Norwich City lifted the Championship trophy after a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa saw them fend off the challenge of Sheffield United on a final day that also saw Derby County secure a place in the play-offs.

Derby's 3-1 win over West Brom, who ended the season in fourth, ensured Frank Lampard's men finished sixth ahead of Middlesbrough, who did all they could by beating Rotherham United 2-1.

Leeds United's place in the play-offs was already assured but a 3-2 defeat against the 10 men of already-relegated Ipswich Town left Marcelo Bielsa's men winless in four, while Bristol City, who could have secured a top-six finish if Derby and Middlesbrough slipped up, drew 1-1 at Hull City.

Second-placed Sheffield United, who drew 2-2 at Stoke City, will have the luxury of sitting back and watching while Leeds, West Brom, Villa and Derby contest the Championship play-offs.

 

LATE VRANCIC STRIKE ADDS GLOSS TO CANARIES' GLORY

Mario Vrancic scored Norwich's winner four minutes from time to send their travelling fans wild on a day when Daniel Farke's men were bidding to claim the Championship title.

In the end Sheffield United's draw at Stoke rendered the Canariers' result irrelevant, but it will not have felt that way to Farke and his players who capped a fine season with a win over one of the division's form teams.

Villa were unbeaten in 12 going into the game but they fell behind when Teemu Pukki tapped home Onel Hernandez's cross after seven minutes.

Jonathan Kodjia levelled matters seven minutes later, sweeping Conor Hourihane's low free-kick into the net, and Dean Smith's side looked the better side for spells before Vrancic rifled a shot into the bottom corner of Jed Steer's net from the edge of the box to put the sheen on a day of celebrations across Norfolk.

DERBY SECURE SIXTH AFTER DRAMA AT PRIDE PARK

Derby County clinched a place in the Championship play-offs at Middlesbrough's expense after they beat West Brom 3-1 at Pride Park.

Lampard's men took the lead when Martyn Waghorn rose to meet Jayden Bogle's first-time cross, timing his run well to shake off his marker and nod the ball down into the bottom corner of the net.

Waghorn limped off injured after 40 minutes and Stefan Johansen's equaliser for West Brom meant that Middlesbrough – who were 2-0 up at Rotherham at the time – were set to take the Rams' place in the top six.

But after Tom Lawrence's close-range shot was saved by Sam Johnstone's outstretched leg, Mason Bennett pounced on the rebound and poked it into the net to restore Derby's lead.

Lawrence then jinked his way into the area only to be felled by Kyle Bartley, and Harry Wilson buried the penalty kick in the bottom-left corner of the net before Baggies substitute Hal Robson-Kanu was sent-off for kicking out at Bradley Johnson.

LEEDS SLUMP TO THIRD DEFEAT IN FOUR

A calamitous mix-up between Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and defender Luke Ayling gifted a winning goal to Collin Quaner, who slid the ball home to earn already-relegated Ipswich a win over Bielsa's out-of-sorts side.

Flynn Downes put Town ahead when the visitors failed to clear their lines at a free-kick, but Mateusz Klich popped up with an equaliser just before the interval, slamming the ball inside the near post from 12 yards.

Andre Dozzell restored Ipswich's lead as Leeds were caught napping at the back two minutes into the second half, before Stuart Dallas equalised from close range when Kemar Roofe's shot rebounded off the crossbar.

Luke Chambers felled Roofe three minutes later and was sent off before the Leeds striker ballooned the ensuing penalty over the bar, and in the final minute the visiting fans were left in disbelief as their side slumped to a third defeat in four matches heading into the play-offs.

THREE POINTS NOT ENOUGH FOR BORO

John Obi Mikel scored his first league goal in English football for almost six years as Middlesbrough beat Rotherham, but a fifth win in six Championship matches was not enough to lift Tony Pulis' men into the play-off places.

Elsewhere, Brentford ended the season on a high as they beat Preston North End 3-0 at Griffin Park, and there were also wins for Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, while Birmingham City drew 0-0 at Reading and Blackburn Rovers were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City.

