Swansea City replaced Leeds United at the top of the Championship in dramatic fashion as a 90th-minute strike from Wayne Routledge earned Steve Cooper's men a 1-0 win at Elland Road.

Leeds dominated for much of the game on Saturday, but they were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge when Routledge swept home late on.

As a result, Swansea are two points clear at the top of the table heading into the international break, having won five and drawn one of their opening six games.

Charlton Athletic, promoted from League One last season, are also unbeaten and sit second after a 2-0 win at Reading.

At the other end of the table, the misery goes on for Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, who both remain winless after giving up leads in respective 2-1 defeats at Birmingham City and Luton Town.

Derby County also endured a horrible day as they were trounced 3-0 at Brentford.

 

SUPER SWANS DEFYING EXPECTATIONS UNDER COOPER

Cooper was something of a surprise appointment by the Swans after Graham Potter left for Brighton and Hove Albion, but the former England Under-17 coach could hardly have asked for a better start to his tenure at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans certainly rode their luck at Leeds, who created numerous chances to move ahead before being beaten by Routledge's last-gasp strike.

However, Swansea's resilience typified their early-season form under Cooper, which has seen them concede just four league goals thus far.

This win at Elland Road was their first in 70 years.

BAGGIES PREVAIL AFTER GOAL-FILLED FIRST HALF

Like Swansea, West Brom are yet to taste a Championship defeat after a change of boss in the close season. Slaven Bilic's men drew three of their first five games but are now up to fourth, a point behind Leeds, courtesy of a 3-2 win over a Blackburn Rovers side managed by former Albion chief Tony Mowbray.

All of the goals at the Hawthorns came in the first half, with Matt Phillips, Jake Livermore and Grady Diangana on target for West Brom after Bradley Dack's opener inside 25 seconds. Bradley Johnson pulled one back just before the break, but Blackburn could not rescue a point.

 

POTTERS STAY ROCK BOTTOM

Nathan Jones' future as Stoke's manager looks increasingly uncertain after they followed up a morale-boosting EFL Cup win at Leeds with a fifth league loss in six matches. Liam Lindsay put the Potters ahead after 58 minutes at Birmingham, but they were nevertheless beaten again, Jude Bellingham's deflected strike earning the hosts victory.

Huddersfield also have just one point, Andrew Shinnie claiming Luton's winner at Kenilworth Road, while Derby's struggles worsened as Ollie Watkins struck twice in an emphatic win for Brentford.

Bristol City and Middlesbrough played out a 2-2 draw in Saturday's early kick-off, while QPR came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 thanks to Jordan Hugill's brace.

Elsewhere, Millwall and Hull City drew 1-1, as did Nottingham Forest and Preston North End. There were no goals in the game between Wigan Athletic and Barnsley.

 

Sheffield Wednesday returned to the top of the Championship table thanks to a 1-0 win over struggling Luton Town, while Middlesbrough beat Wigan Athletic by the same scoreline for their first win of the campaign.

Phillip Cocu suffered his first defeat in charge of Derby County as Bristol City held on to triumph 2-1 at Pride Park.

Birmingham City turned it on in the final 21 minutes against visitors Barnsley, claiming a 2-0 victory to join six other teams on seven points.

And Blackburn Rovers left Hull City with the points as the hosts were ultimately left to rue a missed penalty at the KC Stadium.

 

BORO BOUNCE BACK

Jonathan Woodgate's Boro have endured a difficult start to the campaign, failing to win any of their first four matches.

But they got up and running with their first victory after they held off Wigan.

Britt Assombalonga grabbed the decisive goal in the 23rd minute, powering home a header from Jonny Howson's cross.

Wigan piled the pressure on towards the end, but Darren Randolph helped ensure the hosts clung on.

 

OWLS SOAR BACK TO THE SUMMIT

Wednesday fans were justifiably frustrated after Millwall ended their winning start to the season last time out, despite the Lions finding themselves reduced to 10 men in the first half.

They were not exactly convincing upon their return to Hillsborough, with boos audible at half-time, but they got the job done to move top with nine points from four games despite not having a full-time manager in place.

Kadeem Harris, who has impressed since joining on a free transfer from Cardiff City in July, scored the winner in the 54th minute, tapping in from close range.

Promoted Luton finished the game with more shots than their hosts, but they ran out of steam in the second half after a solid showing before the interval.

 

TIGERS RUE BOWEN MISS

Jarrod Bowen caught the eye but failed to make the difference when given the opportunity as Blackburn beat Hull 1-0.

The winger saw a 13th-minute penalty saved impressively by Christian Walton after Jackson Irvine had been fouled by Bradley Johnson, who had earlier hit the crossbar with a header.

Kamil Grosicki then struck the post just past the half-hour mark, before Rovers' Stewart Downing fired against the frame of the goal twice not long before the interval.

