West Brom moved six points clear at the top of the Championship on a night where Fulham missed the chance to leapfrog Leeds United into second.

The Baggies had to come from behind to defeat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday, while Fulham settled for a 1-1 draw at Millwall that keeps them third.

Bristol City and Preston were also victors to boost their top-six hopes, while Cardiff City won comfortably at Huddersfield Town to sit four points adrift of the promotion spots.

At the bottom of the table, Luton Town defeated out-of-form Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 to haul themselves off the foot of the table.


BAGGIES BOINGING TOWARDS PROMOTION, FULHAM HELD

West Brom made hard work of it after Kyle Bartley's handball in the area was followed by George Puscas putting Reading in front from the penalty spot.

But Matheus Pereira levelled on the rebound having seen his 26th-minute volley saved and Bartley went from zero-to-hero with a looping header shortly after Callum Robinson hit the crossbar.

Fulham had the chance to overtake Leeds, held by Brentford on Tuesday, and things looked promising when Aleksandar Mitrovic met Joe Bryan's curling delivery on the slide after three minutes.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson poked home the equaliser for Millwall four minutes later despite seemingly being offside and Fulham were handed a reprieve when Jed Wallace whacked a 12th-minute penalty against the bar.


PRESTON, ROBINS IN THE HUNT

Bristol City nervily held on to beat Derby County 3-2 having raced into a three-goal lead after 58 minutes.

Nahki Wells and Filip Benkovic scored their first goals for the Robins and Famara Diedhiou extended the lead in the second half.

Martyn Waghorn and Chris Martin reduced the arrears, but Derby's comeback proved too little too late at Ashton Gate.

It was a more straight-forward evening for Preston, above Bristol City on goal difference alone, as Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen earned a 2-0 win at Stoke City, who are just four points above the drop.


HATTERS PILE MISERY ON MONK

Wednesday lost for the sixth time in nine Championship outings as Luton earned a huge win in their relegation dogfight.

The Owls conceded a penalty after just 15 seconds only for James Collins to fire his spot-kick against the crossbar.

But lax defending from Dominic Iorfa allowed Collins to make up for that miss as he added the finishing touch into an unguarded goal from Harry Cornick's lay-off in the 23rd minute to sink the sorry Owls.

Huddersfield remain in trouble after being turned over 3-0 at home by Cardiff, who remain in the play-offs hunt.

Josh Murphy, Will Vaulks and Callum Paterson were all on target for the Bluebirds.

West Brom returned to the top of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Luton Town after Leeds slumped to another stunning home defeat against struggling Wigan Athletic.

Leeds started their clash with third-bottom Wigan holding a two-point lead at the summit, but a Pablo Hernandez own goal was enough for Wigan to pull off a repeat of their victory at Elland Road last season.

A Donervon Daniels own goal and Semi Ajayi's header moved Albion a point clear of Leeds, while Fulham are just three points adrift of Marcelo Bielsa's men following their 3-2 defeat of Huddersfield Town.

Just six points separate the top six following wins for Brentford and Bristol City, with Nottingham Forest slipping to fourth after they went down 2-1 at Birmingham City.

Charlton Athletic's 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley moved them four points clear of the relegation zone. 

Preston North End were held to a 1-1 home draw Swansea City, while it was also all square in the encounters between Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall and Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers.

DEJA VU AT ELLAND ROAD FOR TOOTHLESS LEEDS

Leeds mounted a storming fightback to beat Millwall in midweek and a home encounter with Wigan appeared to be a great opportunity to build on what was their first win in four league matches.

Yet Wigan inflicted a costly 2-1 defeat late in the Yorkshire club's bid for automatic promotion last year and Paul Cook's side headed back to Lancashire with three precious points again this time around.

Joe Williams' corner deflected off Hernandez and into the net just before the hour-mark and wasteful Leeds were unable to respond, slumping to a third loss in four.

BAGGIES RESPOND, FIVE-STAR BEES THUMP HULL

West Brom were beaten at Cardiff on Tuesday after losing their previous Championship encounter with Stoke City, but there was no slip-up against bottom side Luton at The Hawthorns.

Brentford had failed to score in their previous three matches in all competitions, but Said Benrahma scored a hat-trick as they thrashed Hull City 5-1 at the KC Stadium to move four points behind Leeds.