Norwich City secured promotion to the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Daniel Farke's side needed only a draw to guarantee their place in the top flight next season, with third-placed Leeds United six points behind them with two games remaining.

The Canaries went one better, though, with superb goals from Marco Stiepermann and Mario Vrancic sending them back to the top of the Championship and guaranteeing they will play Premier League football next season.

Sheffield United had moved top with a 2-0 win over Ipswich Town, but Norwich looked set to overtake them once more when Stiepermann drilled a good finish beyond Jayson Leutwiler with 13 minutes played.

The party atmosphere in East Anglia increased when Vrancic sent an unstoppable strike into the top-left corner from 30 yards, although the home fans were quietened when Lewis Travis beat Tim Krul with a low effort only two minutes later.

Typically one of the division's best attacking sides, Norwich were far more prosaic in the second half as they looked to hold onto their advantage, although they still managed 24 shots to Blackburn's eight.

The final whistle was eventually greeted by rapturous cheers, as Norwich celebrated being back in the top tier for the first time since being relegated in 2015-16.

Sheffield United look almost certain to join them in automatic promotion, as the Blades hold a six-point advantage over Leeds and a goal difference of 37 compared to 24.

It means anything but a win for Marcelo Bielsa's side against in-form Aston Villa on Sunday will force them to settle for a play-off spot.

Leeds United's push for promotion from the Championship took another twist as they went down 2-1 at home to 10-man Wigan Athletic.

Sheffield United's victory over Nottingham Forest earlier in the day had moved the Blades second and piled the pressure back on Leeds, and Marcelo Bielsa's side were unable to respond as they slumped to a shock defeat.

Elsewhere, Middlesbrough leapfrogged Bristol City – who could only draw with Reading – into the play-off places, while West Brom boosted their slim hopes of automatic promotion thanks to a late comeback win against Hull City.

At the other end of the table, Bolton Wanderers were relegated after losing to Aston Villa while Rotherham United remain in the bottom three despite a battling display in a 4-3 loss away at Swansea City.

There were wins for Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers, with the points shared between Birmingham City and Derby County, while Brentford drew at Millwall in a London derby.

 

PROMOTION RACE TAKES ANOTHER TURN

With Sheffield United having beaten Forest, the pressure was on Leeds to deliver at Elland Road, and a rampant start looked set to pave the way for Bielsa's side to move back into second place.

Wigan went down to 10 men in the 14th minute – Cedric Kipre receiving his marching orders for a deliberate handball – and though Pablo Hernandez missed the resulting penalty, Leeds had the lead soon after thanks to Patrick Bamford's third goal in as many games.

But Wigan would not roll over, and having restored parity on the stroke of half-time, Gavin Massey doubled his tally in the 62nd minute when he headed Leon Clarke's cross in.

Leeds rushed to respond, but could not find an equaliser, and were fortunate that Reece James' free-kick did not dip under the bar.

The victory lifted Wigan five points clear of the relegation places, while Leeds sit third, behind Sheffield United on goal difference, with just three games left to play.

BAGGIES ON THE BOUNCE

Two successive away defeats had cast doubt over West Brom's promotion hopes, but the Baggies are firmly back in the driving seat for the play-offs after they followed up Saturday's 4-1 hammering of Preston with a dramatic win over Hull.

Todd Kane's double cancelled out Kieran Gibbs' opener at The Hawthorns, but Dwight Gayle was on hand to be West Brom's hero.

Having ensured that Hull's lead lasted just three minutes when he headed home from close range, Gayle nodded in his sixth goal in three games to claim the points with five minutes remaining.

West Brom sit fourth, and may still harbour hopes of pushing Leeds and Sheffield United in the automatic promotion race, though a play-off spot seems more likely.

BORO CAPITALISE ON BRISTOL CITY SLIP

Bristol City kicked off the day's proceedings against Reading, but had to rely on a Josh Brownhill equaliser to secure a share of the spoils at Ashton Gate.