Eventually the breakthrough came, Derrick Williams nodding in before Rovers held on despite Hull's late onslaught.

Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic were the only teams to maintain their 100 per cent records in the Championship, while Reading, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers again slipped to defeats.

Last season's relegated Premier League sides Cardiff City and Fulham both bounced back from disappointing starts with home victories, the Bluebirds beating Luton Town 2-1 and Scott Parker's side claiming a 2-0 win against Blackburn.

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate was furious after his side had two goals disallowed in a 1-0 home defeat to Brentford, Tommy Rowe's late equaliser earned Bristol City a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City and Preston North End beat Wigan Athletic 3-0.

Meanwhile, Leeds United, QPR, West Brom and Derby County, who all won their opening games, were held to draws by Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Millwall and Swansea City respectively.

GRABBAN DENIES LEEDS ANOTHER WIN

Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi was facing the prospect of starting the season with consecutive defeats until Lewis Grabban grabbed an equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Leeds, who dominated for long spells at Elland Road.

Marcelo Bielsa's men swept Bristol City aside in the first half an hour of their season opener but found themselves embroiled in a battle with an uncompromising Forest side determined to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at home to West Brom.

After Patrick Bamford hit the crossbar, it was playmaker Pablo Hernandez who put Leeds in front, latching onto Mateusz Klich's chipped pass over the defence and burying a shot into the far corner of the net for his second goal in as many games.

But Forest equalised with their only shot on target of the game, Grabban capitalising on a penalty-box scramble and bundling the ball over the line from close range.

TWO WINS IN TWO FOR BOWYER'S MEN

Lyle Taylor, who scored Charlton Athletic's winner in their opening-day victory over Blackburn Rovers, picked up where he left off by firing Lee Bowyer's Addicks into the lead at home against Stoke.

The Potters responded through Tom Ince, but the tireless work ethic of Bowyer's newly promoted side wore the visitors down.

Close-season signing Chuks Aneke slammed the ball into the bottom corner from close range after Josh Cullen's cut-back to make it 2-1 to the hosts, and Conor Gallagher put the result beyond doubt seven minutes from time.

OWLS OFF TO A FLYER

Loanee winger Jacob Murphy wasted little time endearing himself to the Hillsborough faithful, pouncing on a loose ball and side-footing Sheffield Wednesday into the lead after two minutes of the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley.

The Owls carried the momentum of their victory at Reading into the game and withstood waves of pressure from a well-organised Barnsley side before doubling their lead through Steven Fletcher.

After Murphy's mazy dribble, Kieran Lee fed Fletcher and the Scotland international showed great technique with a finish into the bottom-right corner from outside the box.

FULHAM OFF THE MARK AS ROVERS FALTER

Blackburn were widely tipped to push on after finishing 15th in the Championship last season, but two games in they are still without a point following their home defeat to Charlton and a 2-0 reverse at Fulham.

Parker's side drew a blank when starting the season with a defeat at Barnsley but they went ahead against Rovers when former Blackburn midfielder Tom Cairney let rip from 25 yards.

Blackburn matched Fulham for much of the contest and Sam Gallagher squandered the chance to pull them level when he headed wide 14 minutes from time, moments before Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a tap-in.

Fulham and Cardiff City suffered defeats on their Championship returns on Saturday, as Charlton Athletic and Barnsley were victorious following promotion from League One.

Sheffield Wednesday also made a commendable start to the season with a 3-1 win at Reading, despite being without a permanent manager in the wake of Steve Bruce's departure to Newcastle United.

QPR beat a much-changed Stoke City 2-1 on the road, while Birmingham City also succeeded away from home, beating Brentford 1-0.

Millwall claimed a 1-0 victory at home to Preston North End and Hull City went down 2-1 away to Swansea City.

BLUEBIRDS DOWNED BY WIGAN

Cardiff's return to the Championship following Premier League relegation proved they are in for a testing campaign, as Wigan edged a five-goal thriller at the DW Stadium.

Joe Ralls volleyed the Bluebirds in front after 20 minutes and they remained ahead when Josh Windass hit the post with a penalty following a foul by Sean Morrison early in the second half.

Wigan levelled prior to the hour when a deflected free-kick fell to Michael Jacobs to turn home, before Windass made amends by rifling into the bottom-left corner.

Omar Bogle tapped in from close range against his former club in the 70th minute to equalise, but back came Wigan – Lee Evans finding the top-right corner with a screamer to seal the victory.

 

BARNSLEY MAKE IMPRESSIVE RETURN

Barnsley and Fulham were almost in two entirely different worlds last season, with one clawing their way up from League One and the other rubbing shoulders with the elite in the Premier League.

The only goal of their meeting at Oakwell came in the 13th minute, when debutant Luke Thomas beat his man and fired home from inside the box.

