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Championship round-up: Royals go marching on towards Premier League

Despite Leeds United's best attempts to kick them off the park, in-form Reading held their nerve and secured another victory on Good Friday with two late goals to go top of the Championship.

Reading's 2-0 win at the Madejski Stadium made it 12 wins and a draw for the Royals in their last 14 games and they are closing in on securing automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Leeds were reduced to 10 men in the 13th minute after Zac Thompson's challenge on Jem Karacan.

Despite the visitors' efforts to frustrate Reading for much of the game, Brian McDermott's side eventually got the breakthrough when substitute Adam Le Fondre (pictured) struck in the 84th minute, then Le Fondre sealed victory with a second goal six minutes later.

The win saw Reading go top of the Championship for the first time in six years. The last time they were top, they went on to secure the title, then finished eighth in the Premier League the following season.

West Ham hammer Barnsley

Victory against Leeds took Reading seven points clear of the Hammers, but West Ham closed the gap to four points again with a 4-0 win at Barnsley in Friday's late game. 

Kevin Nolan (7 minutes), Nicky Maynard (23), Mark Noble (35) and Ricardo Vaz Te (55) were the West Ham goalscorers, as Sam Allardyce's side secured a new club record of 12 away wins in a season.

That means the Hammers finished the day just three points behind second-placed Southampton with five games to play, although the Saints have a superior goal difference and have a game in hand over West Ham.

In Friday's other games, Brighton's play-off hopes suffered a blow as they lost 1-0 at Burnley after Charlie Austin's 23rd-minute strike, while Blackpool strengthened their play-off ambitions with a 2-0 win at Watford thanks to a goal in each half for Stephen Dobbie.  

Southampton will have a chance to regain their lead at the top of the Championship when they entertain Portsmouth on Saturday (1pm kick-off).


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