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Fulham will have to settle for the Championship play-offs after blowing their chances of automatic promotion falling to a disappointing defeat at Birmingham, who stayed up on the final day of the season.

A win would have secured a top flight return for Fulham 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.

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 the home side took the lead after 15 minutes when Jutkiewicz converted Wes Harding’s low cross for his sixth goal of the season. Fulham replied with a low Cairney shot wide from about 25 yards, but they struggled to put significant pressure on the hosts for the remainder of the first half. Former Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale made an instinctive save from Stefan Johansen, before Blues’ doubled their lead on the stroke of half time.

Fulham’s soft underbelly at set pieces was exposed again as shocking marking allowed ex-Brentford defender Dean to creep around the back of a crowd of players to head home Jota’s free-kick. Stockdale saved again from Cairney in injury time and Birmingham – perhaps unexpectedly – had the better of a frantic second period.

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.