All five goals came in the first half of Fulham's 3-2 victory over Huddersfield, while Bristol City have won four in a row in the league without conceding following a 1-0 success at QPR.

CHARLTON CLAIM PRECIOUS RARE WIN

Only a second Championship win in 18 games moved Charlton above Stoke, hammered by Derby County on Friday, and Huddersfield.

Lyle Taylor and Andre Green were on target for the Addicks, leaving Barnsley seven points behind a Stoke side sitting just above the bottom three.

Pep Guardiola has accepted he made a "mistake" when questioning why Manchester City fans did not fill the Etihad Stadium for their last home game.

City's treble-winning boss faced a rare backlash from his own club's supporters following Sunday's FA Cup tie against Fulham, having spoken of his surprise at the 39,223 attendance.

The clash with Manchester United in Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final second leg is expected to be much closer to the 55,000 capacity.

Speaking about City fans after the 4-0 win over Fulham, Guardiola said that "hopefully they will support us more" in the United game.

However, some responded by quickly pointing to a recent heavy load of fixtures, and the cost of attending every game, and their stance has prompted Guardiola to reflect on his comments.

The former Barcelona head coach said he had not realised the match was televised live by the BBC, with the terrestrial coverage a likely factor in the below-average crowd figure.

"Never was it my intention to offend them, they are part of us," he told a news conference on Tuesday when discussing the fans' reaction.

"Since I arrived here from day one until the last day, what I want is to fight and play as well as possible to see the Etihad full every single day, every single day.

"So it belongs to us to play well, to seduce them to come. The only reason why we do our job is not for the titles, it's to go to the Etihad Stadium and see it absolutely full and the people together, enjoying the games together."

A number of City fans have stressed it is not the team's performance level, but instead the expense involved in buying tickets and getting to games, that means they may sometimes stay away.

Guardiola stressed he understood their situation, saying: "It's not necessary to tell me because I was part of that when I was a little boy with mum and dad. I know exactly what happens."

And he looked to explain his weekend remarks by pointing to how significant a game he considered the Fulham fixture - saying he felt the FA Cup held more appeal to City than European glory.

"Since I've arrived here, I learned from English football how important the Premier League and the FA Cup are - more important to this club than the Champions League... much, much more," Guardiola said.

"We knew it through the club and I experienced it.

"It was my mistake: I thought it's Sunday, one o'clock, today it will be full. I didn't know it was on BBC One, not Sky."

Guardiola still wants to see City's home full for every game.

He said: "We tried to do our best to let them be proud for our team, and I will try it again to push them to be with us as much as possible.

"If it's possible to be every game full, full, full, it would be better."

Pep Guardiola quickly turned his focus towards Manchester United after Manchester City thrashed Fulham 4-0 in the FA Cup fourth round.

The game as a contest was effectively over inside the opening eight minutes, with visiting captain Tim Ream dismissed for a foul on Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan converting the consequent penalty.

Bernardo Silva doubled the hosts' and holders' advantage before the interval at the Etihad Stadium, with Jesus' quickfire second-half double putting the gloss on things.

Next up for City is the visit of bitter rivals United in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, with Guardiola's side boasting a 3-1 aggregate lead.

Reflecting initially on the clash with Championship promotion hopefuls Fulham, Guardiola said: "For a few moments, I thought it would be a tough game.

"They're a team with a lot of courage but it was a bit different after the red card. They still tried to play but the game was over at 3-0.

"The determination was always there and we will fight to win each competition.

"Always we score goals and have the ability to score. The problem this season has been conceding some goals, but it's always good to score goals."

Casting his mind ahead to Wednesday's derby, he added: "Next is United and a chance to get to the final and that is our next target."

Fulham boss Scott Parker conceded his side's hopes of an upset were dashed by Ream's moment of madness, the skipper left "devastated" by his curtailed afternoon.

"Everything we planned for we had to change after six minutes because of the red card," he told BBC Sport.

"Tim Ream is obviously devastated. He has been immense for us this season. He made a mistake today. In the heat of the moment, you make decisions and sometimes you make the wrong ones."

Manchester City breezed through to the FA Cup fifth round with a 4-0 win over 10-man Fulham at Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola made eight changes from the Premier League win at Sheffield United, but the promotion-chasing visitors never threatened to loosen City's grip on the trophy they won emphatically with a 6-0 Wembley triumph over Watford in May.

