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.

Bolton Wanderers' rearranged home match against Brentford will not take place and their opponents will instead be awarded a 1-0 victory, the English Football League (EFL) has confirmed.

Relegated Bolton called off the Championship fixture last weekend as their players went on strike over unpaid wages for March and April.

It was announced on Thursday that the game would be rescheduled for Tuesday, May 7, two days after the final round of league fixtures in the second tier.

However, a further decision has been taken to give Brentford the three points, with the EFL to open disciplinary proceedings against Bolton.

"Following the decision taken by Bolton Wanderers' Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to issue a prohibition notice preventing Tuesday's rearranged Championship fixture with Brentford from taking place, the EFL will not be asking that the game is played at a future date," read a statement from the governing body.

"There is no provision under EFL Regulations to direct clubs to play at a later date than four days past the conclusion of the season and, as a result, it has been determined that Brentford will be awarded the three points on the basis of a 1-0 victory.

"As a consequence, Bolton Wanderers is now deemed to be guilty of misconduct by the EFL which will result in disciplinary proceedings against the club being taken at an appropriate time.

"The decision to award the victory to Brentford is taken under Regulation 33.2 and is independent of the proceedings referred to above."

Bolton Wanderers' suspended Championship match against Brentford has been rearranged for Tuesday, May 7, the English Football League (EFL) has confirmed. 

The game was originally scheduled for last weekend but did not take place after Bolton's players went on strike over unpaid wages for March and April. 

The new date is two days after the end of the regular Championship season. 

Bolton have already been relegated to League One and find themselves in dire financial straits, with the club announcing on Thursday that Laurence Bassini's attempt to purchase them from owner Ken Anderson had fallen through.

There is a risk of Bolton being placed into administration and, should that come to pass, the EFL would not insist on the game being played. 

"The rationale for adopting that approach is that it is the [EFL] board's view that any administrator should be allowed to concentrate their efforts and available funding on finding a purchaser for the club, rather than staging the fixture in these unprecedented circumstances," the EFL said in a statement. 

The English Football League (EFL) has confirmed Bolton Wanderers' postponed fixture with Brentford will not take place this week amid an ongoing player strike.

The game was initially scheduled for April 27, but Bolton were unable to field a team after players refused to play in protest at unpaid wages - a decision backed by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Hopes that the game might be played on Wednesday have been dashed by the EFL, which said in a statement that Bolton had not made arrangements to play the game at the earliest opportunity.

A proposed takeover by former Watford owner Laurence Bassini has reportedly not progressed, leaving the club facing a winding up petition on May 8 should the situation remain unresolved.

An EFL statement said: "The EFL has this morning [Tuesday] confirmed that Bolton Wanderers' suspended Championship fixture with Brentford will not be played this week.

"The EFL Board will now determine on Thursday 2 May 2019 as to what arrangements are to be put in place in regards to the fixture and Bolton Wanderers will be instructed accordingly.

"As previously advised EFL Regulations do provide for any league match to be played within four days of the end of the normal playing season (Sunday 5 May 2019).

"The EFL reserves its position in relation to the club not making the arrangements to play the game at the earliest opportunity and this matter will be brought to the attention of the Independent Disciplinary Commission the club has been referred to at the appropriate time."

Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed when they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on April 19.

Bolton Wanderers' home game against Brentford has been called off after their players refused to play in protest at unpaid wages.

The troubled club "regrettably" confirmed less than 24 hours before the scheduled kick-off time that the Championship fixture would not be taking place on Saturday.

The EFL described the developments as "disappointing" in a statement on its website, adding that Bolton are now guilty of misconduct and will be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.

Their players had released a statement earlier on Friday that they would not be fulfilling the remaining two matches in the season due to monies owed - a decision that won the backing of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

Both the squad and coaching staff members have still not been paid for March and first-team players reportedly refused to train for 48 hours this month in protest after club workers also went unpaid.

