Pompey clinch promotion
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Bulgarian striker Svetoslav Todorov was the Pompey hero as he scored with 17 minutes remaining to send the Fratton Park faithful into ecstasy.
After the weekend setback against Sheffield Wednesday, Pompey were determined to secure their berth in the top-flight and made no mistake at the second attempt after outbattling Burnley.
Inspirational captain Paul Merson fluffed a great opportunity to settle the nerves after 12 minutes when he crashed a penalty against the crossbar after Dean West had fouled Gianluca Festa.
Lee Bradbury and Nigel Quashie wasted excellent chances for the hosts before the latter-named crossed for Todorov to slot the ball home and seal Harry Redknapp's troops' spot in The Premiership.
Leicester City must wait to join Pompey among the elite after Sheffield United bounced back from their FA Cup semi-final defeat with a slender success over play-off rivals Nottingham Forest.
The Blades dominated the contest and were unlucky not to go in at the interval with their noses in front after Rob Kozluk headed Michael Tonge's corner against the crossbar.
Neil Warnock's side continued to control proceedings after the break and Carl Asaba coolly slid the ball into the back of the net for the decisive goal on 62 minutes.
Reading cemented their place in the play-off positions after crushing nine-man Preston North End at the Madejski Stadium.
The Royals were making heavy weather of their task until Michael Jackson was sent off for two bookable offences on 27 minutes.
Alan Pardew's men forged ahead on the half hour when Nicky Forster fired home the rebound after Glen Little's shot was well saved.
Forster doubled the lead five minutes before half-time when drilling home from the edge of the penalty area while Preston had David Lucas dismissed 12 minutes into the second period after the goalkeeper hauled down Little in the box.
Nicky Shorey dispatched the spot kick and 60 seconds later, Forster completed his hat-trick by lobbing the ball over substitute keeper Jonathan Gould.
Tyrone Mears pulled one back for Preston on 83 minutes but the visitors could not even have the last word as Darius Henderson made it five in injury time.
At The Bescot Stadium, a dire match between Midlands rivals Walsall and Coventry City finished scoreless.