That opened up the chance for Middlesbrough to move back into the play-off places, and Tony Pulis' side took their opportunity thanks to Britt Assombalonga's early goal against Stoke City.

The Potters have been in dismal form under Nathan Jones, and since he took over on January 12, Stoke have scored the fewest goals, attempted the fewest shots and attempted the fewest shots on target in the league.

BOLTON BACK IN LEAGUE ONE

It was always unlikely that Bolton would escape the drop, and a fourth successive defeat finally confirmed their relegation to League One.

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has agreed a deal to buy Wanderers, but they will play next season in the third tier after goals from Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham saw Aston Villa ease to a comfortable victory.

Two of the relegated teams have now been confirmed - with Ipswich Town already down, though the race to avoid the drop remains on for Rotherham, despite Paul Warne's side ending up on the losing side of a seven-goal thriller at Swansea. 

Millwall sit on 43 points following their draw with Brentford, while Birmingham edged closer to safety by drawing 2-2 with Derby at home.

Sheffield United failed to put maximum pressure on Leeds United in the Championship promotion race with a dramatic 1-1 home draw against Millwall, while Ipswich Town were relegated to League One.

With Leeds in action later in the day against Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road, the Blades had a chance to go two points ahead of Marcelo Bielsa's men and Gary Madine's goal seemed to have earned them victory.

Ben Marshall missed a late penalty for Millwall after John Egan was sent off, but Jake Cooper struck deep in added time for the relegation-threatened visitors.

Aston Villa's home win against Bristol City tightened the race for the top six, with West Brom, Middlesbrough and Derby County all collecting three points too, but Ipswich's time in the second tier is over.

 

BLADES LACK CUTTING EDGE

Sheffield United have lost form at a bad time of the season, with Chris Wilder's side having won only one of their past four Championship matches to hand the advantage to Leeds.

Madine's third league goal since joining on loan from Cardiff City in the January transfer window looked to have put his side clear of Leeds, at least temporarily.

But nerves struck in the closing stages and, after Egan was dismissed for handball having blocked a header from Tom Elliott, Marshall missed the resulting penalty.

Millwall punished the 10 men, however, with Cooper's diving header in the fifth minute of added time pushing the Lions two points clear of the relegation zone.


READING BOOSTED, IPSWICH DROP

Yakou Meite hit a priceless double for Reading in a 2-1 home win over Brentford that moved the Royals four points clear of the bottom three.

Meite struck twice in the first 15 minutes and, although Neal Maupay replied for the Bees with his 22nd Championship goal of the season, Jose Gomes' side held on.

Survival hopes are over for Ipswich, though, with Paul Lambert's side relegated despite Gwion Edwards' equaliser earning a 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham City, who are now six points above the danger zone.

Rotherham United came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stoke City, Michael Smith and Matt Crooks scoring in the second half to move the Millers within a point of safety.

QPR recorded their first win under caretaker boss John Eustace by thrashing mid-table Swansea City 4-0 at Loftus Road, Tomer Hemed with a double that sees Rangers pull eight points clear of Rotherham.

Bolton Wanderers, meanwhile, are likely to follow Ipswich through the trap door. Their 4-0 loss at Derby was their fifth defeat in six Championship matches and they are nine points adrift of 21st-placed Wigan Athletic, with the visit of leaders Norwich City to come on Sunday.


VILLA ON THE CHARGE

Bolton's next game is at home to Villa, with Dean Smith's men making it eight wins in a row courtesy of a 2-1 victory over top-six rivals Bristol City.

Goals from Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane set up Villa's win, although Famara Diedhiou hit back for Bristol City, who had been unbeaten in their last five games.

Middlesbrough continue to improve after a six-game losing streak seemed to have ended their play-off hopes, with a 1-0 win over Hull City secured thanks to Britt Assombalonga's first-half goal.

But slim top-six hopes are fading fast for Nottingham Forest and Preston North End. Forest lost 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers, their third straight defeat, while it is four reverses in a row for Preston after they went down 4-1 at West Brom.

Dwight Gayle fired in a hat-trick for James Shan's Baggies, who are close to guaranteeing a play-off place and are only six points behind Sheffield United.

