Cardiff completed a Severnside derby double over Bristol City by winning 1-0 at Ashton Gate.

Perry Ng’s 66th-minute header gave Cardiff back-to-back victories after going four without a win and took them above Bristol City in the Championship table.

Both teams kicked off knowing they were in need of a strong late-season flourish to force their way into the play-off picture.

There was little to choose between them over 90 minutes when clear-cut openings were rare.

But Cardiff lived up to the title of Championship set-piece kings by scoring a league-leading 17th goal from such a situation this season.

Bristol City had some good moments but they were often repelled by the head of Nat Phillips as the Liverpool central defender showed what an outstanding acquisition he has been since arriving on loan in January.

Cardiff’s 2-0 derby home win in October had signalled the end of Nigel Pearson’s Ashton Gate tenure and the eventual arrival of Liam Manning in the Robins’ hot seat.

On that occasion Rubin Colwill had lit up the Welsh capital with a stunning strike, but the Wales forward was kept on a tight leash this time.

A sedate opening sparked into life with the hosts having three penalty appeals rejected by referee Sam Allison.

Nahki Wells tumbled in the box after 11 minutes and handball claims after shots from Andy King and Taylor Gardner-Hickman were blocked in the same attack were waved away.

Mark Sykes tested Ethan Horvath for the first time after 20 minutes, with the ball striking the Cardiff goalkeeper squarely in the chest before the Bluebirds cleared.

Cardiff’s tactic appeared one of containment and counter and David Turnbull sent a tame effort wide after slick approach play from Josh Bowler.

Ng let fly from 25 yards to warm the hands of Robins’ goalkeeper Max O’Leary, with the Cardiff full-back soon in more familiar territory to snuff out Sykes.

Bowler was off-target after combining well with Turnbull, and the latter’s free-kick at the start of the second period provided comfortable catching practice for O’Leary.

Yakou Meite replaced the injured Kion Etete in the Cardiff attack and Ryan Wintle took over the captaincy from Joe Ralls.

The changes had a positive effect as Ollie Tanner, another substitute, won a corner and Ng rose highest for his sixth goal of the season and second against Bristol City.

Horvath protected Cardiff’s victory by producing a superb reflex stop to deny Rob Dickie with Tommy Conway’s follow-up effort ruled out for offside.

Kyle Walker-Peters’ stunning strike sent promotion-chasing Southampton to a 1-0 victory over Bristol City and extended their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to 10 matches.

Right-back Walker-Peters rifled in the winner from the edge of the box just after half-time.

It condemned Robins boss Liam Manning to his first defeat since replacing Nigel Pearson and saw Saints keep their first home clean sheet since March 4 – thanks partly to two stunning pieces of keeping from Gavin Bazunu.

Southampton spent the majority of the first half attempting to break down two well-disciplined banks of City players.

But found a few moments to warm a heavy-coat-clad St Mary’s crowd.

Kamaldeen Sulemana was the biggest threat with his burst of pace down the left but his finish in the seventh minute lacked the ferocity to beat goalkeeper Max O’Leary.

Top scorer Adam Armstrong had a shot blocked before curling over, while Tommy Conway headed over when unmarked at a corner at the other end.

The first time O’Leary was tested wasn’t until the 28th minute when Stuart Armstrong skidded a powerful shot at him. The initial effort was fumbled but the keeper quickly gathered.

City, who had mainly threatened on the break, had the best two chances of the first half but found Bazunu at his best in the Saints goal.

Firstly, the Ireland keeper brilliantly clawed Mark Sykes’ close-range header off the line before quickly coming off his line and diving at the feet of Conway in a one-versus-one.

Che Adams sliced a shot wide for the misfiring hosts but the fans saved their half-time ire for referee Keith Stroud having felt unfavoured by his decisions.

Saints have gathered a reputation of being slow after the interval but bucked that trend by scoring 109 seconds into the second half.

Adam Armstrong looked like he had run down a cul-de-sac but wriggled back down the right side of the box to find Walker-Peters. The right-back took the ball inside before curling into the top corner with his left foot for his second goal of the season.

Saints pushed for a second. Adam Armstrong bullied his way to a chance in the City box before Carlos Alcaraz bent wide in the 59th minute.

