Cardiff regained a grip on the second automatic promotion place in the npower Championship with a comfortable 3-0 win over Portsmouth.

After Norwich's 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest on Friday night, Dave Jones' side went into the match knowing only a win would see them regain second spot in the table. It took only eight minutes for Seyi Olofinjana to put them in front after some fantastic work from Craig Bellamy.

The game was killed off just before half-time when a Peter Whittingham corner led to a scramble in the box before the ball fell to Jay Bothroyd who finished a simple chance. Whittingham scored a third to wrap up the scoring.

The relegation battle took an interesting twist as Scunthorpe threw themselves a lifeline and dragged Crystal Palace back into trouble thanks to goals in each half from David Mirfin and Ramon Nunez.

The win at Selhurst Park closes the gap between Scunthorpe and fourth-from-bottom Palace to just three points.

Preston also kept alive their survival hopes, whilst seemingly extinguishing Sheffield United's at the same time.

Former Blades loanee Keith Treacy scored a second-half brace to put Preston only four points from safety. The winger opened the scoring in the 55th minute with a long-range effort, before scoring another from distance 13 minutes later.

Jordan Slew reduced the deficit for rock-bottom United but substitute Nathan Ellington added a third late on to kill the game and leave Micky Adams' Blades eight points behind Palace.

The play-off fight also saw some dramatic twists as Reading's automatic promotion charge continued with a ninth successive league win, while their 3-1 win means that Leicester's hopes appear over.

Two goals in three first-half minutes from Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff put Reading in control before Noel Hunt sealed the win. Andy King managed to pull back a later consolation for Sven-Goran Erikkson's Foxes.

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

Topics:
#Leicester City
#Norwich City
#Portsmouth
#Reading
#Football
#Peter Whittingham
#Keith Treacy
#Nathan Ellington
#Scunthorpe United
#Championship
#Jimmy Kebe
#David Mirfin
#Craig Bellamy
#Cardiff City
#Andy King
#Preston North End
#Nottingham Forest
#Sheffield United
#Crystal Palace
#Jobi McAnuff
#Noel Hunt
#Seyi Olofinjana
#Jay Bothroyd