READING FC secured their Championship status for another season after a goalless draw at Cardiff City on a nailbiting final day.

Royals still faced the slim possibility of relegation to League 1 if they had lost in South Wales and Birmingham, Bolton and Barnsley had all won.

But Paul Clement’s men avoided having to rely on results elsewhere by claiming the point they needed to stay up.

Bluebirds, meanwhile, held on to second place to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League after challengers Fulham went down 3-1 at Birmingham.

Today’s stalemate in glorious sunshine means Reading dropped one place in the table to 20th, but finished three points above the drop zone.

While more than 2,000 travelling fans celebrated a result that kept their team safe, there is no doubt that major surgery is required this summer.

Royals were poor for the majority of the campaign and could easily have gone down with 44 points in any other Championship season.

They survived thanks to a slight improvement under new boss Paul Clement, a decent start to the campaign under Jaap Stam before the Dutchman was sacked in March and the fact there were four worse teams in the division.

But Clement will know he faces a huge rebuilding job over the summer if Reading are to avoid another relegation battle next season and even challenge for promotion.

Royals’ boss made four changes from the side that capitulated against Ipswich Town as Tommy Elphick, Dave Edwards, Joey van den Berg and Leandro Bacuna all returned to the starting line-up.

For all the adjustments, Reading looked solid from the kick off and they frustrated Cardiff by slowing the game down as often as possible to the annoyance of Warnock.

Yet Clement’s men began to retreat and they were relieved to see Bluebirds’ penalty claims rejected when former Royals Sean Morrison claimed his shirt was pulled in the box in the 12th minute.

Then seven minutes later they were let off the hook when Junior Hoilett curled a delicious effort a foot wide of Vito Mannone’s far post.

Royals survived that spell but nearly shot themselves in the foot in the 28th minute when Tommy Elphick’s wayward header played in Hoilett, only for Tiago Ilori to race across and recover the situation.

And Bluebirds wasted a gilt-edged chance on the half-hour when Kenneth Zohore was free six yards out only to hit his shot straight at Edwards with the goal at his mercy.

Clement was forced to make a change four minutes later when Ilori limped off and was replaced by Liam Kelly, with Bacuna dropping to right back.

And his side began to get sloppy as half time approached, with Van den Berg in particular guilty of coughing up possession far too cheaply.

The visitors almost carved out a decent chance after the restart when Kelly’s pass split the Cardiff defence, only for Bacuna’s first touch to let him down in a dangerous position.

Moments later Zohore blazed over the bar at the other end as Warnock’s men hit back.

Then Nathaniel Mendez-Laing cut in from the right, only to scuff a shot straight into Mannone’s hands from the edge of the box.

Reading regrouped and Bluebirds need some last ditch defending to clear their lines from a Kelly corner just before the hour mark.

But they quickly broke down the other end with Craig Bryson forcing a decent save out of Mannone from 18 yards.

The hosts almost broke the deadlock seven minutes before the end when Zohore’s effort was cleared off the line by Liam Moore.

And Sol Bamba also saw a header float narrowly wide from a corner in the 88th minute and Bryson’s low drive from the edge of the box flew into the side netting.

Royals, though, held out and kept thir cool in the closing moments which included a premature pitch invasion from Cardiff fans before the final whistle has sounded.

It took stewards a few minutes to clear hundreds of fans from the pitch before referee Robert Madley ended the game and Bluebirds could finally celebrate.

Meanwhile, Reading supporters in the far corner began their own celebrations, but for very different reasons.

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Bennett, Morrison ©, Ralls, Zohore (Madine 86), Bamba, Paterson, Bryson, Hoilett (Ward 78), Mendez-Laing. Subs not used: Murphy, Manga, Richards, Pilkington, Grujic.

Reading: Reading: Mannone, Gunter (c), Elphick, Moore, Ilori (Kelly 34), Van den Berg, Edwards, Bacuna, Aluko (McShane 83), Barrow, Böðvarsson (Kermorgant 69). Subs not used: Jaakkola, McShane, Evans, Swift, Martin. Booked: Elphick 27, Bacuna 58, Kermorgant 74.

Referee: Robert Madley.

Attendance: 32,478.