Barnsley had two lucky escapes past the hour mark, with Mads Andersen clearing efforts from Tom Cairney and then Floyd Ayite off the line, allowing the hosts to get off to a winning start.

 

LATE WIN DELIGHTS CHARLTON

Promoted via the play-offs, Charlton got off to a flying start in the Championship thanks to an applaudable 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Ben Purrington opened the scoring just before the break, converting at the back post from Jonny Williams' delivery.

Blackburn levelled early in the second half in fortuitous fashion – Naby Sarr cleared a goal-bound effort off the line, only for it to hit goalkeeper Dillon Phillips and ricochet into the net.

But Lyle Taylor had the last laugh, applying a deft flicked finish to Jason Pearce's header, meaning none of the three promoted teams suffered defeat upon their returns to the Championship, with Luton Town drawing at home to Middlesbrough on Friday.

 

BULLEN'S OWLS SOAR

It was a turbulent close season for Sheffield Wednesday due to the saga surrounding Bruce's exit to Newcastle, but they looked sharp as they claimed an impressive 3-1 win away to Reading in their opening match under caretaker manager Lee Bullen.

Kadeem Harris put them ahead on the half-hour mark, but Yakou Meite's looping header restored parity in the 54th minute.

Wednesday swiftly retook the lead, however – Sam Hutchinson nodding in Barry Bannan's corner on his birthday for his first league goal since December 2016.

Keiren Westwood was sent off for clattering Modou Barrow in the 80th minute, but Lucas Joao wrapped things up late on for the visitors with a neat finish from the edge of the box.

Neil Warnock insisted the 2019-20 season is "absolutely" his last as a football manager as he prepared for a return to the Championship, where his Cardiff City side will battle for promotion in a division of contrasting football philosophies.

Former Leeds United boss Warnock will relish the Bluebirds' games against his old club more than ever as he pits his wits against Marcelo Bielsa following a turbulent first season in England for the former Argentina coach.

Slaven Bilic will embark upon his first adventure as a Championship boss as he aims to steer West Brom back into the Premier League, while Fulham's Scott Parker, Derby County's Phillip Cocu and Charlton Athletic's Lee Bowyer all make their managerial debuts in the division.

West Brom, Derby and Leeds come into the new season still smarting from play-off disappointment in 2018-19, while Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Cardiff arrive having tumbled out of the top flight last term.

Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton are the newcomers from League One and all three will fancy their chances of causing more than a few surprises as they take on a division that looks wide open.

BIELSA IS BACK FOR A SECOND CRACK

Leeds fans breathed a sigh of relief when Bielsa agreed a one-year extension to his Elland Road contract, having seen their side transformed under the 63-year-old's guidance in 2018-19. While 'Spygate' and Leeds' play-off defeat to Derby dominated the headlines last season, they played some of the most attractive football in the division with veteran playmaker Pablo Hernandez instrumental in attack.

They acquired Helder Costa from Wolves and Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion, while losing centre-back Pontus Jansson to Brentford, but Leeds will rely on many of the same faces that helped them finish third last term. Bielsa's ability to get the best out of his resources - particularly influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips - should ensure they challenge for promotion once again.

WARNOCK TO HAVE ONE MORE GO

Last season was a difficult one for Cardiff, the disappointment of relegation put into context by the tragic death of Emiliano Sala before he even played for the club. The experience left Warnock shaken as he reflected on his bond with Bluebirds fans, and he has promised a title tilt to bring the curtain down on his long career.

Aron Gunnarsson and Victor Camarasa have departed, but Warnock has brought in Will Vaulks from Rotherham to reinforce his midfield, while £5.5million forward Robert Glatzel will be expected to deliver goals.

BEES AND ROVERS HARBOUR TOP-HALF HOPES

Brentford finished 11th last season after manager Dean Smith joined Aston Villa in October, but Thomas Frank got them playing attractive football again as they won four of their final six games. Said Benrahma and Neal Maupay will be out to fire the Bees up the table and turn Griffin Park - where they have lost just one league game in 2019 - into a fortress.

There is similar optimism around Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers lost just one of their final five Championship games last term, and where former Southampton striker Sam Gallagher will hope to rediscover the goalscoring touch he showed in a loan spell in Lancashire in 2016-17.

FULHAM AIM TO BOUNCE BACK, BAGGIES REINFORCED

Anthony Knockaert knows all about Championship promotion pushes, having starred in Brighton's ascent in 2016-17, and his creativity and goals could be vital to Fulham's hopes of bouncing straight back after he signed on a season-long loan.

The Championship's bargain hunters are West Brom, who have signed Romaine Sawyers, Darnell Furlong and Semi Ayaji for less than £6m combined, but the £8m capture of forward Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff is a real statement of intent.

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.

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