London: Reading capped a remarkable run of form by securing promotion back to the English Premier League on Tuesday after a 1-0 victory at home against Nottingham Forest guaranteed them a top-two finish in the Championship (second division). Reading, who have taken 46 points from a possible 51 over their last 17 games, return to the top-flight four seasons after losing their place in 2008.
Fans flooded onto the pitch in celebration after a victory at the Madjeski stadium that moved Reading, beaten by Swansea in last season's play-off final, onto 88 points from 44 matches, three ahead of nearest pursuers Southampton, who won 3-1 at Peterborough.
"I'm delighted and It's a great night for us. It was a tough game tonight," Reading manager Brian McDermott told BBC radio. "I couldn't see too much good in losing that play-off final at Wembley last year but perhaps this is meant to be. I'm not even bothered about the Premier League tonight; I'm just concerned about the players and [the] staff. It's a night for the fans."
Southampton are poised to join Reading in gaining automatic promotion. The south coast club has a five-point advantage over West Ham United, who could only draw 1-1 at Bristol City on Tuesday, with two matches remaining. The top two go up automatically and the next four teams go through to the promotion play-offs.
Mikele Leigertwood's late goal gave Reading victory over Forest, who could at least take some consolation in defeat. Results elsewhere meant the former European champions Forest, in 19th place on 47 points, cannot be relegated.
Portsmouth (40 points), Coventry City (40) and already relegated Doncaster Rovers (33) occupy the bottom three places.