EFL

Championship Review: Sharp puts Blades top, Blues' streak continues

By Sports Desk October 27, 2018

Billy Sharp scored a hat-trick to send Sheffield United top of the Championship after they beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 at Bramall Lane. 

The result moved Chris Wilder's men above Leeds United ahead of the Whites' evening kick-off against Nottingham Forest, following a 1-1 draw between fellow title-chasers Middlesbrough and Derby County.

West Brom's promotion hopes were dealt another blow as they let slip the lead in a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers, and Birmingham City's impressive form continued with a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday.

There were victories too for Swansea City, Millwall, Stoke City and Hull City, while Preston North End were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Rotherham United.

CAPTAIN SHARP SHINES AS BLADES SCYTHE LATICS

Sheffield United avoided a third consecutive game without a win as club captain Sharp scored his first goals in four games to see off Wigan.

Cheyenne Dunkley's own-goal got the hosts off the mark after 23 minutes, but substitute Kal Naismith levelled matters six minutes before half-time.

The Sharp show began just before the interval when the 32-year-old striker netted his first from close range, and he struck again eight minutes into the second half, turning Leon Clarke's cross into the net.

The pick of Sharp's goals was his third, which he dinked over Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton in a one-on-one, rendering Joe Garner's effort for Wigan four minutes later nothing more than a consolation.

ERROR-STREWN DRAW HAMPERS PROMOTION CONTENDERS

A pair of own-goals saw Middlesbrough and Derby play out a 1-1 draw at Riverside Stadium that did neither side any favours as they look to keep up with the Championship's front-runners.

Derby took the lead when a Martyn Waghorn shot took a heavy deflection off George Friend on its way into the net as the Rams looked to build on their hugely impressive win over West Brom in midweek.

They might have claimed all three points had it not been for a calamitous moment six minutes from full-time when Jayden Bogle attempted to hook a high ball into Derby's box away from goal, but succeeded only in rolling it off his shin and into his own net, beyond the diving Scott Carson.

DEFENSIVE FRAILTIES AN ISSUE FOR ALBION

West Brom were desperate to bounce back from their 4-1 defeat to Derby by claiming all three points against Blackburn, but they had to settle for a point after letting the lead slip away.

Craig Dawson picked the ideal moment to put Albion ahead, rising to head Matt Phillips' corner into the net five minutes before half-time.

But Blackburn are proving to be a force to be reckoned with since their promotion back into the Championship and Harrison Reed's curling effort gave them a point they fully deserved.

BLUES COME FROM BEHIND TO BEAT WEDNESDAY

Birmingham's surge up the Championship table continued after they came from a goal down to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 at St Andrew's.

Having been the division's draw specialists for much of the season, Garry Monk's men have now won four consecutive league games.

Steven Fletcher gave Wednesday a 19th-minute lead as Jos Luhukay's side aimed to avoid a third straight league defeat, but Connor Mahoney's strike levelled the match two minutes before half-time.

The Owls might have ground out a point but with 10 minutes left on the clock Lukas Jutkiewicz put the hosts back in front and Che Adams made sure of the win with a cool finish.

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