Patrick Bamford's brace helped Leeds return to winning ways and the top of the Championship with a dominant 4-0 triumph against promotion rivals West Brom at Elland Road.

Pablo Hernandez quickly put the midweek loss at QPR to one side as he gave Marcelo Bielsa's team the lead after 15 seconds.

A goal in each half from Bamford and Ezgjan Alioski's final flourish mean Norwich City must avoid defeat at Millwall on Saturday to edge back in front of Leeds.

Darren Moore's West Brom remain fourth, seven points shy of their opponents, and they were behind instantly despite having kick-off.

Albion gave the ball away and allowed Jack Harrison to advance unchallenged down the left flank before the on-loan Manchester City winger picked out Hernandez for a magnificent finish from 25 yards.

Tyler Roberts' cute pass allowed Bamford to double the advantage before the half hour, although Leeds were indebted to goalkeeper Kiko Casilla's sharp stop from Jay Rodriguez's rasping long-range strike.

Casilla's opposite number Sam Johnstone had little chance in the 63rd minute when Bamford's shot took a deflection off Craig Dawson to fly in at the near post - the excellent Roberts once again the provider.

West Brom's misery was complete in stoppage time when a typically slick Leeds move saw marauding left-back Alioski enjoy a tap-in from substitute Jamie Shackleton's low cross.

Widnes Vikings have been rescued from administration by a consortium after a deal was ratified on Friday.

The Championship club entered administration last week, since when fans have helped to raise over £100,000 to save the Vikings.

An agreement was reached between administrators and a consortium on Thursday, before the Rugby Football League approved the takeover.

Widnes have been hit with a 12-point deduction, but this weekend's fixture with Featherstone Rovers will be able to go ahead.

The Vikings have won the top tier of English rugby league on three occasions but suffered relegation last season.

Leeds United failed to regain top spot in the Championship as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at struggling QPR.

Steve Bruce, meanwhile, extended his unbeaten run as Sheffield Wednesday boss to six league games as his side saw off Brentford 2-0.

Bristol City slipped up in their bid to consolidate sixth place, going down 2-1 at home to Birmingham City.

Elsewhere, Hull City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 home victory over Millwall.

FREEMAN DENTS LEEDS' TITLE HOPES

Leeds did not manage to make their game in hand count as Luke Freeman struck to end QPR's seven-match losing streak.

Marcelo Bielsa's side would have gone top with a win, but went behind when Freeman tucked home from close range early in the second half.

Having squandered a series of chances before Freeman's opener, Leeds were guilty of similar profligacy as they hunted an equaliser, although QPR had goalkeeper Joe Lumley to thank for two smart saves to deny Patrick Bamford.

Nahki Wells wasted a good opportunity to double QPR's lead, but the miss did not prove costly as Steve McClaren's side finally ended their dismal run.

FLETCHER BRACE BOOSTS UNBEATEN BRUCE

Bruce is yet to taste defeat since taking charge of Sheffield Wednesday at the start of February, with Steven Fletcher's first double since April 2017 doing the damage against Brentford.

Having opened the scoring just before the break, Fletcher netted his second three minutes after the restart, heading home from Adam Reach's delivery.

Keiren Westwood was in solid form at the other end to deny Said Benrahma, and Brentford have now lost four of their last five league visits to Hillsborough against Wednesday, who are six points off sixth-place Bristol City.

BIRMINGHAM'S PLAY-OFF PUSH CONTINUES

Bristol City would have moved to within a point of Middlesbrough with a win, but Connor Mahoney starred at Ashton Gate as Birmingham City made up ground on their opponents.

Mahoney netted the opener before teeing up Michael Morrison either side of the interval, with Lee Camp denying Andreas Weimann early on.

Famara Diedhiou's tap-in set up a frantic finale, but Birmingham held firm to secure a win which takes them three points behind Bristol.

PUGH TAMES THE LIONS

Bournemouth loanee Marc Pugh scored his first Hull City goal to secure a hard-fought 2-1 win over Millwall at the KCOM Stadium.

With Shaun Hutchinson having cancelled out Jarrod Bowen's early opener, Pugh hammered in to restore Hull's lead prior to half-time.

