points though.

  58. 2040: 

    It is 1-1 at the break at Underhill, in the League Two relegation scrap between Barnet and Hereford. We are into the second half at Highbury, where promotion-chasing Fleetwood Town have just equalised against Lincoln, Jamie Vardy once again for the Cod Army. Fleetwood 2-2 Lincoln City


    Jonny Foster on Twitter: "I'd have so many of these exciting championship sides back in prem over boring teams like stoke and wolves."


    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "Adam Federici has been superb in the Reading goal and that tells you everything you need to know about this game. He has kept out everything Saints have thrown at him with Jason Roberts' goal giving Reading the lead against the run of play. Big 45 minutes coming up for both sides."

    BBC Sport's Steve Claridge at St Mary's Stadium:

    "On the balance of play Southampton really should not be behind."

  62. 2035: 
    HALF-TIME- Southampton 0-1 Reading

    Hmm. Saints have had most of this game but trail at the break. It reminds me of something Diego Maradona talks about in his autobiography about the pleasures to be had from absorbing, defending, holding firm and then striking on the counter. Bam.

  63. 2033: 

    Chance! A teasing, inviting cross from the left but Rickie Lambert cannot keep his header on target from six yards. It is a head-in-hands job from the Southampton forward.

  64. 2032: 

    A poor connection from Adam Lallana, who rather scuffs his attempt to ease a cross towards goal. Difficult to know what Nigel Adkins should say to his troops at the break other than more of the same with perhaps a little more precision up front.

  65. 2030: 

    So, as things stand Reading have a three-point advantage at the top of the Championship with three games of the regular season remaining. However, I admit that I am getting a little ahead of myself.........

  66. 2028: 

    Still Saints push forward, with Richard Chaplow seeing a lot of the ball on the right. The home team have bossed the game in midfield and created chances. Steve Claridge on BBC Radio 5 live reckons this is the best tempo he has seen from Saints all season.

  67. 2025: 

    Adam Federici is not happy - and with good reason. The keeper charges from his goal to collect the ball but Richard Chaplow catches him in the face as he slides past him in a vain attempt to get to the ball first. Difficult to prove intent but the Royals keeper is furious. Chaplow goes into the book.


    Nick Langridge on Twitter: "Saints against Reading is as big as Chelsea against Barcelona. Sort of."

  69. 2022: 

    News from the battle at the wrong end of League Two. Veteran striker Delroy Facey had put Hereford up after 11 minutes but that has now been cancelled out by Ben May, who has drawn Barnet level. Is it me or are relegation battles becoming an annual happening at Underhill? Barnet 1-1 Hereford

  70. 2020: 

    A cross from the left just eludes the jump of Jimmy Kebe at the far stick. Reading remain dangerous on the break.

  71. 2019: 

    Penalty appeal. Billy Sharp gets the wrong side of Kaspars Gorkss as a cross comes in from deep on the left. Gorkss's challenge is clumsy but referee Mike Dean is not interested. The scoreline does not reflect the balance of play.

  72. 2016: 

    Promotion (tonight) back on? Just before the break and Fleetwood pull a goal back through Jamie Vardy, who strikes his 33rd of the season from 10 yards. Fleetwood 1-2 Lincoln City


    Chris Bloomfield on Twitter: "Great header by Roberts! Terrible sale by Blackburn it must be said!"

  74. 2013: 

    Saints pushing for an equaliser, with Adam Federici saving an impudent attempt from Adam Lallana. Saints have a good chance from the subsequent corner but a completely unmarked Jos Hooiveld heads well wide.

    BBC Sport's Steve Claridge at St Mary's Stadium:

    "Jason Roberts was putting himself about when I saw Reading against Brighton the other night and I must say he has been a fantastic signing for Reading, great alongside Noel Hunt."

  76. 2010: 

    Reading, obviously, now have the advantage but the goal does not seem to have altered the pattern of the game, with Saints continuing to dictate and pressurise their opponents.

    GOAL- Southampton 0-1 Reading- Jason Roberts (19 mins)

    Saints on top? Not any more. Jimmy Kebe crosses from the right touchline and Jason Roberts heads into the goal from six yards. Where was the marking?

  78. 2006: 

    Chance, good one. The Royals seem to have no match for the aerial threat of Rickie Lambert, who easily eases Shaun Cummings to one side before heading goalwards across goal. His effort draws an acrobatic save from Adam Federici.

  79. 2004: 

    Richard Chaplow looking dangerous down the right for the Saints, causing Ian Harte all sorts of problems. One this occasion Chaplow runs straight into the Royals left-back and his appeals for a foul fall on stony ground.

  80. 2002: 

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: Great atmosphere inside St Mary's, with the home crowd's nerves settled by their side's fine start to this game. Billy Sharp's movement is proving to be a thorn in Reading's side and Saints look the more likely to score.

  81. 2001: 

    A sighter, a good one. Billy Sharp is clean through but Shaun Cummings shows an excellent turn of speed to get back and clear. Saints win a corner and Reading just cannot clear. The pressure ends with a deflected shot from the excellent Adam Lallana that Adam Federici saves low down.

