• The Championship

Hull scrape promotion, Peterborough relegated

ESPN staff
May 4, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Paul McShane's goal ultimately sent Hull City to the Premier League © PA Photos
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Hull City clinched promotion to the Premier League in dramatic circumstances on Saturday, as Watford were left to settle for a place in the Championship play-offs.

Hull drew 2-2 with champions Cardiff at the KC Stadium to eventually guarantee second in the league, but only after Watford - whose own game had been delayed for ten minutes due to injuries - contrived to lose late on against Leeds, when a win would have sent them up.

The Hornets will now play Leicester City in the play-offs, with Brighton and Crystal Palace contesting the other semi-final.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the table, Wolves and Peterborough will join Bristol City in League One next season - after Boro lost 3-2 to Palace at Selhurst Park. Elsewhere, Huddersfield and Barnsley survived by the skin of their teeth after playing out a 2-2 draw.

Hull made it unneccessarily difficult for themselves, but got there in the end. Having gone 1-0 down to former hero Fraizer Campbell, Steve Bruce's side looked to be in control after Paul McShane's header put them 2-1 up midway through the second half.

A penalty award for the home side with just minutes remaining then sparked a premature pitch invasion - but Nick Proschwitz saw his effort saved to prolong the tension for his side.

Remarkably, Proschwitz (who had earlier nabbed the equaliser) would be punished for that - a penalty for Cardiff being awarded seconds later after a handball. Nicky Maynard made no mistake to score moments before the final whistle, meaning Watford would now clinch second if they could beat Leeds at Vicarage Road.

Drawing 1-1 when the final whistle went at the KC Stadium, Watford ultimately saw their dream die as substitute goalkeeper Jack Bonham - making his debut - contrived to make his second mistake of the game to allow Dominic Poleon's lob to beat him and hand Leeds victory.

"I've been round the block a long time but I've never seen anything like that last 10 minutes. It put us through the ringer!" Hull boss Bruce said afterwards. "The referee gave an unbelievable decision to give a penalty but we got there in the end.

"I'd like to say well done to Gianfranco Zola and Watford, they've pushed us all the way."

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace came from behind against Peterborough to claim a 3-2 win and ensure their play-off berth at the expense of Darren Ferguson's side's Championship status.

Leicester then leapfrogged into the final play-off spot after beating fellow contenders Nottingham Forest 3-2 - aided by Bolton's inability to beat Blackpool at the Reebok Stadium.

At the bottom, Wolves' likely demotion was confirmed early on as Brighton eased into a comfortable lead - but Peterborough were only doomed after Mile Jedinak's late strike for Palace.

"To be so close to what we had set out to do and have it taken away from us in the last few seconds is the worst way it could have happened," Ferguson said. "We are all shattered.

"I had so much belief and confidence we would stay up. The only time I have thought we were down all season is now, when reality has sunk in that we are down. No words I can say now will make a difference."

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