Fulham's task, already sizeable, was made practically impossible by the early dismissal of captain Tim Ream as he hauled Gabriel Jesus down for a penalty converted by Ilkay Gundogan.

Bernardo Silva doubled the hosts' lead before the break in the first meeting between the sides in this competition since 1914.

The London club may wish to leave it another 106 years before their next clash with City, who added another two with a quickfire second-half double from Jesus.

Any hopes Fulham had of springing a shock were dashed after six minutes, Ream pulling down Jesus and Gundogan confidently slotting in the spot-kick.

City naturally dominated and ​Riyad Mahrez showed great feet before his low shot drew a smart stop from Marek Rodak, while Phil Foden thrashed wide at the end of a swift counter-attack. 

The second soon arrived, Silva twisting and turning on the edge of the box before beating Rodak low to his left to bring up City's 100th goal in all competitions this season.

Raheem Sterling replaced Mahrez eight minutes after the restart and the England star clipped the top of the crossbar with his first attempt at goal. 

Scott Parker's side, who beat Aston Villa in the previous round, sat deep and were compact, making it difficult for City to break them down, but their second-half resistance was ended in the 72nd minute by Jesus' header from Joao Cancelo's cross.

The Brazil striker was then in the right place to nod in the fourth three minutes later after Phil Foden's shot was parried into his path.

 

What does it mean? Cup silverware the tonic for top-flight woes

The title race is now in fact a Liverpool procession, leaving cup silverware as the main goal for Guardiola's side, who should at least be confident of claiming second in the Premier League. With an FA Cup fifth-round spot secured and an EFL Cup final berth likely, what price a City treble, as Real Madrid await in the Champions League?

Patient Jesus gets his reward

After missing a penalty against Sheffield United, Jesus was replaced by Sergio Aguero, who promptly scored the winner. He assuaged any lingering frustration from that goalless outing by producing a patient and, ultimately, clinical display to net with both of his efforts on target.

Nightmare for Ream

Parker is likely to have stressed the importance of keeping it tight early on, holding City at bay and frustrating the home fans. Skipper Ream was quick to thwart those plans, his clumsy foul bringing a deserved red card – his first in 306 appearances in English football – and leaving Fulham to face a long afternoon of toil without reward.

What's next?

City host Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday, boasting a 3-1 aggregate lead, with a trip to Tottenham in the Premier League to come next Sunday. Fulham return to the bread and butter of the Championship with the visit of Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola does not appear overly concerned by the prospect of Liverpool shattering Manchester City's Premier League benchmarks, saying: "Records are there to be broken".

City have won the Premier League under Guardiola in the past two seasons and, while they were pushed all the way by Liverpool last term, the 2017-18 success was similar to the Reds' current tilt in its dominance.

Guardiola's side finished on a record 100 points, yet Liverpool have dropped only two points all season and look on course to surpass that total, while also troubling Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten run from 2003-04.

Asked about the prospect of Liverpool claiming such records ahead of City's FA Cup tie against Fulham, Guardiola said: "Yes, it can happen.

"Records are there to be broken. We broke it when someone said we couldn't, and sooner or later it will be broken again. History speaks clearly about that.

"To beat Liverpool? It is not easy. They have found a way to win games."

City welcomed back Aymeric Laporte for the first time since his August knee injury in midweek, playing 78 minutes against Sheffield United in the Premier League.

Guardiola is delighted to be able to call on his star centre-back once more but again stated Laporte will not fix all of City's problems.

"He was good [against Sheffield United]," Guardiola said. "He played a little bit more than 70 minutes for the first game.

"He played well, but he is not going to solve all the problems that we have. He is one more player that we have, and if we believe can use him, we will use him.

"He's a guy who helps us to do our build-up easier, and when that happens, we lose less balls, we concede fewer counter-attacks and that's why we are more stable. Basically it is that.

"He is a guy who is strong in the air, is fast, and has a special personality. His attributes help us to become a better team."

Guardiola, who said City would not be training abroad during the upcoming mid-season break, preferring to stay at home, confirmed winger Leroy Sane is now the club's only injury absence.

The return of Laporte would appear to see teenage defenders Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis moved further down the pecking order, but Guardiola does not anticipate either player going out on loan.

"It is impossible, Eric Garcia is not going to move," he said. "Harwood-Bellis, we didn't speak about that, but no. I think he is going to stay until the end of the season.

