Sport

West Ham inch closer to Premier League qualification

Staff Reporter

West Ham have ensured their spot in the season final after beating Leicester 2-1 in their npower Championship away match at Walker Stadium.

West Ham ensured their bid for automatic promotion to the English Premier League will go to the final day of the npower Championship season after coming from behind to win 2-1 away to Leicester on Monday.

The Hammers had to take all three points at the Walkers Stadium otherwise Southampton would have been assured of the second and final automatic promotion spot behind already crowned Championship winners Reading.

Leicester led when Ben Marshall’s cross was headed home by Jermaine Beckford in the 34th minute but five minutes later Winston Reid equalised from Matty Taylor’s centre.

Jack Collison settled the match in West Ham’s favour with a 25-yard shot shortly before the hour mark.

West Ham are two points behind the Saints going into Saturday’s final.

The London club need to beat Hull City on the final day and hope Southampton lose to relegated Coventry.

If the Saints draw, West Ham would need to win by three or four goals—depending on how many Southampton score—to clinch promotion.

“We got exactly what we wanted tonight,” said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce after Monday’s win over the Foxes.

“It’s a good night for us and of course we’ve stayed in the race until the very end, which is what we wanted and we have to do our job on Saturday and just hope that Coventry can do a little bit at Southampton and then we’ll wait and see,” added Allardyce, who has premier league managerial experience with Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn.

“It’s one game left and who knows, if Southampton get the jitters or the nerves, or Coventry play with no fear because they’ve been relegated now, who knows, but we need to make sure we do our job and win against Hull.

“Whether we go straight up, which is a slim chance, or whether we go in the play-offs, it’s still been a very good season from the players and everybody concerned,” Allardyce insisted.

Teams that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the regular Championship season will enter play-offs, which culminate in a Wembley final for the prize of the third and last promotion place to the Premier League.

West Ham are looking to bounce straight back to the top flight following their relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season while it is seven years since south coast side Southampton last played in the Premier League.—Sapa-AFP

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