  82. 1959: 

    And Alex Pearce heads it waaaay over.

  83. 1959: 

    Pass, pass, pass - Reading trying to put a few passes together, slow it down, draw the sting. The move ends with an ambitious long ball towards Jason Roberts that earns them a corner.

  84. 1957: 

    More tidy approach play from Saints before Kaspars Gorkss cuts out Richard Chaplow's ball. One team clearly on top. No real sighters so far for Jason Roberts and Noel Hunt up front for Reading.


    Edward Bluemel on Twitter: "Ricky Lambert for Euro 2012 anyone?"

  86. 1954: 

    Midfielder Adam Lallana picks out Rickie Lambert but the ball rather gets stuck under the striker's feet and the Royals clear. The home team have shown the greater cutting edge so far.

  87. 1951: 

    The first sight of goal at St Mary's and it has gone to Rickie Lambert, who is played in down the right and shoots across goal. Adam Federici saves, but only just. Not the sharpest save from the Aussie stopper.

  88. 1951: 

    More ice at Fleetwood, on ice that is. Still, Trawlermen should be able to manage that? The Cod Army have fallen two behind, Jefferson Louis with a header. Fleetwood 0-2 Lincoln City

  89. 1949: 

    Nigel Adkins is taking the sartorial elegance award, his sharp suit eclipsing Brian McDermott's workmanlike trackie. Royals trying to get the ball down and play; two minutes in and the match has yet to settle down.

  90. 1947: 

    The match starts at St Mary's (a touch late). It is a packed to the rafters job. A far cry from Saints mid-table League One tedium not so very long ago. Group hugs all round. Now, can the two teams produce something that shows just why the Championship is so exciting?


    Chris Davies on Twitter: "May I suggest that whoever loses out of Barnet and Hereford tonight, is leaving league football? Come on you Bulls."

    BBC Sport's Steve Claridge at St Mary's Stadium:

    "Nobody can say that Saints do not deserve to be top of the Championship but Reading have been on a sensational run. They find ways to win games."

  93. 1943: 

    Out they come. You know what I'm talking about.

  94. 1940: 

    Hmm, not going so well for Fleetwood as they push for the result that will secure promotion to League Two. They might already have 102 points in the bag but they trail Lincoln 1-0. The Cod Army are looking to clinch their fifth promotion in eight seasons. Jamie Taylor scores from inside the box low into the bottom corner. Fleetwood 0-1 Lincoln City

  95. 1939: 

    Reading will line up in their familiar 4-4-2 formation. Those who watch the Royals on a regular basis will tell you that the settled strikeforce of Jason Roberts and Noel Hunt has had a very positive impact. Saints fans will doubtless point out that Rickie Lambert has scored 26 Championship goals. Just about done with talking this one up, I'm ready for the action now.


    Sam Victory on Twitter: "As a West Ham fan, I don't know who I would rather win looking at the last remaining fixtures."

  97. 1933: 

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: "The sun has now set over St Mary's, the floodlights are on and the supporters continue to pack into the ground. Both sides are going through their final preparations on the pitch as the teams are read out to a mixture of chorus and boos. There is already a buzz about this game. Everyone knows what is at stake as trips to Old Trafford and Anfield are now within touching distance."

  98. 1931: 

    I would argue that all the ingredients are there for a tasty affair but if you wanted further spice then you could perhaps consider that Saints have the best home record in the division, and Reading the second best away from home. Indeed, tonight's game is so hot that Lawro has ventured into Football League territory in his weekly predictions. That is like some gold seal of approval.


    Royals4thePrem on Twitter: "This wont be a classic with so much at stake, but credit to both teams for being where they are and can't wait for kickoff."

    Talk it up, why don't you.

  100. 1927: 

    Now is probably a good time to mention that during the last three Saturdays of the regular season we will be writing a Football League-focused live text commentary over and above our regular diet of live Saturday football. There will be lots to cover and steam will doubtless be rising from the keyboard of the person charged with writing it - Phil Dawkes on Saturday - but such a fantastic league undoubtedly deserves a little bit more love.


    Chris Anderson on Twitter: "Good luck to fleetwood town tonight!!!"


    Jimmy Donovan via text: "Saints have been consistent all season and whether we win it or not, I think we're definitely going up. Adkins has been amazing for us. Reading are a tough team but I think we'll clinch it tonight."


    Southampton: Davis, Butterfield, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Chaplow, Hammond, Cork, Lallana, Sharp, Lambert. Subs: Richardson, Harding, Do Prado, Martin, De Ridder.

    Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Mullins, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts, Hunt. Subs: McCarthy, Gunnarsson, Le Fondre, Church, Afobe.

    Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)


    Max Bell on Twitter: "As a Scunthorpe fan, I'd absolutely love it if Nigel Adkins took Southampton up. He deserves infinite success!"

