Swansea swan into English Premier League

Scott Sinclair snatched a hat trick as Swansea beat Reading 4-2 in the League Championship playoff to advance to EPL.

    Reading's Zurab Khizanishvili fouls Swansea Nathan Dyer resulting in the costly first penalty [AFP]

    Swansea City enthralled a packed Wembley stadium on Monday as they became the first Welsh club to reach the English Premier League since 1983 with a 4-2 win over Reading.

    A hat-trick by Scott Sinclair, which included two penalties, and a goal by Stephen Dobbie, earned Swansea victory in the championship playoff, as they joined Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City in the top-flight division.

    And there was a lot on the line, $148.3 million in fact, which is the estimated amount a newly promoted club gains in increased revenue.

    Despite a late rally by Reading, with goals by Noel Hunt and Matthew Mills reducing Reading's deficit in the opening 12 minutes of the second half, Sinclair's third goal clinched victory in front of more than 85,000 fans.


    A sensational first-half display helped Swansea, who had finished third in the Championship.

    Sinclair scored twice in the space of 60 seconds midway through the half with a penalty and then a cool close-range finish.

    The former Chelsea winger's 25th and 26th goals of the season were followed by a Stephen Dobbie strike just before the break.

    Reading almost staged a dramatic second half revival as they reduced the deficit through Joe Allen's own goal and a Matt Mills header.

    Brian McDermott's team were unlucky not to equalise when Jem Karacan's shot hit a post, but Swansea sealed the victory when England Under-21 international Sinclair stroked home another penalty in the closing minutes.

    Now south Wales can look forward to a rare chance to see the country's elite as Swansea take on famous names like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

    "It's a magnificent feeling - we are all buzzing,'' said Sinclair.

    Scrappy start

    Swansea City's manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates with the trophy [AFP]

    After a scrappy opening, which featured a rejected Reading penalty appeal for handball, it was Swansea who got into their stride.

    They took the lead in the 21st minute when defender Zurab Khizanishvili brought down Nathan Dyer with a clumsy tackle.

    Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and Sinclair stepped up to send Australian goalkeeper Adam Federici the wrong way with the penalty.

    Just 60 seconds later, Sinclair put Swansea into dreamland.

    Reading's veteran left-back Ian Harte was easily beaten for pace by Dobbie and when the forward crossed low into the area, Federici could only palm the ball towards Sinclair, who calmly slotted home from close-range.

    Swansea were cutting Reading to pieces with some fine passing and they had one foot in the Premier League when Dyer's cross was only half-cleared by Khizanishvili to Dobbie, who steered a fine finish past Federici from just inside the area in the 40th minute.

    In the second half, Reading came out firing and bagged a goal in the 49th minute when Swansea midfielder Allen glanced Noel Hunt's header into his own net.

    Reading struck another from another corner eight minutes later. Jobi McAnuff was the provider with a deep delivery to Mills, who thumped his header past Dorus De Vries.

    Rodgers' side were wobbling and Karacan saw his long-range effort deflected against a post before Garry Monk blocked Hunt's follow-up.

    Sinclair finally sealed the game in the 80th minute when he completed only the second treble in Wembley play-off final history with a penalty after Andy Griffin fouled Fabio Borini.

    "It's a great feeling to be the top team in Wales,'' said Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, who was fired by Reading 17 months ago.

    "Ourselves, Norwich and QPR will be a credit to the Premier League.'' 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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