Football

Canaries in deep trouble

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Reading striker Shane Long kept the Royals in the hunt for automatic promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship as two second-half headers earned a 2-0 win and pushed Norwich closer to the drop.

Long wasted the best chance of a tense first half but made no mistake after the break to score twice and set up a final-day thriller with promotion rivals Birmingham next Sunday.

Norwich, however, are staring at a season in the third tier for the first time in 49 years and go into the final day three points behind Barnsley in the final relegation place - albeit with a superior goal difference.

The Canaries controlled the early play but almost fell behind when goalkeeper David Marshall took an age to clear a backpass and saw his kick charged down by the alert Long.

The City defence cleared the danger though and Darel Russell had the first effort on target at the other end with a powerful drive which thudded into Marcus Hahnemann's chest.

Long then should have scored after Jimmy Kebe broke clear down the left but he was also guilty of hesitating and Jason Shackell blocked his shot.

Republic of Ireland international Long finally found the breakthrough with 21 minutes left. Kebe found space on the left and after a stepover took him past Jon Otsemobor he delivered a teasing cross to the back post where Long was unmarked to head home from a matter of three yards.

The goal took the wind out of the Canaries and the duo combined again for the second goal in the 79th minute.

A throw found Kebe on the touchline and he was afforded the time to turn on to his right foot and find Long inside the six-yard box where the striker again headed past Marshall.

There was no way back for the home side and Reading's win will also be celebrated by Nottingham Forest and Plymouth, who are both now certain of a place in the Coca-Cola Championship for next season.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Norwich City
Jon Otsemobor
Reading
Jason Shackell
Internationals
Football
Marcus Hahnemann
Championship
Jimmy Kebe
Darel Russell
David Marshall
Nottingham Forest
Shane Long
Barnsley
Birmingham
Plymouth Argyle

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