Rodgers delight at Swans promotion

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Football News

Brendan Rodgers felt the gods were on Swansea's side after guiding the Welshmen to promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Scott Sinclair grabbed a hat-trick, including two penalties, as the Swans ran out 4-2 winners against Reading in a dramatic play-off final at Wembley. It meant Rodgers was able to celebrate victory against the club who axed him 16 months ago.

Their win was all the more poignant as eight years ago almost to the day Swansea, bottom of the Football League, beat Hull 4-2 in order to survive - including a hat-trick from James Thomas. "It's ironic, they won that game 4-2 and a player scored a hat-trick, including two penalties," said Rodgers.

"And now the club has done it again to get into the Premier League. The footballing gods were with us. Eight years ago they couldn't pay the electric bill and now they've won a £90million game."

Victory saw City reach the top flight for the first time since John Toshack was in charge in 1983 and will be the first Welsh side to play in the Premier League since it was formed. It is also quite a turnaround for Rodgers, who lasted just 195 days in the Reading hot-seat before the axe fell, and was out of work until Swansea took a chance on him last summer.

However, the 38-year-old Irishman was in no mood to gloat and said: "I've nothing bad to say about Reading, I was just there at the wrong time. It was a big blow to leave a club I loved, and still do. That's why there was not much jumping around at the end."

The Swans were gifted the lead in the 21st minute courtesy of Zurab Khizanishvili's clumsy challenge which felled Nathan Dyer in the area allowing Sinclair to roll in his first penalty. Sinclair struck again barely a minute later when he tapped in Stephen Dobbie's cross at the far post, and just before half-time Dobbie crashed in number three.

Reading looked ready to implode, with substitute Jay Tabb red-carded and coach Nigel Gibbs also sent to the stands after they confronted referee Phil Dowd at half-time. However, far from being down and out, the Royals were back in it after 57 minutes through Noel Hunt's header that went in off Joe Allen, and another from Matt Mills, and were inches away from equalising when Jem Karacan hit a post.

But they could not complete the fightback and Sinclair made sure with another cool penalty after Andy Griffin upended Fabio Borini. Another season in the Championship beckons for Reading boss Brian McDermott, whose half-time team talk would have gone down in Wembley folklore but for the width of a post.

"At half-time I just told them to get the first goal," he said. "When it got to 3-2 I honestly thought we'd go on to win the game, and we were inches from getting the third one. A first half like that sometimes happens in football and unfortunately it happened at Wembley. So it's congratulations to Swansea."

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

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Fabio Borini
Joe Allen
Stephen Dobbie
Zurab Khizanishvili
Andy Griffin
Premier League
Zurab Khizanishvili
Jem Karacan
Jay Tabb
John Toshack
Scott Sinclair
Nathan Dyer
Hull City
Swansea City
Noel Hunt

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