"Maybe we need him for the second team. I don't know if he has offers. If there came an offer from the Premier League, maybe we could consider it for his development as a player."

Fulham missed the chance to move within a point of second-placed Leeds United as they were held to a goalless draw by Charlton Athletic, while fellow Championship promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest drew 1-1 at home to Reading.

Third-placed Fulham went into the game having won their previous two league matches by a solitary goal but failed to find a way past Charlton, who secured manager Lee Bowyer on a new three-year contract earlier in the day.

Joe Bryan went close to giving the Cottagers the lead when he connected with Tom Cairney's pass and flashed a shot narrowly wide of Dillon Phillips' goal midway through the first half.

Bowyer's men had chances of their own, and substitute Jonny Williams looked set to score the winner in a spell of late Addicks pressure until Cyrus Christie made a vital interception to keep the ball from reaching him at point-blank range.

Forest were unbeaten in five Championship games heading into their clash with Reading and looked set to make it five wins in six when Lewis Grabban scored his 16th league goal of the season.

The 32-year-old forward collected the ball after a scuffed shot from Sammy Ameobi at the back post and tucked the ball into an empty net, but the hosts' lead was short-lived - just as in the sides' previous 1-1 draw 11 days earlier.

Three minutes after Grabban's opener, Sam Baldock held the ball up on the edge of the Forest six-yard box and turned before unleashing a shot that beat Brice Samba for power.

The draw left Forest fourth, a point behind Fulham and four points outside the automatic promotion places, while Reading moved up to 15th.

Fulham moved to within four points of the Championship's automatic promotion places as Anthony Knockaert's early goal proved enough to see off Middlesbrough 1-0.

Scott Parker's side were dominant throughout at Craven Cottage, though wasteful finishing – in the absence of the injured Aleksandar Mitrovic – prevented them from adding to the lead, which Knockaert gave them when he tucked home Joe Bryan's sixth-minute cross.

Josh Onomah and Ivan Cavaleiro spurned great chances shortly after Knockeart's opener, though Boro almost levelled when Hayden Coulson's deflected cross hit the bar.

Denis Odoi had a goal disallowed for offside with 17 minutes remaining, yet Boro could not make the most of their good fortune as Fulham – at least temporarily – moved above London rivals Brentford into third.

Leeds United remain top of the Championship after a 1-1 draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns on Wednesday.

Semi Ajayi put the Baggies ahead in only the second minute but was unfortunate in deflecting Patrick Bamford's header into his own net to bring Leeds level.

The result means Marcelo Bielsa's side stay above West Brom on goal difference after 26 matches.

The earlier fixtures were largely a feast of goals as 2020 started in enthralling fashion, with Stoke City winning 5-2 at Huddersfield Town and QPR thrashing Cardiff City 6-1.

Brentford were big winners away to Bristol City, Nottingham Forest edged out Blackburn Rovers in a five-goal thriller and Wigan Athletic held on to win 3-2 at Birmingham City.

Fulham's promotion bid suffered another setback with a 2-1 loss to Reading, Middlesbrough made it back-to-back away victories and Hull City snatched three points at Sheffield Wednesday.

In the first game of the new decade, Millwall came from behind to beat Luton Town 3-1 and climb into the top six.

BAGGIES MISS CHANCE TO GO TOP

Ajayi poked home after a penalty-box scramble to give West Brom an early lead against Leeds and Slaven Bilic's side were good value for their advantage in the first half.

Kiko Casilla did superbly to keep out Matheus Pereira's free-kick and then saved with his legs from Matt Phillips, who had been through on goal.

Leeds introduced Bamford at the break and it proved a crucial move, as the striker's header from Jack Harrison's cross deflected off Ajayi's shoulder and into the net.

Neither side could find a winner in the end-to-end closing minutes, meaning each are on 52 points, nine clear of the chasing pack.

 

SIX-GOAL SHOWDOWNS

Stoke dominated the first half at John Smith's Stadium but Sam Vokes' opener was forgotten when Steve Mounie and a Danny Batth own goal put the hosts ahead.

However, Stoke struck a further four times through Nick Powell, Lee Gregory and a Tyrese Campbell double in a game otherwise marred when a stadium announcement was required to warn against further alleged discriminatory chants aimed at James McClean.

