Championship Week In Review
RANGERS picked up an excellent away point at Barnsley then followed it up with a scintillating display at Home to Stoke City. Two good displays, with the latter taking precedent, but how did the other teams get on this week in the Championship.
Tuesday 26th February
Burnley 2-0 Coventry City
Burnley gave their playoff credentials a boost at home to relegation threatened Coventry. Chris McCann`s 5th goal of the season was dispatched beautifully finished, lashing the ball home in the 20th minute. Coventry threatened to level but never really had that killer instinct infront of goal, Michael Mifsud spurning the best of the opportunities. Burnley then sealed the win late on though centre half Steve Caldwell, when he dispatched Robbie Blake`s corner with aplomb.
Preston North End 2-0 Stoke City
Preston turned the form book upside down dispatching of top of the league Stoke City in a feisty affair at Deepdale. A brace from Richard Chaplow saw off Stoke, his first reacting fastest to a knockdown in the area from Youl Mawene, his second added a touch of class to proceedings. A strike from 20 yards into the bottom left hand corner, after being touched in from a free kick by Paul McKenna. Stoke naturally will be disappointed after missing a hatful of chances and having Leon Cort stretchered off, but Preston won`t mind a bit and gave their survival hopes a real shot in the arm.
Saturday 1st March
Barnsley 0-0 Sheffield Wednesday
The hotly anticipated South Yorkshire derby failed to produce the goals that the occasion perhaps deserved. Barnsley had a few good chances in the first period with John Macken twice going close to breaking the deadlock from long distance. Whilst Luke Steele was in good form to deny a looping goal-bound effort. Wednesday fans were encouraged by the attacking play on display with Showunmi a constant menace, and Richard Wood nodding over from close range. Wednesday really came into their own in the second half, with a good strike from distance by Ben Sahar, Burton O`Brien also hit the outside of the right hand post from distance in the dying stages, but it wasn`t enough. Whilst Rob Kozluk was given his marching orders for a rash challenge on Marcus Tudgay, which was indeed a second yellow.
Bristol City 2-1 Hull City
Top of the league Bristol City had some strange defending to thank for an excellent win at home to playoff chasers Hull. A terrible miss from Neil Clement at the back, let in the effervescent Dele Adebola, who pounced upon the chance to drill the ball hard into the roof of the net, left footed past keeper Boaz Myhill. Ian Ashbee`s then somehow worked himself into a shooting position on the right hand side of the six yard box, his effort was tame to say the lease, but it was deflected goalwards by defender Liam Fontaine, and left Adriano Basso rooted. Bristol City showed us why they are top of the shop this weekend when defender Jamie McCombe`s sensational overhead effort from the edge of the area won the game for the Robins.
Burnley 2-2 Watford
Burnley started the more positive of the two teams, and Ade Akinbiyi will be ruing the fact that he missed an open goal, when Leigh Bromby`s poor backpass gave keeper Richard Lee nowhere to go, he saved well from Lafferty. The ball fell to Akinbiyi just inside the area, but the striker pulled his shot wide. Darius Henderson then got himself on the scoresheet, the peroxide blonde Striker was on the end of Jobi McAnuff`s corner, and rose unmarked to nod past Jensen. Burnley then had a goal ruled out for offside, when Kyle Lafferty`s flicked cross was bundled home by Akinbiyi, it wasn`t his day as he ran to celebrate with the flag raised.
Substitute Robbie Blake, however did break the deadlock for the Clarets, he latched onto an assist by Andy Cole to finish the ball expertly into the top left corner past Richard Lee. Watford were back infront again, and it was another set-piece, Jobi McAnuff`s excellent set piece wasn`t dealt with at the far post, Henderson knocked the ball down and Jordan Stewart drilled the ball into the top right hand corner. That wasn`t the end of the scoring as 3 minutes later, Robbie Blake`s second goal of the game sealed an all-important point for the Clarets. A cross from the left was dummied expertly by Wade Elliot, and Blake cut in from the right and curled a placed into the bottom left hand corner in off the post.
Cardiff City 0-1 Leicester City
This dismal affair was settled by an horrendous own goal by Darren Purse. On a windy day at Ninian Park, a hopeful long ball from the Leicester backline was controlled into his own goal, as calamity Keeper Peter Enckelman came out looking for a ball that simply wasn`t there. This result does wonders for Leicester`s push for safety, but may put a nail in the coffin of Cardiff`s promotion credentials.
