Norwich City’s bid for automatic Championship promotion ends after Bournemouth win

Bournemouth made no mistake to consign Norwich City to the Championship play-offs by beating Bolton

Bournemouth made no mistake to consign Norwich City to the Championship play-offs by beating Bolton on Monday night. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Norwich City's quest for automatic Championship promotion finally ended on Monday night when Bournemouth hammered 10-man Bolton 3-0 on the south coast to consign the Canaries to the play-offs.

Eddie Howe's second-placed Cherries moved four points clear of Norwich with just one league game remaining, a point behind already-promoted Watford, after Marc Pugh, Matt Ritchie and one-time Norwich transfer target Callum Wilson sealed the hosts' victory against Neil Lennon's Trotters.

Bournemouth's automatic promotion will be confirmed on Saturday, with Middlesbrough needing to beat Chris Hughton's Brighton and overturn an improbable 19-goal deficit along with relying on the Cherries losing at Charlton.

Alex Neil's side wrap up their regular season campaign at home to Fulham at Carrow Road, ahead of two play-off semi-final ties in the battle to reach the Premier League.

Boro's play-off place is already confirmed with the final two places being contested by City's bitter rivals Ipswich, Derby, Brentford and Wolves.


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Neil insisted the Canaries will respond strongly after missing out on the automatic promotion spots.

Norwich were firmly in the mix for a top two place before a damaging home defeat to play-off rivals Middlesbrough and a heartbreaking 1-1 weekend draw at Rotherham.

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'I think going into those last two games with a shot at the automatic promotion spots, considering where we were, was a fantastic achievement,' he said. 'The fact we gave ourselves an opportunity, by catching Middlesbrough up, it might be looked at now as an opportunity lost, but it just makes me hungrier to do well in the play-offs.

'Listen, my players are disappointed with the last couple of results but the one thing about good sports people and good footballers is when you don't win and you feel as if you have been hard done by the determination grows even more. That is how we are feeling at the minute. We want to put a good performance in for the next game (against Fulham) and win it more importantly.'

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