EFL

Championship Review: Norwich back on top as Aston Villa thrash Derby

By Sports Desk March 02, 2019

Norwich City returned to the top of the Championship after battling to a 3-1 away victory over Millwall, while Derby County's play-off hopes were dented in a heavy defeat to Aston Villa.

After Leeds United's impressive win over promotion rivals West Brom on Friday, the Canaries did what they had to do on Saturday to move two points above Marcelo Bielsa's men at the summit.

Two of the other teams in the top six did not fare so well, as Middlesbrough were held to a goalless draw at Wigan Athletic and Bristol City also had to settle for a point in a 1-1 away draw with Preston North End.

Villa led by four goals at the break in their 4-0 home romp against Derby, with Brentford, Hull City, Reading, Rotherham United, Stoke City and Swansea City the other teams to taste victory.
 

NORWICH DO THE JOB TO LEAD ONCE AGAIN

Norwich's statement was not as emphatic as that of Leeds, but with 11 games remaining Daniel Farke's men are in the box seat for a place in the Premier League.

They did not have it all their own way against Millwall, with Marco Stiepermann's opener pegged back by Shuan Williams' header just before half-time.

However, Norwich captain Christoph Zimmermann netted with an aerial effort of his own after the break and an impressive Teemu Pukki finish – the Championship top scorer's 24th league goal of the season – sealed a fifth win in six.

In the race for automatic promotion, all eyes are now on third-placed Sheffield United, who are away to rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Monday.

DERBY HAMMERED… BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

It was a miserable day for Derby as they were thrashed by Villa, but the damage could have been even worse on a day that started badly with Conor Hourihane netting in the ninth minute.

It looked like they were on course for an even more humiliating scoreline than 4-0 after a dreadful eight minutes before half-time saw them concede three times through Tammy Abraham, a second from Hourihane and a stunning volley from Jack Grealish on his return from injury.

But fortunately for the Rams that was the end of the scoring, and in terms of the league table, Bristol City and Middlesbrough's failure to win kept them within striking distance of the top six, but Frank Lampard will undoubtedly be concerned by a third straight loss without scoring.

FALSE ALARM FOR HULL

In an odd moment, Hull fans were twice told to leave the KCOM Stadium in a false alarm announced by the automatic public-address system. It did not distract the hosts, though, as they beat Birmingham City 2-0 courtesy of Jarrod Bowen's double.

That was the same score as Swansea City defeated nine-man Bolton Wanderers, two goals in the last 10 minutes breaking the shorthanded visitors' hearts.

Stoke were also 2-0 winners, beating Nottingham Forest, while Brentford defeated QPR 3-0 and Semi Ajayi's double saw Rotherham win 3-2 against Blackburn Rovers.

Bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town suffered a 2-1 home loss to relegation rivals Reading, Mo Barrow scoring a last-minute winner.

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