QPR's victory was a more straightforward affair, as a Nahki Wells hat-trick inspired them to a 6-1 thrashing of Cardiff, who got a late consolation through Will Vaulks.

Cardiff stay 12th, though, given Bristol City were dispatched 4-0 at home by Brentford, Ollie Watkins making the points safe with a late double to send his side third.

MILLWALL INTO PLAY-OFF SPOTS

Sheffield Wednesday's loss at home to Hull meant Millwall's earlier 3-1 win over Luton, in which they trailed until the 69th minute, was enough to see them into the top six.

Nottingham Forest are up to fourth thanks to Lewis Grabban's two goals securing a 3-2 defeat of Blackburn Rovers, with Fulham slipping to fifth after John Swift and Charlie Adam consigned them to a fourth defeat in seven league games.

Preston's top-six chase was dealt a blow, though, as Rudy Gestede and a Ben Davies own goal gave Middlesbrough a fourth win in a row.

At the other end of the table, Wigan gave their survival bid a boost after they held onto a 3-2 win at Birmingham, Cedric Kipre's 73rd-minute goal proving the difference.

Leeds United overcame Birmingham City in a nine-goal thriller to move top of the Championship table as previous leaders West Brom suffered a shock home defeat to Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds benefited from an injury time own goal at St Andrew's, Wes Harding turning Luke Ayling's low cross into the net to settle a post-Christmas cracker.

The visitors had previously let slip a lead on three occasions during a see-saw contest, though by finding a late winner they leapfrog West Brom, who lost for just the second time in the league this season.

Fulham are up to third after a 1-0 triumph over Stoke City, with Brentford slipping back a spot in the standings after going down to Aiden O'Brien's eighth-minute goal at in-form Millwall.

Nottingham Forest moved up to fifth by beating bottom club Wigan Athletic, overtaking Sheffield Wednesday after the Owls went down 2-1 at home to Cardiff City. Preston North End also slipped up, beaten 2-0 at home by Reading. 

Elsewhere, Bristol City eased past Luton Town, Steve Mounie was the hero for Huddersfield Town in a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers and Hull City won by the same scoreline at QPR. Swansea City's meeting with Barnsley, meanwhile, ended in stalemate, the only goalless draw on a busy day in England's second tier.

 

LEEDS LEAVE IT LATE

There was no sign of the drama to come when Leeds moved into a 2-0 first-half lead, Helder Costa and Jack Harrison getting the goals.

However, Birmingham would continuously peg their high-flying opponents back. Lukas Jutkiewicz was on target twice for the hosts in the second half, including netting a stoppage-time equaliser that seemed certain to see the game finish at 4-4.

Yet full-back Ayling – who had put his team 3-2 up with a sensational long-range strike – made one final, telling contribution to proceedings, his run and cross from the right resulting in Harding's own goal.

 

FLETCHER FLATTENS BAGGIES

Middlesbrough recorded their first away win under Jonathan Woodgate as they upset the odds against promotion-chasing West Brom.

Centre-back Daniel Ayala put the visitors in front in the 17th minute and they defended stoutly until doubling their advantage in stunning fashion deep into stoppage time.

Ashley Fletcher opted to take aim from distance when a throw-in reached him midway inside the West Brom half, the forward smashing the ball over the head of Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone to wrap up all three points and end Woodgate's wait for success on the road.

 

TOUGH FINISH TO 2019 FOR STRUGGLERS

It was a good day for Derby County – and they did not even play. The lowly Rams face Charlton Athletic on Monday but only one team – Barnsley, who kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Swansea – managed to close the gap on them at the foot of the table.

Wigan could have climbed off the bottom had they avoided defeat at Nottingham Forest, who took the lead through Tobias Figueiredo on the hour.

However, Forest needed a fine penalty save from Brice Samba – who guessed correctly to turn away Josh Windass' spot kick – to preserve their narrow advantage through to the final whistle, meaning Wigan will welcome in 2020 at the foot of the standings.

West Brom and Leeds remain separated by three points in the Championship's automatic promotion places after each being held to draws on Boxing Day.

Leeds needed an 89th-minute equaliser from Stuart Dallas to earn a 1-1 draw at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Preston North End, while West Brom conceded in the 90th minute to share the same scoreline with Barnsley.

Brentford, 3-1 victors over Swansea City, were the only winners in the top six as Fulham came from behind three times in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Luton Town and Sheffield Wednesday conceded twice in stoppage time to lose 3-2 at Stoke City.

