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 and Leeds United dominate this season's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Championship Team of the Year, providing three players each.

Leaders Norwich, who are all but guaranteed to seal automatic promotion to the Premier League, have Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis included.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki, the league's top scorer with 28 Championship goals this season, is up front alongside Sheffield United's Billy Sharp and Tammy Abraham, who has hit 25 league goals for Aston Villa in his loan spell from Chelsea.

Sheffield United, second in the table and three points clear of Leeds with two games to go, also provide Oliver Norwood among the midfielders, while Villa playmaker Jack Grealish makes the cut.

Despite an untimely loss of form seeming set to land them in the play-offs, Leeds have defensive duo Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson both in the side, along with Pablo Hernandez.

The only player named in the PFA's XI who does not feature for one of the Championship's top three or fifth-placed Villa is the goalkeeper, Darren Randolph, who plies his trade at play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough.

West Brom strike pair Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle, who have scored 21 and 23 Championship goals respectively this season, are among the players to miss out.

There was also no place for Brentford's Neal Maupay, second behind Pukki in the scoring charts, or his team-mate Said Benrahma, whose 14 Championship assists is a league-high.

Birmingham City's Che Adams was named on the three-man shortlist for Championship's Player of the Season award, which was won by Pukki, but he did not gain selection despite netting 22 league goals.


PFA Championship Team of the Year in full:

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough); Max Aarons (Norwich), Liam Cooper (Leeds), Pontus Jansson (Leeds), Jamal Lewis (Norwich); Pablo Hernandez (Leeds), Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa); Teemu Pukki (Norwich), Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa), Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

Teemu Pukki scored a late equaliser as Norwich City dropped points for the second Championship game in a row, the leaders drawing 1-1 away to Wigan Athletic to give Leeds United and Sheffield United hope in the promotion race.

The Canaries were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Reading in midweek and they slipped up again at the DW Stadium on Sunday, where Reece James scored the opener with a contentious penalty.

Ben Godfrey was penalised for handball on the stroke of half-time, even though Sam Morsy's shot rebounded off the defender's leg on to his arm.

James beat Tim Krul with the resulting penalty to set up a potential shock, and the Norwich goalkeeper then made a superb save to deny Leon Clarke midway through the second half.

But Norwich levelled in the 81st minute when Pukki, crowned the Championship Player of the Season on Monday, was slipped through on goal by Kenny McLean to slot home his 27th league goal of 2018-19.

Norwich could not force a winner despite eight added minutes, though, and it was instead Wigan who had the ball in the net, Clarke having a header ruled out for a marginal offside during the extended injury time.

With four games to go, Daniel Farke's men are four points clear of Leeds, with Sheffield United - who drew at home to Millwall this weekend after conceding in added time - a further three back.

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.

Teemu Pukki scored a brace to take his Championship goal tally to 20 for the season as Norwich City returned to the top of the table following a heated 3-0 win over local rivals Ipswich Town at Carrow Road on Sunday.

The Finnish forward furthered his reputation as one of English football's signings of 2018-19 with a display of clinical finishing in the second half of a game in which Onel Hernandez gave Norwich an early lead.

Tempers flared throughout a fractious derby that saw Ipswich boss and former Canaries manager Paul Lambert sent to the stands, but the gulf in quality between the two sides was always evident.

While Ipswich remain rooted to the foot of the table, Norwich capitalised on draws for Leeds United and Sheffield United earlier in the weekend and moved two points clear at the summit and five ahead of the Blades in third.

Hernandez opened the scoring inside two minutes, connecting with Mario Vrancic's header across the face of goal and slotting the ball home while Ipswich's defenders floundered.

Lambert had to be restrained by a police officer when he was sent off along with Norwich head of performance Chris Domogalla after a tackle by Jon Nolan on Maximillian Aarons led to an altercation on the touchline moments before the interval.

The second half was 20 minutes old when a defensive error by Matthew Pennington allowed Emiliano Buendia to break through the middle and feed Pukki, who sent a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Pukki thought he had made it three when he headed home from Marco Stiepermann's flick at a corner, only to see the effort ruled out for offside.

But the third goal arrived when Buendia once again carved Ipswich open and played Pukki into the box, where he slid the ball under the body of Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Norwich City moved back into the Championship's top two with a 3-1 victory over play-off hopefuls Birmingham City at Carrow Road on Friday.

Title challengers Leeds United and Norwich City lost at home as the last day of Championship action in 2018 left the top six tantalisingly tight.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds team went into their clash with Hull City on the back of seven consecutive wins but goals either side of half-time from Jarrod Bowen earned the Tigers a deserved victory at Elland Road.

Norwich might have hoped for a quieter afternoon following their dramatic 3-3 draw with Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day, but they were involved in another feast of goals as Jack Marriott's stoppage-time strike gave Derby County a 4-3 win at Carrow Road.