"This situation is creating mounting mental, emotional and financial burdens for people through no fault of their own," the statement from the players read. "The mental pressure has affected some people to the extent that they feel they are unable to perform their jobs sufficiently.

"These are unprecedented circumstances and are affecting every aspect of our lives, placing great strain on ourselves and our families."

Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini last week agreed a last-minute takeover of the club to prevent them going into administration. The deal hoped to lead to the settlement of a High Court case related to an unpaid tax bill.

Bolton's relegation to League One was confirmed last week by their 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.

Leeds United's automatic promotion hopes are hanging by a thread after they lost 2-0 at Brentford on Monday, leaving them three points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United with two games left.

Brentford went into the game with just one win in eight, but they were by the more cohesive side going forward and were good value for a win that has Leeds looking destined for the play-offs.

There was little to separate the two teams during an even first half, but Leeds should have been given a penalty when Patrick Bamford was tripped in the box while slipping the ball through Julian Jeanvier's legs.

Referee James Linnington failed to award it, however, and Neal Maupay capitalised with his 24th league goal of the season just before the break, stabbing home brilliantly from outside the box.

Sergi Canos – formerly of Leeds' promotion rivals Norwich City – doubled the lead in the 62nd minute, latching on to a through pass and cleverly flicking over Kiko Casilla.

Despite Leeds' desperation, Brentford continued to look the more threatening, with Maupay acrobatically firing just over, before Canos was denied a wonderful solo goal by Casilla.

Leeds failed to pull one back, meaning they remain three points behind the Blades – 3-0 winners over Hull City earlier in the day – and six adrift of Norwich, who slumped to a fourth successive draw in a 2-2 tie with Stoke City.

Another point for the Canaries will confirm their promotion back to the Premier League.

Sheffield United claimed another big win in their bid for promotion from the Championship as they beat Hull City 3-0 to pile the pressure on Leeds United.

With Leeds facing Brentford in Monday's late fixture, the second-placed Blades moved three points clear of Marcelo Bielsa's side with a dominant display at KCOM Stadium.

Above them, Norwich City were held to a fourth successive draw, and with two games remaining, their lead has been reduced to just three points.

Play-off candidates Middlesbrough and Bristol City succumbed to defeats at Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday respectively, and Derby County took the chance to move into the top six thanks to a Harry Wilson late show against QPR.

In the early game, Aston Villa beat Millwall to claim their 10th successive win, while at the other end of the table Wigan Athletic secured safety with a 2-0 victory over Preston North End.

BLADES SHARP AS THE RUN-IN HOTS UP

Having seen off Forest on Friday, Sheffield United took full advantage of playing before Leeds by dismantling Hull in a Yorkshire derby.

Chris Wilder's side took the lead 10 minutes in – David McGoldrick heading home unmarked from John Fleck's corner – and the Blades never looked back.

McGoldrick doubled his tally 12 minutes later, curling in an excellent finish from 25 yards out, with Enda Stevens capitalising on more slack Hull defending to effectively wrap up the points before half-time.

While securing automatic promotion will be the priority, United are just three points behind Norwich with two games – against Ipswich Town and Stoke City – still to come.

CANARIES' CELEBRATIONS STILL ON HOLD

A matter of weeks ago, it looked as though Norwich's charge to the title, and the Premier League, was a mere formality.

Now, however, after yet another draw, things look a bit more complicated for Daniel Farke's side. Depending on Leeds' result against Brentford, there could suddenly be a three-way tussle for not just promotion, but the title.

Norwich dominated proceedings for much of Monday's encounter at Stoke, with Onel Hernandez beating Jack Butland in the 24th minute.

But the hosts fought back through Ashley Williams' header, and though Teemu Pukki restored Norwich's lead, Thomas Edwards drew Stoke level once more to secure a share of the spoils, and delay the Canaries' promotion celebrations.