There was also late drama at Wigan Athletic, with Derby County's Martyn Waghorn snatching a 1-1 draw against the division's bottom side.

 

THREE DRAWS OUT OF FOUR FOR BAGGIES

Filip Krovinovic capitalised on a poor clearance from Barnsley goalkeeper Samuel Sahin-Radlinger to give West Brom a fifth-minute lead at Oakwell but Aapo Halme converted Conor Chaplin's cross from close range to earn a point.

West Brom extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches – the longest sequence since 1901-02.

Any designs Leeds had on trimming the gap at the top were compromised by Alan Browne giving Preston the lead midway through the first half at Elland Road.

Mounting second-half pressure finally told but after winning seven consecutive games from the start of November, Marcelo Bielsa's men are now winless in three.

Brentford are eight points further back in third, with Ollie Watkins helping himself to a brace in their fifth successive victory at Griffin Park.

DRAMA AT THE BOTTOM

Along with Barnsley, all of the bottom four claimed positive results – most notably Stoke.

James McClean gave Michael O'Neill's Stoke an early lead but Morgan Fox and Tom Lees converted second-half corners to suggest further misery for the Potters.

Tyrese Campbell had other ideas, however, netting an acrobatic volley before Sam Vokes scrambled home in the 97th minute to lift Stoke off the foot of the table.

Waghorn scored Derby's first goal in seven Championship away games to cancel out Joe Garner's opener and leave Wigan bottom.

Fulham are fifth and one of three teams on 39 points after a remarkable contest at Kenilworth Road, where Bobby Decordova-Reid's second of the game in the fourth minute of injury time ensured a share of the spoils.

BONNE ENDS CHARLTON'S VICTORY WAIT

Macauley Bonne hit a brace and set up Alfie Doughty's winner as Charlton Athletic overcame Bristol City 3-2 – their first victory in 12 games.

Middlesbrough and Reading were two other teams moving clear of trouble thanks to respective 1-0 wins at home to Huddersfield Town and Queens Park Rangers.

Blackburn Rovers were unable to close on Preston in the final play-off spot as they shared a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City, while Cardiff City and Millwall did likewise to remain on 34 points apiece.

Lewis Grabban scored both goals in Nottingham Forest's 2-0 victory at Hull City.

Josh Onomah scored the winner as Fulham boosted their hopes of making a push for automatic promotion in the second half of the Championship season with a 2-1 victory over second-placed Leeds United at Craven Cottage.

On a day when leaders West Brom were held to a 1-1 draw by Brentford, Fulham ended a three-match losing streak and moved back up to third, nine points behind Leeds, courtesy of their triumph.

Scott Parker's men could be overtaken by Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday if the Owls beat Bristol City, but victory over high-flying Leeds nevertheless represents a significant boost.

At the other end of the table, Barnsley climbed off the bottom with a first away win of the season, thanks to a 94th-minute winner from Patrick Schmidt at Millwall, while Derby County's disappointing campaign continued as they had Scott Malone sent off after four minutes and conceded two penalties in a 3-0 defeat at Reading.

 

TOP TWO DROP POINTS BUT STILL CLEAR AT CHRISTMAS

West Brom and Leeds may have both dropped points on Saturday, but they remain firmly on course to finish as the top two.

The table-topping Baggies are three points clear of Leeds and 12 ahead of Fulham after Darnell Furlong took just three minutes to cancel out Henrik Dalsgaard's opener for Brentford at The Hawthorns.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was predictably prominent in Fulham's victory. The Championship's top scorer converted an early penalty before Patrick Bamford pulled Leeds level. Onomah's decisive goal then came on the rebound after an attempted overhead kick from Mitrovic had been blocked. 

Preston North End sit fourth after drawing 0-0 at Cardiff City in the day's early kick-off.

 

BARNSLEY REVIVAL CONTINUES

After beating QPR 5-3 last weekend, Barnsley made it back-to-back wins thanks to Schmidt's injury-time header at Millwall. 

The Yorkshire club have leapfrogged Stoke City and Wigan Athletic at the foot of the table, although the latter could jump from 24th to 21st by beating Blackburn Rovers on Monday.

