Sinclair hat-trick promotes Swansea
Swansea 4 Reading 2
Published 31/05/2011 | 05:00
The venue may not be quite as exotic as Sydney, Hong Kong and New York, but the Premier League's expansion plans are nevertheless back on: not just a 39th game in foreign parts, but a full 19 match days.
That is how often the previously all-English elite league will cross the Severn Bridge next season after Swansea City planted the Welsh dragon firmly in the top flight.
It is the first time a Welsh club have been in the top flight in 30 years and they are going into the Premier League by virtue of a devastating three-goal, 20-minute spell in the first-half that should have killed the game off.
That it did not was tribute to Reading's resilience.
Brian McDermott's team were the width of the post away from levelling the game with half an hour to go but then Scott Sinclair scored his second penalty of the game to complete his hat-trick.
Despite the enormity of the occasion, both teams began positively and Swansea went ahead when Sinclair rolled home a penalty in the 21st minute.
Seventy-five seconds later the England under-21 scored again.
Stephen Dobbie burst past former Ireland international Ian Harte from midfield and Adam Federici could only palm the cross out for Sinclair to tap in.
Reading were all at sea, their only attacking response being a near-post routine from which Noel Hunt headed wide.
Five minutes from the break, it looked as if Swansea had made the game safe. Dyer flew past Jobi McAnuff on the right and delivered a cross which was cleared only as far as Dobbie, who thrashed past Federici.
Reading were in meltdown, their mood not improved when the normally reliable Shane Long mis-kicked four yards out as injury-time approached.
In the tunnel during the break, substitute Jay Tabb and assistant manager Nigel Gibbs were both shown red cards after accosting the officials.
All over then? Not exactly. Three minutes after the break Reading again tried that near-post corner routine. Again Hunt got there first, the ball flew off Joe Allen, and in. Game back on.
Eight minutes later, Matt Mills rose above Garry Monk to head in. Now belief, and disbelief, flooded the ground
But that proved to be it for Reading's challenge, though the final nail was not driven into their coffin until 12 minutes from time when Griffin needlessly flattened Borini in the area. Sinclair stepped up to drive the ball again to Federici's right.