Championship Week In Review
Rangers picked up a useful point on Wednesday, before succumbing to a defeat at Wednesday; here`s what happened in another lively week in the Championship.
TUESDAY 4TH MARCH
Blackpool 1-1 Barnsley
The Tykes and the Tangerines shared the points in an evenly contested draw at Bloomfield Road. Blackpool had the lead when Gary Taylor-Fletcher nodded home from an excellent Stephen Crainey cross. The striker scored his 3rd goal in as many games to hand the Seasiders the lead. Barnsley hit back in first half injury time when winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce coasted through after an excellent past from Kayode Odejayi to slot past Paul Rachubka. Blackpool had further chances in the second half through the aforementioned Taylor-Fletcher and Ben Burgess, but to no avail and it was a point a piece.
Charlton Athletic 1-1 Bristol City
Another 1-1 draw this time at the Valley in a perfectly poised promotion six pointer. Charlton were in front when a flowing move saw Zheng Zhi play in Darren Ambrose, and the midfielder made no mistake scoring his 9th of the season, and 4th goal in 4 games, slotting home past despairing Adriano Basso. They had further chances to extend their lead through Chris Iwelumo, and then ex- Ranger Jerome Thomas, but both players spurned their chances and were made to pay. Defender Jamie McCombe came forward from the back to nod home from a well taken set piece for his 3rd goal in 4, a rich vein of form for the defender, this was before Michael McIndoe hit the post with another free-kick.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff City
A goalless draw at Selhurst Park, where neither team could break the all important deadlock in a push for the playoffs. It was Cardiff however who had the best of the chances reintroducing injury-prone duo Trevor Sinclair and Ricardo Scimeca. Aaron Ramsey came closest for the Bluebirds, hitting the post in the second period; however there were also good chances for Glenn Loovens and Roger Johnson, whose efforts failed to break the deadlock. Clinton Morrison could have won it late on for Palace but he snatched at Ben Watson`s cross, and powered his header wide of the target. A result to dent Palace`s chances and end City`s hopes.
Hull City 2-0 Burnley
Mike Riley ruled the roost at the KC stadium, making the headlines for all the wrong reasons again, sending off 4 players. This should not overshadow a good home win from City, who are now unbeaten since early January on home soil. Wonder-kid Frazier Campbell gave the Tigers the advantage, when his shot squirmed under the normally reliable Brian Jensen. The lead was doubled by Richard Garcia from fully 35-yards out, a goal to grace any game. Andrew Cole had the Clarets best chance when his powerful header cannoned back off the cross bar. The game was marred by the straight red cards to Caleb Folan and Jay-Jay Okocha for off the ball incidents; whilst Joey Gudjonsen and Steven Caldwell were both given second yellows.
Ipswich Town 1-1 Sheffield United
Ipswich dropped out of the playoff places as they dropped points at Home to struggling Sheffield United, who are still looking for their first win under new manager Kevin Blackwell. After missing an earlier opportunity. James Beattie gave the Blades the lead, he nodded home well after a good cross from Michael Tonge. The provided nearly turned goalscorer as Tonge hit the bar just after the restart. This shocked the Tractor Boys into life and Alan Lee equalised for Town after a good cross from Jonathan Walters, they also had Stephen Bywater to thank, thwarting the effort of Rob Hulse late on.
Leicester City 0-1 Preston North End
Leicester were stunned at home by an incisive North End team who are starting to assert themselves in the race to stay in the division. Matthew Fryatt twice had the ball in the back of the net for the Fox`s, but both were ruled out for offside; defender Patrick Kisnorbo twice tried his luck from distance to no avail. This was before Darren Carter stunned the Home fans with a 25 yard stunner to hand the Lilywhites all 3 points. The midfielder was given too much time and placed his shot to perfection.
Plymouth Argyle 4-1 Colchester United
The Greens ran riot over lowly Colchester, who really do face an uphill battle if they are to stay in the division, the result took Argyle into the playoff places. Phil Ifil really captured the mood for United fans deflecting Gary Teale`s cross into his own net after 11 minutes are there on in it got worse for ColU. Jermaine Easter slammed home a goalmouth scramble to put the result beyond doubt, this was then added to by Steven McLean who smashed home the 3rd, as Argyle really looked to assert the advantage. Kevin Lisbie`s tremendous solo effort was a rare ray of light in a poor performance, he ran through into the box before placing an outside of the foot, right-footed effort past Luke McCormick. Gary Sawyer quashed any possible comeback after he dispatched an excellent cross from man of the moment Gary Teale.
Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
Injury time heartbreak for the Owls as West Brom marched on in their quest for automatic promotion. Robert Koren was proving himself to be a menace to Wednesday, tearing the Owls defence to sunder and having two good chances to give Albion the advantage. A real turning point occurred when Jermaine Johnson was giving his marching orders for a tussle with Baggies skipper Jonathan Greening. With the result petering out for a draw Kevin Phillips was sent into the fray, and The Championship Player of The Year made no mistake slotting home in injury time to hand the Baggies all 3 points.