 

NO MALONE AT CHRISTMAS! RAMS SCUPPERED BY SCOTT'S EARLY RED

Derby have not won away since the opening week of the season and their hopes of ending that dismal run were swiftly dented at Reading when Malone was dismissed for bringing down Yakou Meite as the last man inside four minutes.

Charlie Adam converted the penalty, Lucas Joao added a second for Reading after the break and Meite converted a late penalty of his own on a miserable day for the Rams, who sit seven points above the bottom three in 17th.

Elsewhere, Swansea City snuck into the top six with a 1-0 win at Luton Town, Hull City thumped Birmingham City 3-0 and Huddersfield Town beat slumping Nottingham Forest 2-1 in a contest that saw managers Danny Cowley and Sabri Lamouchi involved in a furious confrontation. Naby Sarr's 95th-minute goal rescued a 2-2 draw for Charlton Athletic at QPR.

West Brom sit at the top of the Championship after Charlie Austin's double helped them to a 3-2 win over Birmingham City in Saturday’s early game.

Leeds United looked set to reclaim first place later in the day but threw away a three-goal lead at home to Cardiff City to draw 3-3.

Preston North End are now 10 points behind Marcelo Bielsa's side after a 2-1 win over Luton Town, while Brentford leapfrogged Fulham into fourth with a slender 1-0 win.

At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Barnsley registered a remarkable 5-3 win over QPR but Middlesbrough slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea City.

 

AUSTIN INSPIRES BAGGIES COMEBACK

Charlie Austin took his tally for the season to eight with a brace to help West Brom record a vital win at Birmingham City.

Slaven Bilic's side looked set for a first defeat in 12 league games after Lukas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean had scored either side of Grady Diangana's goal.

Austin drew his side level three minutes after being introduced, though, when he flicked up Jake Livermore's pass and rifled a half-volley past Connal Trueman.

The 30-year-old sealed all three points nine minutes from time, powering home Darnell Furlong's cross with his head.

LEEDS CAPITULATE AGAINST BLUEBIRDS

Leeds conceded three goals inside the final 30 minutes to miss the opportunity to quickly reclaim top spot from the Baggies.

Helder Costa gave the hosts a wonderful start at Elland Road, scoring after six minutes, before Patrick Bamford struck twice to open up a commanding lead.

However, Lee Tomlin gave the Bluebirds hope with a goal on the hour mark to spark an unexpected comeback.

Sean Morrison added another with eight minutes remaining, before receiving his marching orders four minutes later for a late tackle.

Their numerical disadvantage did not daunt the visitors, however, as Robert Glatzel struck with two minutes remaining.

STOCKLEY FIRES PRESTON INTO THIRD

Jayden Stockley scored with six minutes remaining to help Preston beat Luton and climb to third in the table.

Paul Gallagher opened the scoring early on, slotting home after his penalty had been saved, before James Collins levelled from the spot.

Brentford, meanwhile, are a point behind Preston in fourth after Bryan Mbeumo scored the only goal of the game against Fulham.

Sheffield Wednesday are level on points with the Bees, the Owls cruising to a resounding 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Jordan Rhodes.

CHAPLIN TREBLE LIFTS CLOUDS OVER BARNSLEY

Barnsley moved to within four points of safety as Conor Chaplin's hat-trick helped them to a stunning win over QPR at Oakwell.

Cauley Woodrow and Bambo Diaby were also on target in what was only the Tykes' third league win of the campaign.

Fellow strugglers Stoke City and Wigan Athletic were held to 0-0 and 1-1 draws by Reading and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Andre Ayew scored twice in Swansea's comfortable win over Middlesbrough, while Bradley Johnson and Adam Armstrong helped Blackburn Rovers to a 2-0 triumph at Bristol City.

Leeds United put pressure on West Brom in the Championship, displacing them at the top of the table thanks to a 2-0 win over Hull City at Elland Road on Tuesday.

With West Brom not in action until a trip to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, Leeds moved a point clear of Slaven Bilic's side with a seventh victory in succession.

The top two were boosted by Bristol City losing 2-1 at home to Millwall and Preston North End handing Fulham a 2-1 defeat at Deepdale.

Nottingham Forest were unable to take advantage as they were held by Middlesbrough at the City Ground, while Stoke City and Huddersfield Town earned much-needed triumphs in the battle against relegation.

 

Leeds take the lead

After a tame first half that did not see a single shot on target, Leeds finally took the lead against Hull when Jordy de Wijs turned Helder Costa's cross into his own net.