Leeds United leapfrogged Sheffield United into second place in the Championship after a 2-0 win away at Preston North End on Tuesday.

Patrick Bamford scored twice as Marcelo Bielsa's side moved two points ahead of the Blades, who are in action against Birmingham City on Wednesday.

West Brom's automatic promotion hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow with a 3-2 defeat to Bristol City, while Middlesbrough boosted their play-off hopes with a win away at struggling Bolton Wanderers.

There were also wins for Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City against Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City respectively.

BAMFORD PUNISHES 10-MAN NORTH END

Leeds and Sheffield United are locked in a pulsating battle for the Championship's second automatic promotion place and Bielsa's side have cranked up the pressure ahead of the Blades' visit to Birmingham.

Their cause was helped by the dismissal of Ben Pearson, who received a straight red card for hauling down Bamford as he went through on goal shortly after the interval.

The visitors took full advantage of their numerical superiority in the 62nd minute when Bamford powered home from 25 yards.

The former Chelsea striker then added a second 14 minutes from time, heading in Mateusz Klich's right-wing cross to seal a vital three points.

BAGGIES' TOP-TWO HOPES DEALT A BLOW

West Brom are now nine points behind Leeds in fourth after three goals in the opening 19 minutes set Bristol City on their way to a important victory in the play-off battle.

The Robins, who are four points ahead of seventh-place Middlesbrough in fifth, stormed ahead thanks to goals from Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Jack Hunt.

Dwight Gayle reduced the deficit two minutes into the second half before Jay Rodriguez added a second 16 minutes from time.

They were unable to find a leveller, though, as caretaker boss Jimmy Shan suffered a second defeat in four days.

FLETCHER KEEPS PULIS' MEN IN PLAY-OFF RACE

Middlesbrough ended a torrid run of form to push Bolton Wanderers closer to relegation.

Tony Pulis' side had lost their last six games in the league, but Ashley Fletcher scored twice to move them to within two points of sixth-placed Aston Villa.

Bolton, meanwhile, remain eight points from safety with just five games left to preserve their Championship status for another season.

RAMS WELL BEATEN IN LANCASHIRE

Derby County's hopes of sneaking a play-off place suffered a setback as Blackburn Rovers ran out 2-0 winners at Ewood Park, while Sheffield Wednesday jumped above Nottingham Forest into ninth after a resounding 3-0 win at Hillsborough.

Elsewhere, Swansea City ran out 3-1 winners over Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium.

Leeds United moved up to second place in the Championship table by capitalising on Sheffield United's slip-up at home to Bristol City. 

With leaders Norwich City in action away to Middlesbrough later on Saturday, there was a chance for the Yorkshire rivals to stake their promotion claims. 

While an Andreas Weimann treble earned Bristol City a surprise victory, Pablo Hernandez struck a brace to help Leeds see off Millwall at Elland Road. 

Derby County thrashed Rotherham United 6-1 to climb into the play-off places while there was a big win at the other end of the table for Bolton Wanderers.

 

HERNANDEZ THE HERO

Leeds supporters were put through a heart-stopping match as Marcelo Bielsa's side twice came from behind to beat Millwall 3-2 and leapfrog Sheffield United in the process.

The hosts looked as panicky as the crowd when Ben Thompson headed Millwall in front after 10 minutes and their nerves were not helped when Patrick Bamford had a penalty saved by David Martin in the 19th minute.

Leeds came to life just after the half-hour mark when Hernandez finished a sweeping passing move with a neat finish, but Liam Cooper brought down Ben Marshall 10 minutes into the second half and the Lions winger converted the ensuing penalty himself.

Substitute Barry Douglas crossed for Luke Ayling to pop up with a superb headed goal and Bielsa's commitment to attacking football paid off as his side poured forward in search of a winner that arrived, Tyler Roberts cutting the ball back for Hernandez to hammer home.


BLADES BLUNTED

Chris Wilder's men had won eight in a row at home in the league, not even conceding in front of their own fans in 2019, so few would have expected Bristol City to take the points at Bramall Lane. 

