Championship: Late goal denies Stoke promotion

April 26, 2008

Hull struck late on to keep alive their hopes of beating Stoke to an automatic promotion place in the Coca-Cola Championship this afternoon.

Stoke moved top with a 1-0 win over relegated Colchester and had been just five minutes away from securing a place in the top flight.

But Hull got themselves back in the picture as Ian Ashbee stunned Crystal Palace, who are not yet sure of a play-off place, with an 85th-minute winner at KC Stadium.

The battle between the two will now go down to the final round of the fixtures next week and second-placed West Brom will also be involved if they do not beat Southampton on Monday.

Richard Cresswell hit Stoke's winner in the 45th minute at Layer Road, the final competitive game to be played at the ground.

Hull led through Fraizer Campbell against Palace but were pegged back by Scott Sinclair until Ashbee's late intervention.

Bristol City's hopes of automatic promotion were ended as they went down 2-1 at Sheffield United.

Gary Speed hit both the Blades' goals, the second from the penalty spot, after Michael McIndoe had opened the scoring.

Watford also slipped up, losing at relegated Scunthorpe after a 69th-minute goal from Paul Hayes.

Wolves and Ipswich remain just outside the play-off positions despite being held to draws at Coventry and Preston respectively.

Wolves' match at the Ricoh Arena ended 1-1 after a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake penalty cancelled out Elliott Ward's opener.

Ipswich needed an 87th-minute equaliser from Jonathan Walters to come away from Deepdale with a 2-2 draw.

Tommy Miller had given the visitors an early lead but Chris Brown (34) and Neil Mellor (79) replied.

At the bottom of the table, Sheffield Wednesday pulled themselves out of the bottom three with a vital 3-1 win over relegation rivals Leicester at the Walkers Stadium.

Leon Clarke secured the Owls' success in the 89th minute after Bartosz Slusarski and Steve Watson had responded to Iain Hume's early strike for the Foxes.

Hume also missed a penalty on a heart-stopping afternoon, as did Deon Burton for Wednesday.

Leicester are now just a point above the bottom three, and Southampton below them have Monday's game in hand.

Barnsley and Norwich secured Championship football for another year with convincing 3-0 home wins over Charlton and QPR respectively.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Lewin Nyatanga and Jon Macken were the men on target for the Tykes while the Canaries' goals came from Ched Evans, Mark Fotheringham and Darel Russell.

QPR were struggling in that game from the moment Damion Stewart was sent off for a foul on Evans after just five minutes.

Rory Fallon struck twice as Plymouth also enjoyed a 3-0 win over Blackpool, Jermaine Easter scoring their other goal.

Steven Thompson hit a late equaliser as Cardiff claimed a 3-3 draw at Burnley.

Clarke Carlisle's effort just three minutes earlier looked to have won it for the Clarets after Cardiff had come from 2-0 down to level.

Graham Alexander and Andy Cole put Burnley in front before Joe Ledley hit a penalty and Aaron Ramsey also scored. Cardiff finished with 10 men after Darren Purse was sent off in the final minute.