Kiko Casilla did brilliantly to keep out a header from Tom Eaves and Marcelo Bielsa's side instantly launched a counter-attack that ended with substitute Ezgjan Alioski finishing on the follow-up after Patrick Bamford hit the post.

 

Big wins at the bottom

Stoke claimed their first win in four Championship matches by beating Luton 3-0 at the bet365 Stadium.

James McClean seized the initiative for the hosts in the 35th minute and teed up Joe Allen for the second in first-half stoppage time.

Allen doubled his tally five minutes after the restart as Stoke moved above Wigan into 22nd place in the standings.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, are up to 19th following a 1-0 triumph at out-of-form Charlton Athletic.

Teenager Matty Daly struck his first senior goal in the 92nd minute of his fifth appearance for Huddersfield, ending their five-game winless run and leaving Charlton without a victory in nine.

 

Nugent ends wait to notch

Preston moved into the play-off places with an enthralling 2-1 victory over Fulham that saw both teams finish with 10 men.

Denis Odoi was sent off for an elbow on Patrick Bauer after Sean Maguire had put Preston ahead, but the hosts' numerical advantage was lost when Joe Rafferty saw red for a lunge on substitute Joe Bryan.

Nugent scored his first goal for Preston in 12 years after the restart, with Aleksandar Mitrovic's deflected long-range strike was not enough to stop Fulham falling to a second straight defeat.

Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the Championship with a 2-0 derby win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City all won at home to boost their play-off chances, while Bristol City earned a key victory away to Fulham.

Under-fire Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate saw his team collect a precious three points at home to Charlton Athletic and Stoke City's misery continued with a defeat at the KC Stadium.

West Brom, now second, can bounce back above Leeds when they host Swansea City on Sunday.


LEEDS MARCH ON 

Marcelo Bielsa's men have won six in a row, conceding just twice in that run, after easing to victory in a Yorkshire derby away to the struggling Terriers.

Second-half goals from Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez saw the new leaders continue their momentum against a THuddersfield team now without a win in five league games.

The play-off picture is still typically congested but Wednesday jumped to sixth spot thanks to a 2-1 home win against fellow hopefuls Brentford, who led at Hillsborough thanks to Bryan Mbeumo.

Steven Fletcher struck twice as Garry Monk's Owls came from behind to secure successive wins after their previous run of five Championship matches without a victory.

Preston North End dropped out of the top six after losing 2-0 away to QPR, for whom Eberechi Eze scored both goals.

JOHNSON'S CHARGES END FULHAM RUN

Fulham had won four straight league games but missed the chance to exert pressure on the top two as a late fightback was not enough to avoid a home defeat against Bristol City.

Goals from Josh Brownhill and Famara Diedhiou had Lee Johnson's men in control at Craven Cottage but substitute Aboubakar Kamara struck to set up a grandstand finish.

The Robins held firm despite nine added minutes being played and they moved fourth, level on points with third-placed Fulham, ahead of successive home games.

Lee Tomlin's injury-time goal earned Cardiff City a 3-2 win at home to rock-bottom Barnsley, the Bluebirds' third straight victory moving them up to eighth, only a point behind Wednesday.

A fourth consecutive win for Blackburn was secured by Adam Armstrong, a 1-0 defeat at Ewood Park meaning Derby County have taken only four points from their past five league games.

MUCH-NEEDED WIN FOR BORO

Middlesbrough are up to 19th, easing the pressure on hometown hero Woodgate, after a 1-0 win against Charlton at the Riverside.

George Saville scored with 52 seconds on the clock and Boro held on to secure back-to-back 1-0 home victories to move four points clear of the bottom three.

The big game in the battle for survival saw Luton Town host Wigan Athletic and it was Graeme Jones' side who came out on top, bouncing back from a 7-0 thrashing at Brentford last time out.

Wigan led through Kieffer Moore but a chaotic finale left the Latics in the bottom three, Callum McManaman levelling for Luton with three minutes of normal time to play.

Cheyenne Dunkley was shown a second yellow card in added time and the Hatters made the 10 men pay as George Moncur scored from a corner to complete a stunning late comeback.

Stoke slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Hull despite Sam Vokes opening the scoring, with Jarrod Bowen's brace taking his Championship tally to 14 for the season.

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