Billy Sharp's 23rd Championship goal of the season put Sheffield United in front in the sixth minute and Scott Hogan also scored for the hosts, though Weimann twice equalised to bring his side level. 

And the former Aston Villa forward completed his treble in the 83rd minute to end a five-game winless run in the league for Lee Johnson's men, who move up to eighth place with their play-off hopes revived. 

Aston Villa's 2-1 triumph at home to Blackburn Rovers, their fifth Championship win in a row, leaves Dean Smith's team fifth. Derby are just behind after Martyn Waghorn's hat-trick helped thrash Rotherham, although Middlesbrough can move back into the top six by avoiding defeat against Norwich. 

Nottingham Forest's 2-1 win against Swansea City, a comeback victory at the City Ground secured thanks to late Daryl Murphy and Molla Wague goals, also keeps Martin O'Neill's men in the hunt for a play-off place but Sheffield Wednesday's top-six charge was dented by a 0-0 draw at Stoke City.


HOPE FOR BOLTON

Off the field issues continue to make the headlines for Bolton Wanderers, but Phil Parkinson's side moved within five points of safety with a 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers. 

Goals from Will Buckley and Callum Connolly set up their second win in four Championship games, although a late reply from Nahki Wells made for a nervy finish at Loftus Road.

QPR are now winless in five Championship games and pressure is growing on former England manager Steve McClaren, while Reading are four points clear of the drop zone after a 2-1 triumph over Preston North End. 

Wigan Athletic also edged up to 40 points by virtue of a goalless draw at home to Brentford, but Ipswich Town's fate is close to being sealed with a 2-0 home loss to Hull City leaving the Tractor Boys 13 points adrift with only seven games to play.

Pablo Hernandez scored a brace as Leeds United eased to a 3-0 win away to Reading to move top of the Championship.

With Norwich City in action at home to Hull City on Wednesday, Marcelo Bielsa's men knew they had the chance to take top spot.

And they wasted no time at the Madejski Stadium, Mateusz Klich getting them up and running with the opener in the 14th minute.

Luke Ayling created that goal and the right-back was soon at it again, setting up Hernandez for the first of his brace.

And when Hernandez added his second of the game just before half-time, Leeds were heading into top spot with nine games to go.

BLADES MAINTAIN THE PRESSURE

Sheffield United moved within a point of Norwich thanks to their 2-0 win at home to Brentford despite Gary Madine's first-half red card.

Captain Oliver Norwood converted a penalty to put the Blades in front before Madine was dismissed, David McGoldrick striking late to seal the points.

Bristol City moved into sixth spot, replacing Derby County, despite Lee Johnson's men failing to beat bottom side Ipswich Town at home, Lloyd Kelly scoring an own goal to hand the Tractor Boys a point.

Ipswich are 11 points adrift of safety with Paul Lambert's side now having drawn five of their past six Championship fixtures by the same 1-1 scoreline.

 

OWLS FLYING HIGH UNDER BRUCE

Sheffield Wednesday's unbeaten run under new manager Steve Bruce continued with a 2-0 win away to crisis club Bolton Wanderers.

Steven Fletcher and Rolando Aarons struck either side of half-time to send the Owls up to ninth in the table, just three points outside the play-off places.

Wigan Athletic remain two points above the relegation zone after a crushing 3-0 defeat away to Blackburn Rovers, Danny Graham netting a brace at Ewood Park.

Norwich City and Leeds United each scored second-half winners as the Championship promotion race kicked up a gear on Saturday.

Leaders Norwich twice trailed at home to Bristol City but triumphed 3-2 thanks to Kenny McLean's brace, while Ezgjan Alioski's fortunate goal handed Leeds a 2-1 defeat of Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road.

A 2-0 home win against freefalling QPR saw Middlesbrough solidify their fifth place behind West Brom and Sheffield United, who meet at The Hawthorns later in the day, while Preston North End boosted their play-off hopes with a 3-1 success at FA Cup quarter-finalists Millwall.