Kamil Grosicki hit the woodwork as the hosts aimed to double their lead, but it was Reece Burke who proved the hero when he cleared Jake Cooper's header off the line late on to help Hull claim a first win in four games.

Yohan Benalouane's second-minute goal was enough as Nottingham Forest beat Derby County 1-0 at home on Monday to move to within a point of their fierce rivals in the Championship table.

Frank Lampard's Derby had been hoping to move back into the play-off places with a victory, but they were playing catch up right from the start and never managed to recover.

Derby endured a nightmarish beginning to the game, as Forest took the lead just 72 seconds in – Benalouane converting from close range after a poor Jayden Bogle headed clearance put the visitors under pressure.

Forest had a lucky escape 13 minutes later, however, as Martyn Waghorn sprung the offside trap to race on to a throughball, but his dinked finish drifted went wide of the right-hand post.

A defensive error from Derby then let Forest in soon after – Daryl Murphy's touch ultimately letting him down in the penalty area with only goalkeeper Kelle Roos to beat.

Opportunities were rather less frequent after the break, with Forest appearing happy to absorb pressure and attempt to hit Derby on the break.

Derby enjoyed some late pressure, but they failed to break through the home side's resolute defence, as Forest held on to move up to eighth in the table.

Things then threatened to boil over after the full-time whistle as players squared up to each other, but it soon calmed down thanks to the intervention of the two teams' coaching staff.

Sheffield United moved back into second place in the Championship table after a hard-fought 1-0 win over fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom.

Only one point separated the two sides before Saturday's clash at the Hawthorns, but Kieran Dowell's 14th-minute goal ensured that gap has now widened to four.

Dowell headed home from Martin Cranie's cross to give the Blades an early lead before Marvin Johnson missed a chance to double their advantage.

West Brom laid siege on the United goal for much of the second half but they were unable to find a way through, with Jay Rodriguez seeing a late effort disallowed for deliberate handball.

Victory lifts Chris Wilder's men back above Leeds United on goal difference and into the automatic promotion places, the Blades sitting just two points behind leaders Norwich City.

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.

Millwall have been charged with failing to control spectactors by the Football Association after instances of alleged racist chanting during their FA Cup victory against Everton.

Footage posted on social media appeared to show a section of the club's supporters taunting away fans by using a derogatory term about the Pakistani community.

The FA launched an investigation into the incident and confirmed on Thursday the Championship side have now been charged.

"Millwall FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20," said an FA statement.

"It is alleged the club failed to ensure its spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from using abusive and/or insulting words, which included a reference to race and/or ethnic origin, during the FA Cup tie against Everton on January 26."

Following the game, which Millwall won 3-2 to stay on course for a quarter-final at home to Brighton and Hove Albion, the club condemned the alleged racist abuse as "abhorrent".

"Millwall Football Club is aware of, and extremely disappointed by, a video circulating online displaying alleged racist chanting during Saturday's victory over Everton," a Millwall statement read.

"The club will, as is commonplace following such incidents, work with all relevant authorities during investigations into the matter and look to identify individuals involved. Anyone identified and guilty of such abuse will be banned from The Den for life."

Before the match, Everton fan Jay Burns was attacked and suffered a facial gash that required 25 stitches.

Police arrested and bailed a 27-year-old man on suspicion of wounding with intent, attempted grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has accepted a two-match touchline ban from the Football Association (FA) after his behaviour during a derby defeat to Norwich City.

Lambert was led away by a police officer when he was dismissed following a scuffle on the touchline in the aftermath of a tackle by Jon Nolan on Max Aarons.

Ipswich went on to lose 3-0 to promotion-chasing Norwich and former Canaries boss Lambert opted not to contest the FA charge, meaning he will miss upcoming games against Wigan Athletic and Reading.

"Norwich City have been fined £25,000 and Ipswich Town have been fined £20,000 after accepting a charge for failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during both the 45th and 90th minutes, as well as their officials in the 45th minutes of their EFL Championship fixture on February 10," said an FA statement.

"In addition, Paul Lambert has been given a two-match touchline ban, effective immediately, and fined £3,000 after he also accepted an FA improper conduct charge concerning his behaviour in the 45th minute of the fixture."

Ipswich are bottom of the Championship table, nine points adrift of safety after winning one league game in two months, and Lambert is unsure what impact the ban could have on his struggling side.

