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Last-minute goal saves Blues but downs Rovers

by Kadeem Simmonds

BIRMINGHAM secured Championship safety thanks to a last-minute Paul Caddis equaliser in their 2-2 draw away to Bolton.

Going into the game knowing that a point would be enough to keep them up, they found themselves two goals down with 14 minutes to go.

But strikes from Nikola Zigic and Caddis in the 93rd minute sent 3,500 travelling Blues fans home feeling as if they had just won the league.

Over in Leicester, however, Doncaster’s 1-0 defeat to champions Leicester condemned Rovers to League One football next season because of their inferior goal difference.

Boss Paul Dickov said: “Obviously we are gutted and disappointed because it was everyone’s aim this year to keep us in this division.”  

Elsewhere in the league,a stoppage-time winner clinched the final play-off position for Rudi Garcia’s Brighton at the expense of Reading.

Leonardo Ulloa’s 90th-minute goal set up a two-legged semi-final tie with Derby, with the winners facing either QPR or Wigan for the final promotion place to the Premier League.

A delighted Garcia said: “We knew that our players would never give up — that they would fight until the end and we got the goal we deserved.

“It is a special time to score, in injury time, but I was happy for the players and for the fans because they deserved this.”

Derby have done the double over Brighton this season but anything can happen in the play-offs and the Spaniard feels that this time they will be prepared for what the Rams have to offer.

“They have beaten us twice this season,” he said. “But we will be ready this time, we will be prepared and we will look to beat them this time around.”

Millwall and Blackpool also ensured survival on the last-day.

A Martyn Woolford header was enough for Ian Holloway’s Lions, while player/manager Barry Ferguson could only watch as his side were convincingly beaten 3-0 at home to Charlton.

Results elsewhere helped the Seasiders avoid relegation despire Ferguson winning three of his 20 games in charge.

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