Bottom side Ipswich Town were denied a crucial victory at Wigan Athletic by Joe Garner's injury-time goal while Reading and Rotherham United are locked together on 30 points after playing out a 1-1 draw.

 

LEADERS WORK HARD FOR WINS

Norwich and Leeds did not have it easy with both of the Championship's top two having been in grave danger of dropping decisive points in the battle to reach the Premier League.

Bristol City were in front twice at Carrow Road thanks to goals from Jamie Paterson and Callum O'Dowda but McLean's second of the game, a superb 25-yard drive, saw the leaders prevail.

Patrick Bamford's penalty put Leeds in front against Bolton but, after Mark Beevers hit back from close range for the relegation-threatened Wanderers, Alioski kept Marcelo Bielsa's men two points off top spot.

There was more than a stroke of luck about the winner, however, as Alioski's intended cross curled and dipped over the head of visiting goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

 

ADAMS' HOT STREAK CONTINUES AFTER MULGREW MAGIC

With sixth-placed Bristol City beaten there was a chance for the chasing pack to make up ground on the play-off spots, but Birmingham City could only draw 2-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers.

In-form striker Che Adams scored twice - taking his 2019 Championship tally to 10 - by hitting both the opening and final goals of a gripping contest at St. Andrew's.

Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew scored direct from a corner for the third time this season but, after Danny Graham had seemingly won it for Tony Mowbray's men, Adams tucked home from a tight angle for a share of the spoils.

Stoke City and Aston Villa also drew on the day tributes were paid to the late goalkeeping great Gordon Banks, with Sam Vokes' first strike since joining the Potters from Burnley cancelled out by Albert Adomah's goal.

LATE DRAMA AT THE BOTTOM

Despite manager Paul Lambert serving a touchline ban, Ipswich were on track for a huge win at Wigan thanks to Will Keane's first-half penalty, but Garner struck from close range in the 91st minute to deny his former club and earn the Latics a point.

Ovie Ejaria's goal had given Reading a vital lead at home to Rotherham, with the Royals set to move three points away from the drop zone. But a scruffy finish from Semi Ajayi with 11 minutes to go kept the Millers on Reading's tail.

Meanwhile, Said Benrahma hit a hat-trick as Brentford thumped Hull City 5-1 and, after Adam Reach's brace, Steven Fletcher scored an overhead kick in Sheffield Wednesday's 3-1 success against Swansea City at Hillsborough.

Britt Assombalonga's first-half goal earned Middlesbrough a 1-0 Championship win at Blackburn Rovers, who played the second period a man light following Derrick Williams' red card.

Victory sends Tony Pulis' side into fifth, with a three-point cushion over seventh-place Derby County in the race for a top-six finish and a spot in the play-offs.

Boro will still harbour hopes of automatic promotion - sitting seven points behind second-place Sheffield United, over whom they have a game in hand - while for Rovers, Sunday's defeat at Ewood Park was their fourth on the bounce and leaves them 14th.

The visitors took the lead in the 19th minute when Charlie Mulgrew misjudged a long pass from the back and, although he recovered to slide in and block Ashley Fletcher's effort, succeeded only in diverting the ball towards Assombalonga to nod home his 10th league goal of the season from point-blank range.

And it was a second Mulgrew mistake that led to Williams' sending off prior to the interval, the centre-back misreading another ball over the top before his fellow defender brought down Fletcher on the edge of the box and received a straight red.

Lewis Wing thumped a 25-yard strike off the crossbar shortly after the restart as Pulis' men sought a second and they ought to have been undone by former Boro striker Danny Graham, who could only skew an attempt over from six yards with 12 minutes remaining.

Graham teed up Bradley Dack five minutes later, but the midfielder's first-time volley was superbly saved low to his right by Darren Randolph as Boro held on for all three points.

Leeds United returned to the top of the Championship after a 2-1 victory over Swansea City, Marcelo Bielsa's side leapfrogging Norwich City – who lost at Preston North End.