"There was no point appealing because I wasn't going to win but I have had my say about what when on and I stand by every word," he told Ipswich's club website.

"I'll get on with it now. It's not ideal but I trust my staff to do what I ask them to do. There will be no problem there. Will it make a difference, not being on the touchline? I don't know. I can talk to the players before the game and after. They will know what is expected of them."

Derby County's promotion hopes were dealt a blow as they were beaten 1-0 by FA Cup quarter-finalists Millwall at Pride Park.

The Rams went into the game two points outside the Championship play-off places following a disappointing 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town and were frustrated once again by a combative Millwall side.

Derby controlled the pace of the game in the first half but failed to force a breakthrough, with Tom Huddlestone twice firing wide after Mahlon Romeo squandered Millwall's best chance early on.

Jack Marriott had a pair of opportunities to give Derby the lead early in the second half, misfiring after Fikayo Tomori played him through and then heading while from Jayden Bogle's corner.

Frank Lampard's men were punished for their wastefulness after 72 minutes when Bogle's errant pass allowed Shane Ferguson to play a throughball for Jed Wallace, who chased it down and unleashed a shot that went through the legs of Rams goalkeeper Kelle Roos.

Derby failed to muster a late comeback as they missed the chance to move back into the top six, while 19th-placed Millwall picked up three vital points towards their battle against relegation.

Jake Livermore scored deep into second-half stoppage time to earn West Brom a 3-2 Championship win at QPR on Tuesday as they moved to within one point of third-placed Leeds United.

The Baggies looked to be heading to a disappointing draw against a QPR side who had lost five in a row in the league, but Livermore finished off a well-worked move at the end to clinch a third win in four games.

Jefferson Montero gave West Brom the early lead, latching on to a loose ball in the box and blasting in his first goal for the club.

QPR levelled when Luke Freeman tucked away from inside the penalty area just past the half-hour mark, but Jacob Murphy restored the visitors' lead in the 61st minute, capitalising on a defensive error before sweeping home.

Tomer Hemed looked to have earned QPR a share of the spoils when converting a penalty he won after being fouled by Craig Dawson.

But Livermore was West Brom's hero, providing a cool finish from close range after a brilliant move up the right flank.

Championship side Leeds United have been fined £200,000 by the English Football League after spying on a Derby County training session in January.

After a member of his staff was caught at Derby's training ground, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted he had spied on all his side's opponents this season.

Bielsa was widely condemned for his approach and 11 clubs contacted the English Football League (EFL) over the incident.

After an investigation, the EFL has found Leeds to have breached rules relating to treating teams with the "utmost good faith".

In addition to the fine, the EFL has formally reprimanded Leeds and the club have agreed to support a new regulation that prohibits clubs from viewing opposition training in the 72 hours immediately before a fixture, unless invited to do so.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "The facts of this particular case were not ones we would have expected - and have to deal with a complaint about - and it is clearly impossible to have a specific set of regulations that will apply in all circumstances of poor conduct, so, this charge was brought under a general regulation.

"The sanctions imposed highlight how actions such as this cannot be condoned and act as a clear deterrent should any club seek to undertake poor conduct in the future."

In a statement, Leeds United said: "We accept that whilst we have not broken any specific rule, we have fallen short of the standard expected by the EFL.

"We apologise for acting in a way that has been judged culturally unacceptable in the English game and would like to thank Shaun Harvey and the EFL for the manner in which they conducted their investigations."

Leeds United have confirmed top goalscorer Kemar Roofe is facing a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The 26-year-old was hurt in the 2-1 Championship win over Swansea City on at Elland Road on Wednesday.

The club say Roofe damaged knee ligaments but would not put a time frame on his recovery.

"Roofe will now work hard with the medical team at Thorp Arch to return to action as quickly as possible," they said on Monday.

Roofe has scored 14 goals in 26 league games this season to help Marcelo Bielsa's side sustain a challenge for promotion.

They sit third in the table after 32 matches, two points behind leaders Norwich City, but with a game in hand.

Shaun Harvey will step down as chief executive of the English Football League (EFL) at the end of the season.

The organisation announced on Monday that Harvey will be leaving after nearly six years in the role.

