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Man City's moment of glory
"Here it comes ... the pitch invasion from all four corners"
 real 28k

The BBC's Ian Brown
"The course of this match defied logic"
 real 28k

The BBC's John Murray
"Ipswich will take part in the play-offs for the fourth year running"
 real 28k

Sunday, 7 May, 2000, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
City ride luck on return

Paul Dickov celebrates Man City's third goal
Blackburn 1-4 Man City
Ipswich 2-0 Walsall

Manchester City rode their luck in style as they returned to the Premiership at the expense of Ipswich.

City only needed a point from their game at Ewood Park to render Ipswich's efforts meaningless.

Key moments
42 mins: Jansen scores for Blackburn
49: Johnson puts Ipswich ahead
60: Advantage City again as Goater equalises
67: Dailly's og secures City's position
75 and 81: Kennedy and Dickov make sure
But when Blackburn crowned their domination of the first half with a goal and Ipswich took the lead at Portman Road, it looked as though Suffolk would celebrate promotion rather than Manchester.

Blackburn were easily the better side and hit the woodwork on four separate occasions before Shaun Goater equalised for City.

Christian Dailly then scored a bizarre own goal before Mark Kennedy and Paul Dickov added to the delight of thousands of City fans inside Ewood Park as well as a large group outside.

Johnson's goals for Ipswich made no difference

It meant David Johnson's two goals for Ipswich were only significant in maintaining their form ahead of the play-offs, with Walsall relegated due to wins elsewhere for West Brom and Crewe.

Ipwsich and Barnsley were joined in the knockout battle for the third Premiership place by Bolton and Birmingham at the expense of Huddersfield and Wolves.

Automatic battle

The two games at the top end of the table began with dominance for the home teams.

Johnson went close on a number of occasions in a goalless first half at Ipswich, while Blackburn did their north-western rivals no favours with a fine display.

Jansen eventually scored the first goal of this battle three minutes before half time to leave the door to the top flight ajar for Ipswich.

Ipswich manager George Burley (right): Play-offs again

Four minutes after the break Johnson pushed it open but on the hour mark Goater slammed it shut.

Despite the Ewood side rattling the City woodwork, the Manchester side broke upfield to equalise before their luckiest moment in an afternoon of good fortune.

After years of City fans claiming bad luck, their path from 2-0 down in last year's second division play-off final to the top flight has surely paid back most of the years of misery.

Ticketless City fans try to catch a glimpse of the action

No of good fortune will have been more significant than the one midway through the second half which saw Dailly misdirect a header back to keeper Alan Kelly past the Irishman and into the net.

The City fans at Ewood began to celebrate as news leaked back to a depressed Portman Road, before Kennedy and Dickov broke clear to start the promotion party with a bang.

Bolton 1-0 Norwich
Fulham 3-0 Huddersfield
Birmingham 0-0 Grimsby
Port Vale 0-1 Wolverhampton

Ipswich must now face the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year - and play the side which knocked them out in identical circumstances last season.

Four weeks ago most Bolton fans thought their season was over when they were knocked out the FA Cup at Wembley.

But a late surge in the league - combined with Huddersfield's final day defeat at Fulham - has taken them into sixth place.

Dean Holdsworth, who missed an easy chance to take his side to the FA Cup final, scored his side's goal against Norwich.

But by then the Terriers were losing to two goals for Lee Clark and one from Bjarne Goldbaek.

With Barnsley already guaranteed fourth place, Birmingham's goalless game with Grimsby guaranteed them fifth.

Carl Robinson's late winner for Wolves was irrelevant due to Bolton's win.

Crewe 0-2 Barnsley
West Brom 2-0 Charlton
Ipswich 2-0 Walsall

Walsall had to get at least a point at Portman Road to have any chance of staying in the first division.

But even if they had beaten Ipswich they would have gone down after unlikely wins for West Brom and Crewe.

Richard Sneekes and Bob Taylor scored for the Baggies against the champions.

Barnsley, secure in the play-offs, lost to goals from Crewe's Neil Sorvel and Rob Hulse.

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See also:

07 May 00 | Football
Last lap in race for Premiership
07 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Payback time for Heskey
25 Apr 00 | Football
End of season run-in
06 May 00 | Football
Black day for sorry Chester
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