Leeds had started Wednesday two points behind Norwich but goals from Pontus Jansson and Jack Harrison were enough to move them back to the summit.

Oliver McBurnie did pull one back for Swansea with a late penalty but it was too little too late as Leeds sealed an 18th win of the campaign midweek.

Leeds have a one-point advantage over Norwich thanks to stunning display from Preston – managed by former Canaries boss Alex Neil – at Deepdale.

CANARIES KNOCKED OFF THEIR PERCH

Preston quickly opened up a 2-0 lead over Norwich as Ben Davies and Paul Gallagher beat Tim Krul. 

Marco Stiepermann missed a penalty before the break and when Sean Maguire scored Preston's third, Norwich were beaten.

Teemu Pukki grabbed a consolation in stoppage time but it was never going to be enough to stop them dropping down to second position following the 3-1 defeat.

Sheffield United are hot on their heels after a 1-0 win over 10-man Middlesbrough, Richard Stearman's first goal of the season enough to move the Blades within two points of the automatic promotion places.

 

LAMPARD LEFT FRUSTRATED

With Middlesbrough losing, Derby County had the chance to move into the top-six but they could only take a point at bottom club Ipswich Town after a 1-1 draw.

Tom Lawrence gave Derby an early lead at Portman Road but Jon Nolan rescued a point minutes after coming off the bench for Paul Lambert's strugglers.

"The team performance wasn't good enough," said a frustrated Frank Lampard. "If there was a natural complacency from going 1-0 up, then we got taught a lesson."

 

SMITH LOSES ON BRENTFORD RETURN

Dean Smith's first trip back to Brentford ended in a 1-0 defeat as his Aston Villa side conceded in the 91st minute at Griffin Park, Neal Maupay netting his 18th goal of the campaign.

"We are getting further away [from the promotion picture] at the moment because we're not picking up points," said a dejected Smith. "We have to take stock of it now and make sure we go and get a result against West Brom."

Elsewhere, Reading lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, while Stoke City are four games without a win after a goalless draw against Wigan Athletic.

Middlesbrough gave their Premier League promotion hopes a big boost with a thrilling 3-2 victory at West Brom.

With the Championship's top two, Leeds United and Norwich City, not playing until later on Saturday, Boro earned an impressive victory in the match between the sides sitting fourth and fifth courtesy of a late double from substitute Britt Assombalonga.

Third-placed Sheffield United also won, beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at home to move above Norwich into second, at least temporarily.

Bristol City saw off Swansea City 2-0 to move into the play-off positions, while Brentford recorded an extraordinary 5-2 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Birmingham City, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic also earned victories, while Reading's match with Aston Villa ended in a goalless draw, as did Millwall's clash with Rotherham United.

 

BIG BOOST FOR BORO

It looked like Boro were in trouble at the Hawthorns after George Saville's opener had been overturned by strikes from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle. 

Defeat would have left them six points behind the top four, but Assombalonga had other ideas with two goals in an eight-minute spell, capitalising on a mistake from Chris Brunt for the winner, as Tony Pulis returned to West Brom for the first time since being sacked.

Sheffield United kept up the pressure on the teams at the top courtesy of Billy Sharp, who set up a second-half goal for David McGoldrick before netting one himself.

In-form Bristol moved above Derby County, who drew with Preston North End on Friday, into sixth with Andreas Weimann and Callum O'Dowda netting after the break against Swansea to give Lee Johnson a seventh straight victory in all competitions.

 

BLACKBURN IN SHOCKING COLLAPSE

Blackburn would have been within a point of the play-offs had they defeated Brentford at Griffin Park, but instead they fell to a stunning defeat.

Bradley Dack's low strike and a Danny Graham header had them two goals up inside seven minutes but Said Benrahma promptly got one back for the hosts after a lethal counter-attack.

Brentford then scored four times in the final 32 minutes, as Ollie Watkins' double and strikes from Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos left Blackburn stunned.

Birmingham and Hull recorded 2-0 wins over Nottingham Forest and Stoke City respectively, with the Potters seeing debutant Sam Vokes miss a spot-kick.