Colchester United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
A relatively even game at Layer Road was settled by one goal, and it went to the away side. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake used his pace and power, to break into box on the right hand side of the area, before rifling an effort past Dean Gerken for his 14th goal of the season, his 3rd goal in the gold and black. Colchester are now rooted to the foot of the table, and are looking precarious favourites for the drop despite a positive performance. Second season syndrome begins to rear its ugly unwanted head once more.
Norwich City 1-2 Blackpool
Blackpool took an unexpected lead at Carrow Road when Wes Hoolahan`s effort was well saved by keeper Marshall, Gary Taylor-Fletcher reacted first and hung in a high cross not too much unlike his successful lob last week against Leicester, and Steven McPhee was on the far post to nod past keeper Marshall. Some more excellent work from Hoolahan as he set McPhee free down the right, with defenders in attendance the ex-Port Vale and Hull striker slotted excellently to the right of the keeper. Norwich had a lifeline when Matty Pattison was brought down in the area for a penalty, which Jamie Cureton dispatched well, putting the penalty away low and left, giving Rachubka no chance. Taking Blackpool into the top half and ending a home unbeaten record dating back to early November.
Preston North End 0-1 Crystal Palace
Preston couldn`t make it two wins out of two on home soil, following their outstanding win over Stoke on Tuesday. They had a good period in the second half testing Julian Speroni with a multitude of efforts. But had they scored it would have perhaps not been reflective of the play with Palace controlling the majority of the game, and they were rewarded when Clinton Morrison stooped in the area and slotted home from the corner for his 14th goal of the season. The striker was left unmarked in the area for his first goal since January.
Scunthorpe United 2-1 Coventry City
Martin Paterson showed his class for Scunthorpe when his excellent run scythed the Sky Blues defence apart, this culminated in an excellent right footed, curling effort which gave Andy Marshall no chance. A truly splendid strike from a forward that may not be at the Iron for much longer. Coventry were level when Marcus Williams soft foul brought down Kevin Thornton in the area, the midfielder dusted himself off and dispatched the penalty low and left. What followed was totally unprecedented, Jack Cork had the ball in a innocuous position on the right hand by-line, his cross come shot was lofted over Marshall once more to hand Scunthorpe a priceless lifeline for survival.
Sheffield United 0-2 Charlton Athletic
A battle of the ex-Premier League teams left United with a sinking feeling once more, as it was Charlton who took full advantage of the Blades defensive shortcomings. Greg Halford`s long throw fell to Darren Ambrose, his shot was well saved by Paddy Kenny, but the Irishman could do nothing about Chris Iwelumo slotting home from close range to score his tenth of the season and his first this year. Sam Sodje doubled the lead with a routine set-piece header, which will have Kevin Blackwell fuming. The defender rose highest to nod home from close range to push Charlton`s credentials for promotion. United`s misery was compounded when Stephen Quinn was sent off for an ill-advised lunge at Vitor Semedo, a shocking tackle that merited the card.
Southampton 1-1 Ipswich Town
Nigel Pearson is still waiting for his first win in charge of the Saints, and couldn`t defeat the team with the worst away record in the division. The deadlock was broken by Stern John, when he took advantage of some ponderous defending for his 15th goal of the season. Ipswich need to cut out these defensive errors if they are to make the playoff positions. David Norris` first goal for the Tractor Boys brought the game level, the midfielder cut in from the right and striking the ball in the near post, a point no good for either teams, but something to build on for Nigel Pearson.
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Plymouth Argyle
A rout at the Hawthornes as West Brom look to make sure they are in contention for an automatic promotion spot. The Baggies began the scoring when Ishmael Miller`s left-footed effort deflected back off Luke McCormick, for Zoltan Gera, who nipped in for the first of the afternoon. The advantage was doubled with an outstanding effort from Ishmael Miller, picking up a bouncing ball on the edge of the area he looped the ball over his head and into the far corner, with McCormick ending up in the net. The rout was completed when Roman Bednar pounced onto a knockdown by Zoltan Gera from Jonathan Greenings cross, to finish with ease for his 11th goal in blue and white. West Brom get back to winning ways in the Championship and look to make a late surge for the automatics.