Watford 1-1 Norwich City
Norwich held Watford to a draw at Vicarage Road, to put a real dent in the Hornet`s promotion aspirations. Watford had dominated the game and defender Danny Shittu rose highest from a Jobi McAnuff corner to hand the Golden boys the lead; it was well deserved as Watford were well on top. But for all their domination they were punished for some poor finishing when 9 minutes to go Jamie Cureton struck an outstanding solo effort to share the points. The striker came off the bench on 75 minutes and made an excellent run through the middle unchallenged, before unleashing a 25 yard effort into the top corner, which left Aidy Boothroyd thoroughly frustrated.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Southampton
A common theme in an evening of shared points was continued in Wolverhampton as Southampton left it late to level the game. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake continued his good run of form, when he powered a shot past Kelvin Davis to give Wolves the lead. Southampton equalised when David McGoldrick was brought down by Kevin Foley for a somewhat contentious penalty decision, Gregory Vignal dispatched the penalty. Vignal was then dismissed for his second yellow card as the Saints looked to cling onto a point. It seemed like it wasn`t to be for Southampton when Ebanks-Blake volleyed his second of the game and 3rd goal in 2 games, 2 minutes from time. But to their credit the Saints never gave up and in the 94th minute Jason Euell looped a header into the back of the net to send the travelling army into delirium.
SATURDAY 8TH MARCH
Blackpool 2-2 Southampton
Stern John`s trickery was enough to earn the Saints a point in a difficult away game at Blackpool. John worked a shooting position from almost impossible circumstances in the box and he was brought down by a poor challenge from Kaspars Gorkss, Gregory Vignal dispatched his second penalty in two games for the Saints. After half time Blackpool looked to impose themselves on the game, and when Keith Southern flicked a header from a long throw into the far corner, Blackpool were back in the game. They took the lead when a good knockdown from a Stephen Crainey cross saw Gorkss slam home an excellent goal from the edge of the area. The scoring wasn`t done there however as Stern John bagged his 15th goal of the season for the Saints, bundling the ball home following a good effort from Jason Euell.
Charlton Athletic 1-2 Preston North End
A shock result at the Valley as the Lilywhites dominated proceedings against Athletic. Chris Brown found himself free in the area to calmly place his shot into the roof of the net, after being found well. Charlton equalised when Paddy McCarthy slotted home from close range after some poor defending from a set-piece. But Brown had the last say in this game after his fantastic control and shot in the box on the volley ensured all 3 points for relegation threatened Preston. Preston were good value for all 3 points and leave Charlton under considerable pressure in order to make an automatic promotion place.
Coventry City 1-0 Norwich City
Jay Tabb`s 5th goal of the season ensured that Coventry took all 3 points to haul themselves away from the relegation zone. Tabb cut inside from the left before the shifting the ball onto his right foot and unleashing a right footed effort into the bottom left hand corner. The Canaries came closest when Jamie Cureton worked Andy Marshall into a good save at his near post. Norwich have now lost 3 from 5 and their cause wasn`t helped when Gary Doherty was given his marching orders for a second yellow. Darel Russell soon followed as he was sent off in similar fashion, hauling the inspired Jay Tabb down from behind.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Colchester United
Tom Soares missed a guilt edge early chance after a fantastic run from the left by Victor Moses. Palace though did take the lead when an excellent cross from the right from Danny Butterfield was dispatched with yet another own goal by Phil Ifil, his second in a week under the intentions of James Scowcroft. Kevin Lisbie race away at the other end barely two minutes later to equalise for Colchester; he broke away from two Palace defenders before dispatching the ball into the bottom left hand corner handing Speroni no chance whatsoever. Any hopes of a point for United were extinguished when Ben Watson, latched onto another fantastic cross, this time from youth product Ashley Robinson, to slide the ball home to give playoff chasers Palace all 3 points.
Hull City 2-0 Scunthorpe United
A relatively straight-forward game at the KC Stadium, where Henrik Pedersen scored his first goal since September to give the Tigers the lead against relegation threatened Scunthorpe. This was despite the intentions of inspired goalkeeper Joe Murphy, pulling off a string of outstanding saves prior to the goal. Michael Turner doubled the lead and the Iron`s woes with a bullet header from close range, from an Andy Dawson corner, to leave the Tigers hot prospects for a playoff place and the Iron 6 points from safety.
Leicester City 0-0 Bristol City
Leicester certainly had the better of the chances at the Walkers Stadium, with both managers wondering how on earth this game remained goalless. The Fox`s twice went close in the first half from Iain Hume, with some wasteful finishing from the Canadian amongst others keeping the score goalless. The Robins started to come into the game more into the second half with chances for Marvin Elliot and Brian Wilson, both hitting the woodwork from distance. Adriano Basso was in form to deny Steve Howard in stoppage time as Bristol City ultimately missed the chance to go 6 points clear at the summit.
Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Sheffield United
With the club commemorating the life of Derek Dooley, United wasted no time in setting about inform opponents, Argyle. James Beattie`s towering header separated the sides, from an excellent Dave Cotterill cross. The striker made it two in two, when he rose unmarked on the far post. Paddy Kenny, was in inspired form pulling off a number of outstanding saves, as the United defence held firm following an onslaught from the Greens. Jamie Mackie had the best chance to bag the equaliser in the dying stages, but Paddy Kenny once again thwarted the greens, stopping the shot from point blank range.
Stoke City 1-1 Burnley
A stalemate at the Potteries, as Stoke couldn`t push on in their automatic promotion push. In Tony Pulis` 650 game in charge it was Burnley who broke the deadlock. An excellent passing move involving former Stoke players Ade Akinbiyi and James O`Connor, laid in Kyle Lafferty on the left edge of the area, the striker made no mistake stroking home at the near post. Akinbiyi himself missed a golden opportunity when he fairly controlled the ball into the path of Carlo Nash in a clear goalscoring opportunity. Stoke continued to boss the possession and chances and couldn`t break down their opponents, that was until John Harley foolishly tugged down Richard Cresswell in the dying seconds, Liam Lawrence kept his nerve to dispatch the penalty into the bottom right hand corner to hand the Potters a point.
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