 

WIGAN GAIN GROUND AT THE BOTTOM

Wigan were the only team in the bottom six to taste victory, beating QPR 2-1 at home to move seven points clear of the drop zone. Josh Windass and Leon Clarke scored in either half, with Bright Samuel's late response for Steve McClaren's men only proving a consolation.

Bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town went down to a heart-breaking 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday after Lucas Joao's last-minute winner in Steve Bruce's first game in charge.

Martin O'Neill registered his first win as Nottingham Forest manager as Leeds United moved three points clear at the top of the Championship on Saturday.

Several second-tier sides were in FA Cup action, but there were still some big results in the league, with Leeds returning to winning ways while Forest and Blackburn Rovers kept up the presser on the top six.

Norwich City and Sheffield United battled to a draw, losing pace behind Leeds, while Aston Villa defeated strugglers Ipswich Town.

Stoke City had beaten Leeds last week, but their difficult season continued with a humbling home reverse at the hands of Preston North End.

LEEDS BATTLE BACK

Having lost last week, Leeds needed to show a response and their trip to Rotherham United did not start well, trailing to Semi Ajayi's opener for the hosts at the break.

But Mateusz Klich came up with a response following the restart, netting after 51 minutes to set up a tense finale. The same man then delivered to complete a turnaround, striking the winner four minutes from time.

Marcelo Bielsa's mood would have improved further upon seeing the result at Carrow Road, where Billy Sharp twice cancelled out Norwich goals as Sheffield United earned a 2-2 draw.

Leeds now hold a three-point advantage over second-placed Norwich, with the Blades a further three points back after leapfrogging West Brom.

O'NEILL UP AND RUNNING

Forest's first home match under former favourite O'Neill had underwhelmed, with Bristol City claiming a 1-0 win at the City Ground last time out.

But the Reds' fortunes improved on Saturday. Despite registering just three shots on target against Wigan Athletic, O'Neill's men ran out 3-1 winners. Joe Lolley, Matty Cash and Adlene Guedioura were on target.

Although Forest climbed the table with victory, they remain below Blackburn after Tony Mowbray's side sealed an impressive 3-0 victory against Hull City.

Villa are also in the play-off picture following a 2-1 defeat of lowly Ipswich. Tammy Abraham continued his outstanding form with a brace.

STOKE STUTTER AGAIN

The Potters would have hoped that their fortunes had turned with the arrival of Nathan Jones and a win against Leeds last week, but a wretched campaign was punctuated with another dismal defeat on Saturday.

Preston clinched a 2-0 win at Stoke with goals through Alan Browne and Brad Potts.

A side plying their trade in the Premier League just 12 months ago remain 15th in the Championship, with just one win in eight across all competitions.

Substitute Adam Armstrong made one goal and scored another as Blackburn Rovers struck twice in the last four minutes of normal time to beat Millwall 2-0 at The Den.

A drab contest appeared set to end goalless until Blackburn hit the front in somewhat bizarre fashion in the 86th minute, Armstrong's cross from the left eventually finding its way in off the face of Joe Nuttall.

Armstrong immediately added a second to make the points safe and leave Millwall, who had won their previous four matches in all competitions, five points clear of the Championship's bottom three. Rovers leapfrog Stoke City into 14th and are six points off the play-offs.

The only moments of note in a dismal opening 45 minutes concerned injuries. Millwall forward Tom Elliott was forced off after hurting his left arm in a first-minute challenge, while referee Robert Jones was another early casualty as he picked up an injury and was replaced by fourth official Gavin Ward.

There was little improvement after the break, but Blackburn went ahead when Armstrong - a 74th-minute replacement for Bradley Dack - exchanged passes with Lewis Travis and delivered a low cross that was bundled in by Nuttall, after James Meredith's attempted clearance had struck team-mate Shaun Hutchinson.

Blackburn's second goal came a minute later, Armstrong finding the bottom-right corner with a fine finish from just inside the penalty area.

 

 

Page 1 of 3
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.