Sport : Football

SAINTS CLOSER TO TOP-FLIGHT

18th April 2012, 01:36pm

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Portsmouth celebrate keeping their survival hopes alive.

Portsmouth celebrate keeping their survival hopes alive.

Southampton took a giant stride towards the Barclays Premier League with a 3-1 win at Peterborough to move five points clear of third-placed West Ham.

Jos Hooiveld and Billy Sharp settled any nerves by putting Saints 2-0 up inside the opening 10 minutes, and after Sharp added his side's third in the 57th minute, Tommy Rowe struck a late consolation.

Sam Allardyce's West Ham look almost certain to have to settle for a place in the play-offs after being held 1-1 at Bristol City on the night that Reading confirmed promotion.

James Tomkins headed the visitors in front, but Cole Skuse equalised in the 29th minute.

City need one more win to secure survival after Portsmouth continued to keep their faint hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Scott Allan and Greg Halford scored for Pompey before Darren Ambrose pulled one back from the spot.

Coventry's Championship future is also hanging by a thread after a 1-0 home defeat to Millwall.

Gary McSheffrey missed a penalty for the Sky Blues before Shane Lowry's 66th minute header gave the Lions victory.

Birmingham failed to claim the win that would have guaranteed them a play-off berth as they drew 1-1 at Ipswich.

Chris Burke put the Blues in front in the 45th minute, but Jay Emmanuel-Thomas equalised 15 minutes from time.

Blackpool consolidated their own play-off place with a 1-0 win over Leeds at Bloomfield Road.

Angel Martinez scored the winner 11 minutes from time, shortly before Leeds defender Darren O'Dea was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Cardiff stayed sixth after goals from Joe Mason and Mark Hudson gave them a 2-0 home win over Derby, but Middlesbrough lost ground as they were held to a goalless draw by already doomed Doncaster.

Matt Fryatt's hat-trick gave Hull a 3-1 win over Barnsley, for whom Andy Gray scored late on, but the Tigers retain only a slight hope of clawing into the play-off places.

Brighton's top-six hopes are over despite coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Watford.

Inigo Calderon and Will Buckley scored late after Sean Murray and Troy Deeney had given the Hornets a half-time lead.

Leicester's slim hopes were also ended as they were held to a goalless draw by Burnley.

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