CONTROVERSIAL PENALTY HELPS DERBY

Derby moved into the final play-off spot thanks to a dramatic 2-0 triumph over QPR, though Frank Lampard's side relied on a contentious penalty to break the deadlock.

With 94 minutes played, referee David Webb harshly deemed that Luke Freeman had fouled Jayden Bogle, and Liverpool loanee Wilson made no mistake with a composed finish.

QPR rallied, with Pawel Wszolek seeing an effort hooked off the line, but the result was settled when Derby raced clear – Wilson tucking in his second in the 101st minute.

Derby's move into the play-off spots comes at the expense of Middlesbrough, who lost 3-0 at Forest, while Barry Bannan's stunner set Sheffield Wednesday up for a 2-0 win over Bristol, who drop to eighth.

VILLA MARCH ON, WIGAN SAFE

Villa seem to be hitting top form at just the right time, as they all but guaranteed a play-off place with a 1-0 win over Millwall – Jonathan Kodjia on target for Dean Smith's side.

Millwall's defeat handed Wigan a boost ahead of their clash with Preston, who had Ryan Ledson sent off as the Latics secured the points with goals from Leon Clarke and Lee Evans.

In the process, Wigan moved onto 48 points, enough to make sure of their Championship status for another season after Rotherham United lost at home to Birmingham City.

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.

Norwich City missed the chance to move eight points clear at the top of the Championship after drawing 2-2 at home with Reading on Wednesday.

Daniel Farke's side are still red-hot favourites to win promotion to the Premier League, though, given that they have a seven-point lead over third-place Sheffield United, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City.

Aston Villa cemented their place in the play-off positions with a 2-1 win away at Rotherham United, while Hull City maintained their late bid for a top-six finish with a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.

Ipswich Town edged ever closer to relegation following a 2-0 defeat at Brentford, while Millwall and Queens Park Rangers played out a goalless draw.

RINOMHOTA DENIES CANARIES AT THE DEATH

Andy Rinomhota scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time to put a dent in Norwich's march towards the Championship title.

The Royals took a 30th-minute lead when Yakou Meite fired home, but a stirring late fightback looked to have sealed all three points for Farke's men.

Ben Godfrey pulled the hosts level before Christoph Zimmermann put them ahead two minutes later. Reading had the final say, however, with Rinomhota firing home late on to clinch the visitors a dramatic point.

BLADES' TOP-TWO BID SUFFERS A BLOW

Leeds United's 2-0 win over Preston North End on Tuesday cranked up the pressure on Chris Wilder's side ahead of their visit to Birmingham - and they were unable to match their promotion rivals by picking up three points on the road.

Enda Stevens scored after 38 minutes but Sheffield United’s lead lasted just four minutes, Michael Morrison prodding home from close range to ensure a share of the spoils.

The Blades are now a point behind their Yorkshire rivals in the race for second spot, while Birmingham sit six points above the drop zone.

VILLA IN SEVENTH HEAVEN

Aston Villa's superb recent form continued as they beat struggling Rotherham in a game that featured three penalties.

Tammy Abraham missed from the spot before Will Vaulks gave the hosts the lead from 12 yards after Tyrone Mings was penalised for handball – an offence that saw him shown a straight red card.

Jonathan Kodjia made no mistake from the spot shortly after the interval, setting up Jack Grealish to seal all three points in the 51st minute as he finished off a flowing move.

A seventh win in a row gives Villa a five-point lead over seventh-place Middlesbrough, while Rotherham remain two points away from safety in 22nd.

The EFL has described reports of racist incidents at three of its clubs on the same day as "exceptionally disappointing" and promised to "assess and develop" its role in eradicating such behaviour.

An arrest was made during Derby County's 3-3 draw with Brentford at Griffin Park on Saturday after one of the home supporters was accused of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence involving Rams midfielder Duane Holmes.