Elsewhere there were victories for Middlesbrough, who beat Ipswich Town 2-0, and Sheffield United, who cruised to a 3-0 triumph over Blackburn Rovers.

The pressure on Forest manager Aitor Karanka ramped up after his side slipped to 1-0 defeat at Millwall, while Bristol City moved towards the top six by overcoming Rotherham United 1-0.

 

MARRIOTT CHIP SETTLES CARROW ROAD CLASSIC

Having come back from three goals down to snatch a draw against Forest, Daniel Farke's Norwich raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 31 minutes against Derby courtesy of strikes by Ben Godfrey and Teemu Pukki.

But Derby drew level before the interval through goals from Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount, teeing up a thrilling second half between two of the Championship's best attacking sides.

Pukki pounced on a scuffed Onel Hernandez shot to restore Norwich's lead before a floodlight failure delayed the match by 20 minutes.

When the lights came back on, Derby's Florian Jozefzoon scored from close range to restore parity and Marriott chipped City goalkeeper Tim Krul at the death to seal a first win in four for Frank Lampard's men.

BOWEN BAGS BRACE AGAINST SLOPPY WHITES

Leeds' recent habit of coming from behind to win ended abruptly as they failed to bounce back from two Bowen goals and suffered their first Championship defeat since November.

Nigel Adkins' side poured forward from the outset and the hosts' defence, still missing captain Liam Cooper, was lost at sea as Bowen swept home Hull's first after 25 minutes.

The Tigers sat back and absorbed waves of pressure before a fast break in the second half saw Leeds goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell parry the ball straight to the feet of Bowen, who smashed home.

Leeds rallied late on - substitute Tyler Roberts giving them a lift - but when the full-time whistle blew they looked very much like a side that had run out of steam following an impressive run of form.

LIONS CRANK UP THE HEAT ON KARANKA

Ryan Tunnicliffe's second goal of the season clinched back-to-back victories for Millwall, who beat Forest 1-0 at The Den and left their visitors winless in five matches.

Forest are 10th in the Championship but the impressive form that saw them lose only twice in the league before December has given way to a torrid sequence.

Tunnicliffe scored with an overhead kick after nine minutes, before Millwall keeper Jordan Archer made a good save from Joe Lolley to secure three valuable points for the Lions in their bid to move away from the relegation zone.

Teemu Pukki's 86th-minute winner against Blackburn Rovers sent Norwich City back to the top of the Championship on Saturday, while QPR triumphed 1-0 at Nottingham Forest to end the longest away hoodoo in English football.

Norwich looked set to endure frustration at Ewood Park, but Pukki's late strike - one of countless late goals for the Canaries this term - earned a 1-0 win and ensured they moved two points ahead of Leeds United, who host Aston Villa on Sunday.

West Brom kept up the pressure on the top two with a resounding 4-0 win at Rotherham United as Dwight Gayle scored a hat-trick, yet fellow promotion chasers Derby County and Sheffield United were each held to draws - enabling Middlesbrough to move fourth with a 1-0 win at Reading - who appointed Jose Gomes as Paul Clement's replacement after the final whistle.

QPR's victory at the City Ground, secured by Toni Leistner's 45th-minute goal, represented a landmark success. Rangers had never previously won in 34 visits to Forest - the longest run without ever winning away at an opponent in all English competitions.

A day after parting company with Jos Luhukay, Sheffield Wednesday won 1-0 at home to Preston North End, who had Ben Pearson sent off after just 26 minutes.

 

MORE PERFECT PUKKI TIMING

In recent weeks, Pukki has scored a dramatic injury-time clincher against Millwall, a game-sealing third goal versus Rotherham with six minutes remaining and another last-gasp winner to sink Bolton Wanderers.

The Finland international once again came up with the goods late on at Blackburn, tapping home an Onel Hernandez cross to secure a precious three points.

RAMPANT BAGGIES BRING UP HALF-CENTURY

Third-placed West Brom are comfortably the highest scorers in the division and took their tally to 50 at New York Stadium.

Gayle was the star of the show, grabbing a treble inside 54 minutes to take his tally for the season to 13, while Harvey Barnes was also on target.

A miserable afternoon for Rotherham, who remain three points above the relegation zone, was summed up by Ryan Manning hitting the post with a 76th-minute penalty.

Out-of-form Wigan Athletic also suffered a heavy defeat on Saturday, going down 3-0 at home to Birmingham City, who sit eighth.

 

IPSWICH EDGE CLOSER

The only team in the bottom five to pick up a point was Ipswich - the Championship's bottom side following up last week's win over Wigan with an impressive 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

Paul Lambert's men are now just four points from safety, with fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers and Millwall suffering respective defeats to Brentford and Stoke City.

Teemu Pukki scored his third goal in as many matches to give Norwich City a third consecutive Championship victory as Daniel Farke's men beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road. 

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