The same two attackers caused issues again seven minutes later, with O’Leary twice getting down low to keep his side in the match.

City thought they should have been awarded a penalty late on but Stroud disagreed that Taylor Harwood-Bellis had handled when sliding to block a cross.

QPR boss Marti Cifuentes insists he is “very confident” he will lead the club away from trouble in the Championship despite their winless run continuing with a goalless draw against Bristol City at Loftus Road.

City defended well in their first match under Liam Manning following his recent arrival from Oxford as successor to Nigel Pearson.

Cifuentes can take some encouragement from his team’s display in his first home game at the helm.

But the west London side have now gone 11 matches without a win, continue to struggle to create clear-cut chances and remain one off the bottom of the table, having won only once at home in more than a year.

Cifuentes has employed a radically different style of play to the route-one tactics of his predecessor Gareth Ainsworth, who presided over six consecutive defeats prior to his recent sacking.

QPR have returned to a passing style and Cifuentes is convinced that will pay off.

Cifuentes said: “There are mixed feelings. Unfortunately we couldn’t deliver the victory. It was not the result we wanted but I am looking forward to building the togetherness I saw today. I think we can be really strong in the future.

“Despite the result, my job is to make sure that we start to win games. I do think it’s a step in the right direction.

“I see a stable team and one that is striving to have a clear identity – how they want to play from the back and have the courage to pass the ball.

“The identity of the team is starting to show. I feel we are taking steps but we have to be critical and say it hasn’t been enough to win games.

“Over time I’m very confident that this style of play can give us the results we’re looking for,” said the Spaniard.

“I do think that we have the tools inside the squad to play the football we want to and I’m very confident that this will give us the results we want.”

Meanwhile, Manning also saw reasons to feel optimistic after seeing the Robins make a solid start to his reign.

“There was some really positive stuff,” Manning said.

“We’ve worked on our shape out of possession and we saw that come out. There were a lot of positives with the out-of-possession stuff.

“We didn’t concede a shot on target, so when you look from the defensive side of it there were a lot of good things.

“In possession, we know that can improve. But we finished the stronger side in the last 20 minutes and got in some terrific areas.

“It’s been a whirlwind week but I have to give the players a huge amount of credit for how they’ve adapted to the work we’ve asked them to do.

“A pleasing aspect is the clean sheet and also the behaviours you saw – there were people there who maxed out and were running on empty at the end.

“If we want to be the best team that we can be, then that’s going to be important.”

QPR and Bristol City played out a 0-0 draw at Loftus Road, highlighting that their new managers both have work to do.

City defended well in their first match under Liam Manning in a solid but unspectacular start to his reign following his recent arrival from Oxford as successor to Nigel Pearson.

QPR boss Marti Cifuentes will take some encouragement from his team’s display in his first home game at the helm.

But the west London side have now gone 11 matches without a win, continue to struggle to create clear-cut chances and remain one off the bottom of the Championship table, having won only once at home in more than a year.

Draws in his first two games represents a reasonable start for Cifuentes given that he inherited a team which had suffered six consecutive defeats, leading to the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth, but Rangers need to pick up wins soon.

They at least look less prone to defensive errors – a problem which constantly plagued them during Ainsworth’s troubled spell in charge.

QPR striker Lyndon Dykes had a couple of sights of goal in the first half, heading Kenneth Paal’s right-wing corner well over and seeing a shot blocked by Matty James following Paal’s free-kick.

The home side also appealed in vain for a penalty when Paul Smyth’s cross struck Zak Vyner’s arm.

City themselves had appeals for a penalty waved away after the interval when Paal appeared to handle the ball as he challenged Anis Mehmeti.

City then absorbed a period of QPR pressure in which Andre Dozzell shot over and Smyth fired wide of the near post after being found by Dykes.

Cifuentes sent on Sinclair Armstrong in place of Dykes in an attempt to break the deadlock – and the young striker caused City some problems with his pace and power, unsuccessfully appealing for a penalty after going down in the box under a challenge from Vyner.

But the Robins were largely comfortable as QPR, without suspended playmaker Ilias Chair, ran out of ideas in the final stages, with Elijah Dixon-Bonner slicing a shot wide after being teed up by fellow substitute Taylor Richards.

