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Saints three points clear, Hammers held by Birmingham

Southampton moved three points clear at the top of the Championship with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday - as Rickie Lambert's double took his tally for the season to 30 goals.

Lambert struck on 39 and 56 minutes, for his 25th and 26th league goals this season, to temporarily take the Saints six points clear of third-placed West Ham in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League, with just four games remaining.

West Ham failed to win at home again as they came from two goals behind twice to secure a 3-3 draw in a thriling game against Birmingham in the day's late game.

Birmingham were 2-0 up with goals from Jordon Mutch and Marlon King in the 27th and 30th minutes. Ricardo Vaz Te pulled a goal back in the third minute of first half stoppage time, only for Chris Burke to score Birmingham's third a minute later.

Carlton Cole gave West Ham hope when he made it 3-2 in the 70th minute and an 89th-minute penalty from Vaz Te levelled the scores.

Seven points from their last four games will secure the Saints a place in the Premier League and Reading will join them if they can take 10 points from their last five games - even if West Ham win all of their remaining games.

The Royals can join Southampton on 82 points - five clear of West Ham with four games to play - if they win away to Brighton, who are still in contention for a play-off spot, on Tuesday evening.

Monday's other games:

Blackpool 1-1 Barnsley

Barnsley 0-1, 47 minutes, David Perkins

Blackpool 1-1, 71 minutes, Matt Phillips

Sent off: Keith Southern (Blackpool) 20 minutes

Bristol City 3-1 Coventry

Coventry 0-1, 33 minutes, Jon Stead (own goal)

Bristol City 1-1, 47 minutes, Jon Stead

Bristol City 2-1, 82 minutes, Yannick Bolasie

Bristol City 3-1, 90 minutes, Chris Wood

Sent off: Brett Pitman (Bristol City) 86 minutes

Cardiff 1-1 Watford

Cardiff 1-0, 45 minutes, Kenny Miller

Watford 1-1, 82 minutes, Nyron Nosworthy

Doncaster 1-2 Burnley

Burnley 0-1, 36 minutes, Josh McQuoid

Doncaster 1-1, 56 minutes, Chris Brown

Burnley 1-2, 76 minutes, Charlie Austin (penalty)

Hull 2-1 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough 0-1, 13 minutes, Marvin Emnes

Hull 1-1, 58 minutes, Joshua King

Hull 2-1, 88 minutes, Matt Fryatt

Ipswich 2-1 Leicester

Ipswich 0-1, 43 minutes, Jason Scotland

Leicester 1-1, 45 minutes, Ben Marshall

Leicester 1-2, 58 minutes, David Nugent

Leeds United 0-2 Derby

Derby 0-1, 32 minutes, Craig Bryson

Derby 0-2, 66 minutes, Steve Davies

Sent off: Michael Brown (Leeds United) 25 minutes

Peterborough 0-1 Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest 0-1, 38 minutes, Dexter Blackstock

Sent off: Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest) 69 minutes


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