  105. 1916: 

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: When I arrived here at 1730 BST there was not a soul in the stadium, bar the odd steward and a few eager journalists. A kind of eerie calm descended on St Mary's. Now 90 minutes later, the sun is setting over St Mary's and the ground is filling up nicely, by kick-off it will completely sold out. A night game always seems to have an extra intensity and this evening is no different. There is a mixture of nervousness, excitement and expectation among the spectators here as by 2200 BST fans of Southampton or Reading will have a better idea of whether they have moved a step closer to reaching English football's promised land\u2026the Premier League.

  106. 1914: 

    Southampton and Reading both have intelligent, calm (usually) and likeable managers in Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott, excellent well-balanced squads and a burning desire to return to the top flight, but they do differ in how they have reached their current lofty heights. Saints have not been out of the top two all season, while Reading made a slow start to the campaign but have steadily picked up form and are making a late charge for an automatic promotion place. A good tip? I'd be keeping my money in my pocket on this one.


    From Mick Clark, Saints fan since 1966: "Since Nigel Adkins took over the whole atmosphere round the club has changed....he is so underrated , everyone talks about Reading .....we've been in the Top 2 all season after having been promoted last year . How about some credit for him? COYR !"

  108. 1912: 

    The two teams are currently warming up. The pitch looks immaculate. You could argue that the Saints have the slight edge, boasting a superior goal difference, but the Royals are the form horse, with 13 wins and just one defeat in their last 15 league fixtures, a run that stretches back to 28 January. Mind you, Southampton are hardly out of form, as they have also suffered just one defeat in their last 15, although there are five draws in that sequence.


    Adam Oliver on Twitter: "I think it will be a closely battled draw. Two Consistent teams, Southampton will win the Championship."

  110. 1907: 

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: Southampton are unchanged from the side that beat Crystal Palace earlier in the week so that means top scorer Rickie Lambert partners Billy Sharp up front. Reading make the one change from the side that defeated Brighton, with Jay Tabb returning to replace Tomasz Cywka in midfield.

  111. 1904: 

    There is plenty more besides the business at St Mary's to keep across tonight. Fleetwood could clinch promotion to League Two, while Barnet and Hereford could move a whole lot closer to leaving that division, but in a most unwanted direction.

  112. 1902: 

    So with the greatest prize in sport at stake (arguably), I reckon you should let me know who you think is going to come out on top tonight and who you reckon will end the season celebrating promotion, doubtless by buying a much bigger calculator to count all the cash that will be coming their way. Tweet me @Paul__Fletcher using the hashtag #bbcfootball or texting us on 81111. Make sure YOU PUT YOUR NAME on those texts though.

  113. 1901: 

    Just before we get stuck firmly into the business of the Football League let me flag something else up. After the phenomenal success of Sport Relief weekend, when more than \u00a350m was raised for good causes, the fundraising continues this month with the inaugural 'Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief'. On the weekend of 27-29 April, the BBC is teaming up with Swimathon & British Swimming to give thousands of swimmers the opportunity to raise money for charity through distance swimming challenges. There are more than 640 pools taking part across the UK. You know you want to be involved. Make it happen.

  114. 1858: 

    BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan at St Mary's Stadium: Southampton manager Nigel Adkins uses his programme notes to compare this season's Championship race to Saturday's Grand National at Aintree. "Everyone at Southampton has worked very hard to put us in the position we are, akin to Saturday's Grand National horse race," says Adkins. "In the demands of a long season, every game is like a fence to jump, we have stayed in the race, and now we must look to go and win it." Adkins will be hoping that having led the race for much of the season, his side do not falter with the finishing line in sight.

  115. 1856: 

    Southampton and Reading have both played 3,780 minutes of Championship football this season (excluding injury time) across 42 fixtures. It has not been enough to separate them, as both have accrued 82 points. The two teams meet tonight at St Mary's Stadium in what must be the biggest fixture in the Football League so far this season. What more reason could you want for a live text commentary from the second tier?

  116. 1855: 

    Evening all - ready for a big one?

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As It Stands Table

Sky Bet Championship summary table; it charts each team by position, team name, games played, total goal difference and points
Position Team Played Goal Difference Points
No movement 1 Derby 18 18 35
No movement 2 Bournemouth 18 17 32
No movement 3 M'boro 18 14 32
No movement 4 Ipswich 18 8 31
No movement 5 Brentford 18 2 31
No movement 6 Blackburn 18 4 30
No movement 7 Watford 18 10 29
No movement 8 Nottm Forest 18 6 28
No movement 9 Charlton 18 2 28
No movement 10 Norwich 18 6 27
No movement 11 Wolves 18 -3 27
No movement 12 Cardiff 18 1 26
No movement 13 Sheff Wed 18 -2 22
No movement 14 Huddersfield 18 -6 21
No movement 15 Reading 18 -6 21
No movement 16 Leeds 18 -5 20
No movement 17 Fulham 18 -5 19
No movement 18 Millwall 18 -5 19
No movement 19 Birmingham 18 -14 19
No movement 20 Brighton 18 -3 18
No movement 21 Bolton 18 -7 18
No movement 22 Rotherham 18 -10 18
No movement 23 Wigan 18 -4 17
No movement 24 Blackpool 18 -18 8