Football

Clarets march on to Wembley

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Burnley hit two sensational second-half strikes to book a place in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final with a 2-0 win on the night and 3-0 aggregate victory over Reading.

Steve Coppell's side, whose dismal home form ultimately cost them a crack at promotion, looked certain to return to the Barclays Premier League for the majority of the season but capitulated in the final three months to fall off the pace.

The Royals' final home win of the season came way back in January and despite dominating the first 45 minutes they were again undone thanks to wonder goals from Martin Paterson and Steven Thompson.

Owen Coyle's side kicked off a goal up after Graham Alexander's penalty at Turf Moor on Saturday and ended their 60th game of a marathon season with a win which earned them the right to face Sheffield United at Wembley later this month.

Reading were not playing like a team devoid of confidence at home and carved out a great chance when Marek Matejovsky played in Brynjar Gunnarsson but his cutback narrowly failed to reach Simon Church.

Whether nerves or understandable fatigue were to blame, Burnley had been a shadow of their normally fluent selves in the first half, but they went ahead in spectacular fashion in the 51st minute.

Paterson received the ball on the halfway line and set off toward goal as Burnley broke.

The Reading defence showed him inside on to his weaker left foot but could only watch on in disbelief as the Northern Ireland international cracked a 25-yard shot which swerved past Marcus Hahnemann and found the top corner.

Coppell made a triple change with Kitson, Stephen Hunt and Glen Little all coming on but Thompson made the tie safe with another fine goal in the 58th minute.

Jensen launched a goal-kick up the field and after winning an aerial challenge Thompson turned and hit a looping strike with the outside of his left-foot which flew over Hahnemann and bounced in off the underside of the crossbar.

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

Topics:
Marek Matejovsky
Reading
Steven Thompson
Football
Marcus Hahnemann
Championship
Stephen Hunt
Brynjar Gunnarsson
Graham Alexander
Premier League
Glen Little
Sheffield United
Simon Church
Stephen Hunt
Martin Paterson
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