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Reyna is out 3-4 weeks with shoulder injury; Beasley is hurt.

DeMerit aids Watford climb to third in English League Championship.

Convey goal allows Reading to draw 1-1 with Wolverhampton.

With ailing McBride going 90 minutes, Fulham snaps losing streak, stuns Arsenal 1-0.

Cherundolo's chip helps Hannover 96 to 1-0 win over Colgne.

Friedel makes six saves, Blackburn blanks Aston Villa 2-0.

Lewis goal in 90th minute gives Leeds 2-2 draw with Norwich.

Onyewu must sit out key game for Standard against Anderlecht.

Reyna returns from layoff for Man. City's 2-1 decision over Sunderland.

Convey scores early, Reading rolls to 3-0 win over Burnley.

Reyna returns to action, playing in Manchester City reserves' win.

Lewis nets decisive tally for Leeds in 2-1 decision over Luton.

Friedel records another shutout as rising Rovers slip past Arsenal 1-0.

Oneywu scores in draw, but Standard drops from Jupiler lead.

Hahnemann's play for Reading stands up to any keeper in Europe.

Keller records easy shutout, G'ladbach ends slide 2-0 over FC Köln.

Reading loses for first time in over six months, falls 3-2 to Luton Town.

Hahnemann shines, Convey assists, Reading draws with Sheffield United 1-1.

McBride is scoreless, but makes his mark as Fulham drubs West Brom 6-1.

Beasley gets relief from Nguyen in PSV 1-0 win over Heracles.

Americans Abroad

Convey, Hahnemann help Reading draw with Leicester, secure promotion.

Reading celebrates
Bobby Convey (center) celebrates with Reading teammates after the club clinched promotion to the English Premier League with a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.
-- Reading FC web site photo --
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)

(Saturday, March 25, 2006) -- For the first time in its 135-year history, Reading will play in the English Premier League. The Royals clinched promotion to the Premiership today despite an unconvincing 1-1 draw with host Leicester City at the Walkers Stadium.

Reading assured its promotion by clinching at least second place in the second-tier English League Championship. With six matches remaining, the Royals need at most a victory and a draw to clinch the league title.

Today, Reading looked to be on its way to its third loss of the season before Kevin Doyle put away a well-placed left-side corner kick in the 85th minute to pull even at 1-1.

With Watford losing and Leeds United drawing, Reading would have clinched promotion, even with a loss. "This has been dream-like in many ways, but a dream based on hard work and players of tremendous ability," Reading manager Steve Coppell said. "We knew results were going our way, but we wanted a decent result and just being there is a warm feeling inside. I wish I could can this feeling and open it later. It is absolutely brilliant."

Both of Reading's American starters, midfielder Bobby Convey and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann played well before a hostile crowd of 25,578. About 3,000 Reading supporters made the trip north, hoping to be present for their team's historic moment.

Convey was a threat all afternoon, pushing the ball down the left side and providing some accurate crosses and corner kicks, He also had three good shots, but two just missed the target while the third was blocked by a defender who saved a goal.

Convey, who played 90 minutes for the United States men in Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Germany, was replaced by Stephen Hunt in the 80th minute.

Hahnemann was sharp, making two great saves on Joey Gudjonsson, as well as stops on Matt Fryatt and Iain Hume. There was little Hahnemann could do when Canadian striker Iain Hume curled a right-footed effort past him in the 38th minute for a 1-0 Leicester lead.

Reading, which has tied in three straight outings, sits in first place at 27-2-11 with 92 points, 14 points better than Sheffield United (23-8-9). Sheffield solidified its hold on second place and the second automatic promotion bid with a 3-0 home triumph over Southampton, moving six points ahead of Watford and Leeds, both 20-8-12 with 72 points

After the match, Reading players remained on the field, waiting for the other matches to finish. When Leeds' draw became official, the team and fans began their celebration.

"It doesn't get better than this. It's fantastic," Reading chairman John Madejski said. "It's the fulfilment of a dream, of actually getting there. This is what we set out to do and here we are."

Leeds, with U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis going 74 minutes, lost ground on Sheffield after a 0-0 draw at home with Stoke before 21,452 at Elland Road.

The closest Leeds came to a goal was in the 19th minute when Lewis broke into the box and was taken down. Leeds pleaded for a penalty kick, but none was given.

American defender Jay DeMerit went the distance for Watford which fell 2-0 to visiting Millwall.

Watford's Gavin Mahon missed a penalty kick in the 27th minute.

Carl Asaba put Millwall ahead 1-0 in the 66th minute with Ben May adding an insurance tally in stoppage time.

American midfielder Zak Whitbread was solid for relegation-threatened Millwall and was issued a yellow card in the 32nd minute for unsportsmanlike behavior.

Millwall (7-18-5, 26 points) is in 22nd place, five points from escaping the relegation zone, one position below Sheffield Wednesday. (10-19-11).

American defender Frank Simek played 90 minutes for Wednesday which handed a key defeat to Wolverhampton 3-1. While Wednesday, in 21st-place, gained three points in its battle to avoid demotion, Wolves (14-9-7, 49) had its promotion hopes dealt a blow. The third-through-sixth place teams compete in a playoff for a third promotion berth. Wolves dropped from sixth to seventh place with the setback.

Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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