On the same day, Wigan Athletic winger Nathan Byrne received racist abuse on his personal Twitter account following the Latics' 2-2 draw at Bristol City, and Northampton Town loanee Timi Elsnik reported an incident in which his team-mates were racially abused ahead of their 2-2 draw at Notts County.

In a statement, the EFL said: "The EFL was saddened, disappointed and angered to hear of further reports of alleged racism following the conclusion of some matches on Saturday afternoon.

"It was exceptionally disappointing that this happened as clubs up and down the country were raising awareness of such issues as part of Kick It Out's Week of Action.

"We remain fully committed to continuing to work alongside The FA and Premier League as well as other relevant parties to ensure that football provides a welcoming environment for supporters attending matches and those participating in them.

"Our work with all EFL clubs continues and we will assess and develop our role in this area through our established equality code of practice, our league-wide inclusion plan and our ongoing dedicated security operations, enhancing these where necessary."

The EFL said it would continue to collaborate with anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out to eradicate racism from football.

Kick It Out tweeted: "Another week, another group of players racially abused.

"We won't stop highlighting this disgraceful behaviour while it remains deeply ingrained within football.

"We'll be liaising with the relevant authorities and offering support to clubs and players involved."

The PFA also posted a tweet, saying: "Yesterday's incidents highlight that we still have much work to do at home in tackling racism.

"We commend the clubs for their prompt and formal responses.

"We will coordinate with the players and clubs involved to offer our full support."

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha called out racial abuse on Twitter as three English Football League clubs reported alleged racist incidents on Saturday.

Zaha was brought down by Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin for Luka Milivojevic's decisive penalty in a 1-0 Premier League win.

After the match, Zaha shared a subsequently deleted tweet calling him a "diving monkey".

Brentford confirmed a season ticket holder was arrested after their 3-3 draw with Derby County at Griffin Park on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Derby manager Frank Lampard said midfielder Duane Holmes was abused in the dugout following his 74th-minute substitution.

"Duane Holmes complained that he was racially abused - I didn't see it, I was facing play and a fan came up to him at the side of the dugout and abused him," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"Because it's such an important issue I don't want to go beyond what I know, but it was very clearly reported by the players and the people around."

A statement from Brentford read: "Brentford FC will continue to liaise with the Metropolitan Police, who will now investigate the incident.

"The club utterly condemns discrimination of any kind. It is abhorrent and has no place in society and we are determined to drive it out of Griffin Park."

Wigan Athletic have reported an abusive message sent to their defender Nathan Byrne to the police.

A statement issued following their 2-2 draw against Bristol City read: "Wigan Athletic Football Club are angered by racist abuse received on the personal Twitter account of one of our players, Nathan Byrne, on Saturday afternoon.

"We have reported the incident to the police and will work with the relevant authorities to assist them with their investigations.

"There is no place for discrimination in society and social media is not an exception to those rules. We find this behaviour abhorrent."

Northampton Town said their players were subjected to "appalling" behaviour and called for anyone with information to come forward after their on-loan Derby County midfielder Timi Elsnik claimed his team-mates were racially abused outside their hotel ahead of Saturday's League Two fixture at Notts County.

"Went for a pre-match walk with the team in Nottingham and this young man outside the hotel started racially abusing some of our lads," Elsnik's tweet read.

"The most disgusting thing I've seen and heard! He's done it in front of his girl as well with no shame so he must do it all the time. Absolute idiot!"

The incidents come after a week when England international Danny Rose said he "can't wait to see the back of football" and expressed frustration over a lack of action taken against racism from football fans, while Juventus forward Moise Kean celebrated a goal against Cagliari by holding his arms outstretched in front of the opposition fans – seemingly in response to alleged racial chanting from the stands.

"Another week, another group of players racially abused," said anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out. "We won't stop highlighting this disgraceful behaviour while it remains deeply ingrained within football.

"We'll be liaising with the relevant authorities and offering support to clubs and players involved."

