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Championship playoff: Reading 2 Swansea 4

Swansea City are back in English football’s top flight for the first time in 28 years after a 4-2 win over Reading in the playoff final.

A hat-trick from attacker Scott Sinclair helped Brendan Rodgers’ side win their way from the Championship on Monday and into the English Premier League for the first time since the 1982/83 season.

Reading fought back from 3-0 down at half-time to pull it back to 3-2, but Sinclair’s third from the penalty spot ended any hope they had of a remarkable comeback.

It was two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half that gave Swansea the advantage.

Midfielder Nathan Dyer was brought down by Reading defender Zurab Khizanishvili in the area and Sinclair stepped up to coolly slot the spot kick into the bottom corner.

He had his brace a minute later as Stephen Dobbie broke free down the right, squaring across the area with Sinclair free to tap in at the back post after Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici had managed to fingertip the cross.

With five minutes to play in the half, Swansea went 3-0 up as Khizanishvili cleared a cross from the right into the path of Scottish attacker Dobbie, who placed his right-foot strike into the bottom corner.

Reading forward Shane Long should have pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, but he mis-hit his chance at the back post.

Reading midfielder Jay Tabb, who started on the bench, and assistant manager Nigel Gibbs, were sent off at the interval for abusive language.

But Brian McDermott’s team fought back in the second half, striking twice in the space of eight minutes.

Forward Noel Hunt headed in a corner from Ian Harte at the near post, before captain Matthew Mills brought it back to 3-2.

Mills rose highest to head in midfielder Jobi McAnuff’s corner in the 57th minute.

Reading went within inches of an equaliser three minutes later as Jem Karacan saw his fizzing 20-yard effort deflected onto the post.

Sinclair completed his treble 10 minutes from the end as a poor challenge from Reading defender Andy Griffin handed him another penalty.

He again struck to Federici’s right to seal a famous win.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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