Nottingham Forest confirm play-off spot as Southampton seal promotion

Nottingham Forest confirm play-off spot as Southampton seal promotionQPR's confirmation as Championship winners left only the configuration of play-off places to be settled and Nottingham Forest secured sixth place in the division in style with a 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Billy Davies's side needed only a point to make sure of the final play-off slot and were soon in front through Lewis McGugan's 17th-minute volley. Palace were reduced to 10 men when Dean Moxey was dismissed for a foul on Marcus Tudgay 10 minutes later, and it was Tudgay who headed Forest's second after 70 minutes. David McGoldrick added a third.

Forest will play Swansea City in the play-offs after Brendan Rodgers's team climbed snatched third place following their 4-0 win over relegated Sheffield United.Stephen Dobbie scored twice, Scott Sinclair hit his 24th goal of the season from a penalty and Leon Britton scored late on in a comfortable win.

Cardiff City slipped below them after they drew 1-1 at Burnley.

Southampton confirmed their near-inevitable promotion from League One with a 3-1 win over Walsall. Guly do Prado's smart finish set Nigel Adkins's side on their way before David Connolly doubled the lead. Julian Gray pulled a goal back for Walsall on the stroke of half-time but Alex Oxlade‑Chamberlain's second-half goal made sure of victory.

Walsall were spared the drop by Dagenham & Redbridge's 5-0 defeat at Peterborough, which sent the east London side down after only one season in the third tier. Bristol Rovers also succumbed to the inevitable, a 2-1 defeat at Colchester confirming their descent into the fourth tier.

Wycombe held on to third place in League Two, a 3-1 win over Southend taking them back up a year after relegation. Anthony Grant gave the visitors the lead but Scott Donnelly, Ben Strevens and Scott Rendell replied to secure a return to League One.

Fourth-placed Shrewsbury Town did what they could, beating Oxford United 3-0 at home, but they will now have to contend with the play-offs, where their semi-final opponents will be Torquay United, who secured seventh spot despite losing 3-1 at Rotherham United, because Gillingham – eighth on goal difference before yesterday's matches – also lost, 3-1 at Chesterfield, whose victory secured the league title. As a result, Stevenage, who came from behind to draw 3-3 draw at home to Bury, took sixth spot and a play-off place in their first Football League season.

Powered by article was written by Tom Davies, for The Observer on Saturday 7th May 2011 19.44 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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