Sheffield United moved back ahead of Leeds United as the battle for the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship intensified on Saturday. 

The Blades, who had fallen behind their Yorkshire rivals last weekend, battled to a 1-0 win at Preston North End, while Leeds fell to a shock loss at Birmingham City.

Leaders Norwich City prevailed in the early kick-off, thrashing QPR, while Aston Villa's fine form continued with a dramatic win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bristol City, Derby County, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest all dropped points in pursuit of a play-off spot.

In the fight for survival, Bolton Wanderers' misery continued with a loss to Ipswich Town, but there were big wins for Rotherham United and Millwall.

BLADES STAY SHARP TO RECLAIM SECOND

It has been a thrilling battle between the Blades and Leeds and this weekend belonged to Chris Wilder's men.

David McGoldrick's first-half goal settled matters at Deepdale, where Preston's top-six hopes took a hit.

But it was Marcelo Bielsa's men who suffered arguably the biggest shock of the day, beaten 1-0 by a Blues side who had lost five on the bounce.

Che Adams' goal proved decisive and came just after Patrick Bamford had struck the post for Leeds.

Those results came after Norwich had thrashed QPR 4-0 at Carrow Road, with Teemu Pukki on target twice as the Canaries moved seven points clear heading into the final six games.

BRUCE TASTES BITTER DEFEAT 

Wednesday boss Steve Bruce faced his former employers at Hillsborough and saw his side ship two late goals in a 3-1 loss.

It was 1-1 heading into injury time, with Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham netting to boost Villa's promotion hopes.

Dean Smith's charges are now fifth after a sixth league win on the bounce.

As for Wednesday, their dreams of a late surge into the top six look to have been ended.

PLAY-OFF HOPEFULS STUTTER

It was not only the Owls who fluffed their lines on Saturday, with Derby held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Brentford.

Frank Lampard's side, who led three times, remain two points behind sixth-placed Bristol City, who also had to settle for a point following Nathan Byrne's last-gasp leveller for Wigan Athletic.

Tony Pulis' Boro lost 3-1 at Swansea City, and Forest were beaten 2-1 by lowly Rotherham.

 

TENSION BUILDS IN SURVIVAL BATTLE

That win for the Millers, who occupy the final relegation spot, put them within a point of Reading.

The Royals lost 3-1 at Hull City, while Millwall moved a point clear of the danger zone thanks to a 2-0 home win over high-flying West Brom.

Ahmed Hegazi in particular had a day to forget for the Baggies, scoring an own goal and seeing red.

Bolton, whose very future hangs in the balance, could find no solace on the pitch as Collin Quaner's double saw rock-bottom Ipswich to a 2-1 win.

Elsewhere, Stoke City prevailed 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers.

Bristol City moved back up to fifth in the Championship with a 1-0 victory over fellow play-off contenders Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Adam Webster's first-half header proved the difference at the Riverside, where Boro were booed off after a fifth straight defeat that left them eighth – two points adrift of Aston Villa in sixth.

George Saville blazed over a glorious opportunity before Jonny Howson failed to get the better of Max O'Leary when one on one in the 20th minute.

Howson saw another attempt deflected onto the post and Ashley Fletcher's follow-up was cleared off the line, with Webster's goal coming against the run of play in the 31st minute.

Britt Assombalonga also struck the woodwork after the restart but Boro were unable to find a route back into the game.

Swansea City ended a run of three straight defeats with a resounding 3-0 victory at home to Brentford, who are now winless in four.

Nathan Dyer was on target after just 31 seconds – his first league goal for the Swans since August 2014 – and he doubled his tally after Daniel James rattled the crossbar.

Bersant Celina struck the woodwork before half-time but James got the hosts' third on the follow-up after Connor Roberts' effort came back off the upright in the 78th minute.

Graham Potter's team moved up to 14th, level with Brentford on 50 points.

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.

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