City threatened late on, with Mark Sykes causing problems for QPR on the right flank, but they lacked a cutting edge up front and the draw was very much a fair result.

Curtis Fleming admitted his future was uncertain after starting his spell as Bristol City’s interim head coach with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Sheffield Wednesday.

The Irishman stepped up to replace sacked manager Nigel Pearson, but has no intention of putting his name forward as a permanent replacement.

Rob Dickie’s close-range strike from Tommy Conway’s 64th-minute cross was enough to secure the points against opponents reduced to 10 men after 32 minutes when Barry Bannan was shown a straight red card for fouling Jason Knight on the edge of the box.

Fleming hailed it as “a huge win at the end of an emotional week” before admitting he had no idea what the future held for him.

“I am just taking things day by day,” he said. “I will enjoy a glass of beer tonight and then see what the club’s plans are going forward.

“If it proves my only game in charge, at least I will have a 100 per cent record!

“It has been a tough few days, losing friends who have left and trying to prepare the players for what we knew was going to be a massive game for us.

“You try to paint pictures for them in training, but those pictures can change when the lads are performing in front of 20,000 people.

“I tried to tweak a few things and some worked better than others. We can play better, but sometimes the result is more important than the performance.

“What I couldn’t fault was the effort of the players. The last five minutes seemed to go on forever. But in the end we have the three points and that’s great.

“It makes such a difference in a tightly-packed table. Now we can look forward positively to the next game.”

City should have gone two up after 72 minutes when Conway shot against a post and Sam Bell somehow contrived to hit the other upright from the rebound.

After that it took a brilliant Max O’Leary save from substitute Ashley Fletcher to prevent Wednesday from equalising.

Owls boss Danny Rohl said: “After the red card I saw a team on the pitch who were giving everything.

“I am so proud of them. We had three or four chances to equalise and deserved something from the game.

“I didn’t think Barry deserved his red card. It was a foul, but we had two defenders covering, so it was not a clear scoring chance.

“Bristol City are a strong side, who press high, but we feel a bit unlucky today.

“Things tend to go against you when you are at the wrong end of the table.

“Now we have to recover and move on. We know we need wins, but I saw so much to please me.

“In my short time at the club I have seen players with the right mentality for a fight.

“At the moment things are not going our way, but if we continue to create chances that will change.

“It’s about maintaining a belief and conviction that results will come and I am seeing that in training and matches.

“We have to keep working hard to reward our fans, who were fantastic today.”

Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson believes Jamie Vardy’s winning mentality at the latter stages of his career is something that should be recognised.

Vardy, 36, made sure there would be no celebration for Pearson, who made his first return to Leicester City since being sacked in 2015.

The Leicester striker scored from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, after Wilfred Ndidi had been brought down by Kai Naismith, to secure a 1-0 victory which put Enzo Maresca’s side back on top of the Championship table.

It was Pearson who started Vardy’s King Power career 11 years ago when he made the striker the first £1million non-league player, moving from Fleetwood Town in 2012.

Vardy was the only player left in Leicester’s starting line-up from Pearson’s spell in charge.

“Whatever people think of Jamie, to still have the winning mentality he has at this stage of his career, is something that we should acknowledge,” said Pearson.

“Players like that bring qualities and standards, which you need to nurture. So to still have Jamie Vardy at Leicester is going to be a very important factor.”

Despite the result, Pearson admitted he was touched by the reception he received at the King Power Stadium.

“I can’t deny I had tears in my eyes, because it’s really good to see people again,” said Pearson, who attended the game on crutches due to a back problem.

“It means a lot. My family were here, my dad too because he used to love coming here and then going out for a smoke at half-time!

“He’s 89, I’ve got my grandchildren as well. It was a big part of our lives and it’s very touching to receive the respect I got shown. A nice story, but we still lost.”

Leicester made it three wins in successive games with a seventh league victory of the season.

This was also the first time since last October they had recorded a clean sheet at home in a league game.

“We struggled to find a goal but I was absolutely not worried because since minute one we created chances,” said Maresca.

“It was a good win. The only thing I asked them for the second half was to continue in the same way because we were good in the first half, we just missed a goal.

“Continuing the way we were playing for sure we would create more chances, and we won the game. If we continue to play in the way we play today, it’s good.”

