Birmingham 3-1 Fulham: Cottagers miss out on promotion as Blues secure safety
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/05/18 4:15pm
Fulham blew their chance of automatic promotion to the Premier League after suffering a 3-1 defeat at survivors Birmingham.
Victory would have sent the Cottagers back to the top flight after Cardiff could only draw 0-0 with Reading.
But goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz, Harlee Dean and Che Adams ensured the hosts beat relegation on the final day and denied the visitors second place.
Tom Cairney briefly made it 2-1 but Fulham must rely on the play-offs - where they will face Derby - to return to the Premier League after a four-year absence.
VOTE: EFL Goals of the Month
Watch and Vote for your favourite April goals in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two here...
Birmingham sealed their place in the Sky Bet Championship after a season-long battle against the drop, finally finishing five points above the bottom three.
It was a deserved win but Fulham threatened early when Aleksandar Mitrovic failed to convert Matt Targett's cross.
But Blues regained their composure and took the lead after 15 minutes when Jutkiewicz converted Wes Harding's low cross for his sixth goal of the season.
St Andrew's erupted and the hosts rarely looked like losing the lead. Cairney drilled wide after 25 minutes but, with their automatic promotion chances on the line, Fulham failed to find a first-half response.
David Stockdale saved from Stefan Johansen in a rare opening for the visitors before they fell further behind on the stroke of half-time.
The visitors were guilty of slack marking as Dean stole in round the back to head in Jota's cross and spark pandemonium.
But Stockdale needed to make a smart save to maintain Birmigham's half-time lead when Cairney was left unmarked in the area.
Requiring a remarkable comeback, Fulham were dragged into a second-half scrap by the hosts.
Aboubakar Kamara, Denis Odoi and Kevin McDonald were booked as the Cottagers lost their way.
Sam Gallagher and Jacques Maghoma tested Marcus Bettinelli during a second half which only sparked at the death.
Cairney pulled a goal back with five minutes left when he headed in after being gifted too much time six yards out.
A minute later Stockdale turned over Mitrovic's header but Adams' 89th-minute strike, when he was left free on the left, sealed victory for Birmingham.
Garry Monk: "In terms of standard setting it's not an achievement, the club has been in that position often in the last five years so there's is relief and happiness - but it's a new era. The mentality of the whole club has to change and be relentless with it. I can promise everyone I'll be relentless with it.
"There will be people who can do it and come with me and there will be people who can't and they won't be here. In terms of today, we saw from the performance we came out with the intention to finish on our terms, we didn't want to rely on anyone else."
Slavisa Jokanovic: "I always believe we are going to win the next game, because we lost one game I am not going to change my mind. We showed quality many times, the character we showed many times - and we are going to be ready for the next game.
"We're disappointed not because we're in the play-offs, we're disappointed because we lost a great chance to win the game. It's part of football and we must be ready for the challenge. We cannot be satisfied, it's simple, we didn't play well enough."