"I am proud of what we have achieved since then, in what have not always been easy circumstances," he said in a statement published by the EFL.

"Consistently during my time, I have always looked to push boundaries to make the maximum positive impact for clubs, whether this be from a financial perspective or by generating value in another way. I have always held the view that the strength of the EFL, is its clubs and no club, or indeed individual, is bigger or more important than the collective or the EFL itself.

"After discussions with the board, we decided that the time is right for the EFL to now move in a different direction having concluded a number of commercial contracts that leave the league in a stable position. 

"I am happy to remain as CEO until after the play-offs, in order to conclude a number of outstanding matters that we are currently dealing with, after which I will move on to pastures new and hopefully make a positive difference elsewhere."

Debbie Jevans, interim chair of the EFL, said: "The EFL is in a strong position with a growing fan base throughout the world and Shaun deserves a lot of credit for this.

"Shaun and the board have agreed that the time is now right for a change of leadership and a new direction. We are pleased that Shaun has agreed to stay on until the end of the season."

Harvey is reported to have upset a number of Championship clubs after agreeing a new television rights deal that left some feeling undervalued and concerned that ticket sales would suffer due to the number of matches being broadcast.

He is the latest key figure to announce his departure in English football over the last year. Football Association chairman Martin Glenn is leaving in May, while the Premier League is yet to replace chief executive Richard Scudamore after Susanna Dinnage pulled out of taking the job in December.

 

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.

Norwich City reclaimed top spot in the Championship as they and Sheffield United romped to 4-0 victories on Saturday.

Teemu Pukki struck twice to help the Canaries move back ahead of Leeds United - who are not in action until next weekend - with a routine win away to Bolton Wanderers, while Gary Madine was at the double in the Blades' comfortable home triumph over Reading.

Fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom were also impressive in prevailing 2-0 at rivals Aston Villa, who are now winless in four matches.

Three draws elsewhere included a dramatic last-gasp derby equaliser for Sheffield Wednesday on the road against Rotherham United.

 

PUKKI POCKETS TWO MORE FOR CLINICAL CANARIES

Stunned 3-1 at Preston North End on Wednesday, Norwich bounced back by crushing relegation-threatened Bolton at the Macron Stadium.

Star striker Pukki bookended the scoring, tucking away the opener in the eighth minute and returning soon after half-time to complete his double. The Finn has now scored in six straight appearances and his league tally for the season of 23 is the most of any player in England's top four tiers.

Marco Stiepermann, who failed to convert a penalty at Deepdale on Wednesday, and Emiliano Buendia were on target in between to help the visitors move two points clear at the top despite Kenny McLean missing a penalty.

Bolton remain three points shy of safety and six ahead of bottom side Ipswich Town, who had Will Keane to thank for a 92nd-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at Portman Road.

 

FAST-STARTING BLADES HEADLINE SHEFFIELD SUCCESS

Kieron Freeman scored after 39 seconds to set the tone for Sheffield United's dominant display against a Reading side that arrived at Bramall Lane unbeaten in four.

On the back foot after conceding the division's fourth-fastest goal this term, Jose Gomes' men were blown away in the first half as striker Madine grabbed a brace to open up a three-goal advantage at the break.

John Fleck completed the rout four minutes after the interval with the Blades leapfrogging Yorkshire rivals Leeds into second on goal difference.

There was joy for Sheffield's other Championship side at New York Stadium thanks to Dominic Iorfa's goal in the 10th minute of added time in a 2-2 draw with Rotherham.

The match was paused in the second half after a clash of heads left Jordan Thorniley requiring attention, and Steve Bruce's side also lost Fernando Forestieri to a second yellow card as a result of his attempt to high-five a fan during the exuberant celebrations that followed Iorfa's equaliser.

 

STRUGGLING VILLA SUNK AT HOME BY BAGGIES

Two goals in four first-half minutes helped West Brom see off an out-of-sorts Villa and stay firmly in the frame for an automatic promotion spot.

Hal Robson-Kanu headed home Mason Holgate's cross in the 41st minute and the visitors' advantage was quickly doubled when Jay Rodriguez fired in off the post.

While the Baggies are within four points of second, 10th-place Villa continue to falter in their bid to claim a play-off place.

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