Maresca admitted he wanted to gee the home supporters up when Leicester were trying to break down the Robins’ defence.

“It was the moment where the team was making a big effort – we needed a plus,” he added.

“We needed a little bit more. The idea was not to convince the fans, but to get them more with us because it was the right momentum to score the goal. The fans were brilliant today.

“This win was especially important because after two wins away against two important teams, you cannot relax. But this was a tricky game so I am happy with the performance. The players showed how professional and how serious they are working.”

Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson watched Nakhi Wells score his first EFL goal since February – and then admitted he was unsure why he had not ended up with a brace during a 1-1 draw at Hull.

Wells levelled the scores just past the hour mark but earlier had been denied by a very delayed flag in first-half stoppage time, after Jason Knight’s deflected drive had fallen to him six yards from goal.

The Tigers had earlier forged in front courtesy of Ozan Tufan’s fourth goal of the season but a confused Pearson said: “From what we were told about the offside rule in pre-season to what I am seeing now during the season, there’s a bit of confusion and we need some clarification about what constitutes a deflection to somebody in an offside position.

“People in football were not asked their opinion about it and I’d just say offside is offside and that the assistant should put the flag up straight away, but that won’t happen.”

Pearson was happier with his players’ overall efforts, arguing that the same character is now needed in home matches and that Hull only ended up with a share of the spoils due to some heroic, last-ditch defending.

“Apart from 10 to 15 minutes in the first half when we didn’t get it right in terms of how we pressed, I thought we played very well and created lots of chances,” he claimed. “I saw bravery out there with players wanting the ball and doing positive things on the pitch.

“We need to see that character in home games now because people talk about coaching and training, but the most important day in the week is match day.

“Sometimes though, away from home, it’s more straightforward to go with a gameplan that’s not about entertaining and we were conceding more ground, but it was like springing a trap and we are very good at that. They also defended their goal with a lot of commitment and but for that, I think we would have won comfortably.”

Hull boss Liam Rosenior admitted his team did have their backs to the wall more than he would normally like.

“When you go a goal up at home and don’t get three points, you have to view it as two dropped,” he reasoned.

“I thought the first 25 minutes was exactly what I wanted. Then we were trying to score with every attack and it became a bit of a basketball match, which suited Bristol City.

“I think if we had carried on playing the way we were and keeping possession, we would have exhausted Bristol City of their oxygen.

“But I also have great respect for Nigel Pearson’s teams. They were winning the ball back and played with four up front and two full-backs high up the pitch, so they were playing really offensive football as well.

“I was delighted with how we were putting bodies on the line and defending long throws, but it was happening too often. We then regained control after they scored and I felt that we could have won the game, but we could have easily lost it as well because it was really open.”

Explaining his decision to substitute the Championship’s early-season top scorer Tufan, Rosenior added: “Ozan has been magnificent for us, but he has an issue away from football that I can’t go into and I thought he was mentally exhausted.”

Nigel Pearson confirmed Bristol City midfielder Alex Scott was speaking to Bournemouth after seeing his side reach the Carabao Cup second round.

The Robins thrashed Oxford 5-1 thanks to Jason Knight’s brace and goals from Harry Cornick, Nahki Wells and Kal Naismith.

Afterwards Pearson was asked to comment on reports that Scott had undergone a medical at Premier League club Bournemouth prior to big-money move.

He said: “The club has given Alex permission for that and I really don’t have anything more to say on it.”

Pressed on whether he had been planning without Scott for the campaign, Pearson added: “No, I have been planning to keep him.

“It’s nothing to do with me, it’s a club decision.

“I’m disappointed because we have a better chance of being successful if we keep our best players.”

On the game, which saw Billy Bodin equalise for Oxford before Knight’s double either side of half-time put City in charge, Pearson said: “I’m delighted for the players.

“One difference from our opening league match on Saturday was that our full-backs were more positive in getting forward.

“The scoreline sounds comprehensive, but Oxford were always in the game and caused us some problems.

“We were able to penetrate down the flanks and got in plenty of crosses, which wasn’t the case on Saturday.

“It’s always nice to blood young players and we were able to send on Ephraim Yeboah at a good time in the game for him. The hard work starts for Ephraim now.”

Oxford manager Liam Manning did not attend the post-match press conference.

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