Result: Southampton 1-3 Reading

Jason Roberts
© PA Photos
Reading give their automatic promotion hopes a boost as a 3-1 win over Southampton at St Mary's takes the Royals top of the Championship.

Reading have moved above Southampton to the top of the Championship table with a 3-1 win at St Mary's.

The victory has now made automatic promotion to the Premier League look likely for Brian McDermott's side.

The hosts dominated from the first whistle as Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici was forced to tip away Rickie Lambert's low drive.

Federici had to pull off a smart save soon after when Adam Llalana's shot had taken a deflection through a crowd of bodies in the area.

Llalana had two more efforts before 15 minutes had even been played, but Federici was again equal to them.

Having had barely a sniff on goal, Reading took the lead with 19 minutes gone as Jason Roberts powered in a header from six yards following Jimmy Kebe's whipped cross.

The Saints nearly drew themselves level before the break, but Jos Hooiveld could only put his free header wide from a corner before Lambert floated his header over.

Southampton came out flying for the second half, and they drew themselves level in the 48th minute when Lambert's deflected effort hit the back of the net.

Richard Chaplow's shot was gathered by Federici soon after, while Lambert was again on the prowl as he dragged his effort wide.

Despite the home side controlling the flow of the game, Reading again delievered the killer blow against the run of play.

This time it was substitute Adam Le Fondre who powered the ball into the roof of the net from Kebe's pull back with 15 minutes to play.

The win was sealed in injury time when Le Fondre capitalised on some slack defending from Jose Font before slotting in.

The league leaders are now nine points clear of the playoff places with three games left to play.

Brian McDermott
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea26203355193663
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs26158350183253
3Manchester CityMan City25164551292252
4Arsenal25155554282650
5Liverpool26147555332249
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd25139338211748
7Everton26128642271544
8West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2611783632440
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113544-933
10Stoke CityStoke2688103040-1032
11Burnley2694132837-931
12Watford2687113043-1331
13Southampton2586112831-330
14Bournemouth2675143651-1526
15Leicester CityLeicester2666142744-1724
16Swansea CitySwansea2673163257-2524
17Middlesbrough26410121928-922
18Crystal Palace2664163346-1322
19Hull City2656152350-2721
20Sunderland2654172448-2419
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