Championship Weekend Review
With QPR being unceremoniously embarrassed on Sky we take a look at how the other teams in the Championship fared this weekend.
Barnsley 0 - 0 Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic`s Championship cause has turned to desperation as they failed to perform and ultimately claim three much needed points at Oakwell. In truth the hosts dominated the first period and will be bitterly disappointed they couldn`t break the deadlock.
Therry Racon had a good chance to give the league`s basement side the advantage in the second period but his left footed effort was well tipped over by Heinz Muller. Likewise substitute Adam Hammill who cut inside from the left to draw a good save Rob Elliott.
A fleeting penalty appeal from the Addicks was all they had to come away with Chris Dickson going down under a challenge from Darren Moore but Michael Oliver waved away the appeals. The visitors gained ground on Nottingham Forest but with Southampton beginning to put together some results it may be too little too late from the Addicks.
Blackpool 0 - 2 Watford
Watford`s resurgent rise out of the relegation zone continued as Brendan Rodgers side blew away Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. That is the third home defeat in succession for Tony Parkes` side who are now looking nervously over their shoulder only five points from the drop zone.
It took until the second half to the Hornets to make the breakthrough at Bloomfield Road as Mike Williamson scored his first goal since joining from Wycombe in January, stooping low to head home with ease.
Their lead was doubled with five minutes remaining as in form forward Tamas Priskin scored his fifth goal in five games as he delightful close range chip bamboozled replacement stopper Matthew Gilks and nestled to the delight of the Watford travelling contingent.
Coventry City 1 - 0 Birmingham City
Birmingham continue to throw away their impetus in the chase for an automatic promotion place as they were defeated at the Ricoh Arena. The Sky Blues haven`t been defeated in four games in all competitions and they set about their task early in this local derby.
Two young Iain Dowie captures combined to hand the hosts the lead, as Dan Fox`s corner found an onrushing Scott Dann who slammed the ball home unchallenged from close range.
Birmingham threw away the opportunity to draw level with leaders Wolves and had a goal disallowed moments from the end when Scott Sinclair was adjudged to be in an offside position when he placed past Keiren Westwood.
Nottingham Forest 1 - 3 Derby County
The Rams could leave the City Ground with all three points and all the bragging rights in the East Midlands derby. They extended a run of four straight victories and had the lead as early as the third minute when defender Lewin Nyatanga latched onto a Kris Commons free kick to slam home from close range at the second attempt.
Commons was being heckled and jeered at every turn for his new-found Derby ties and his side doubled their advantage just after half time when Robbie Savage`s curling free kick was glanced home by striker Rob Hulse to the elation of the travelling support.
The visitors from down the A52 had a third after skipper James Purch`s senseless push on Rob Hulse earned him a booking and Derby a penalty. A chance that Steve Davies duly dispatched low to Paul Smith`s left, he also hit the bar with a looping header moments later.
There was time a consolation with three minutes to go as Robert Earnshaw finally converted one of his many chances with a good header from a Gareth McLeary cross.
Norwich City 1 - 1 Burnley
The Canaries` Championship safety took a another dent as they extended a run of six games without a win. Bryan Gunn`s men took the lead at Carrow Road however as they looked to escape the perils of the drop zone.
Jamie Cureton hit only his second goal for Norwich this season as he pounced from close range to place a right footed shot into the bottom right hand corner. Burnley however are beginning to rediscover their footing in the league and made it five games undefeated shortly before half time.
Steven Thompson`s sixth league goal this season came as he followed up from close range after keeper David Marshall had parried Robbie Blake`s effort. Norwich remain in the relegation zone while Burnley dropped points in the race for the playoffs.
Plymouth Argyle 2 - 2 Sheffield United
Argyle were twice pegged back by a resilient Sheffield United as Paul Sturrock is under considerable pressure to take his side away from the drop zone. It was his latest capture however that handed the Pilgrims the lead against the playoff chasing Blades.
Carl Fletcher had only penned his loan deal from Crystal Palace two days previous but it was he who had the presence of mind to latch onto a knock-down to powerfully fire home on the right hand side of the area.
Plymouth`s old habits came back to haunt them as long-serving stopper Roman Larrieu gifted his clearance straight to a gleeful Danny Webber, who capitalised in exquisite fashion rolling home in front of the travelling support.
Loanee Paul Gallagher re-asserted the lead for Argyle after cleverly rolling home his eighth goal of the campaign past the outstretched dive of Paddy Kenny. But barely two minutes later they had thrown their hard work away as Greg Halford glanced home deep left-wing cross to earn the Blades a share of the spoils.
Queens Park Rangers 1 - 3 Ipswich
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Reading 0 - 2 Bristol City
Reading`s promotion credentials took a blow this weekend as an on form Bristol City put in one of the shock results of the weekend. The Royals lost only their second game at home this campaign as the Robins took the lead shortly before the half hour mark.
Dele Adebola made it four goals in four games as he glanced home a delightful header from a set piece on 26 minutes. Reading could muster little in reposte and were duly punished after the break.
It was clear that Steve Coppell`s team talk hadn`t taken effect as Cole Skuse doubled the visitors advantage following a goalline scramble. One of many could have been granted the goal but it was Skuse who claimed the credit to extend a run of one defeat in ten games.
Sheffield Wednesday 2 - 0 Crystal Palace
Joy and despair was portioned out in equal measure of late in the blue half of Sheffield, as despite defeating bitter rivals Sheffield United, they had been defeated by other local sides Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley.
This last ten minute smash and grab against an indifferent Crystal Palace side, led by self-professed Blade Neil Warnock helped steer them in the right direction once again. Sean McAllister`s second goal in Wednesday colours put them in front with ten minutes remaining as he placed home from close range.
Leon Clarke doubled the advantage as he met a delightful cross to glance home with his right boot into the bottom left hand corner. Wednesday now a place and two points behind QPR.
Southampton 3 - 1 Preston North End
The return of Marek Saganowski from his loan spell at Aalborg has helped spark a revival of epic proportions for the Saints who fairly swept their opponents away in the opening 45 minutes, as Preston North End looked a shadow of their true potential.
Saints had the lead in the opening 20 minutes when the left boot of Andrew Surman sent the ball fizzing past Andy Lonergan and into the bottom left hand corner. The keeper without a hope of saving a truly excellent effort from the South African born midfielder.
Enter Saganowski as he slammed his powerful right footed effort home before the hour mark, before doubling his tally for the day with a stunning solo effort taking on a number of defenders before placing home with ease. That his sixth goal in seven games since returning to the south coast.
A furious Alan Irvine made three half time changes and it had a good effect as Ross Wallace cut in front the right to bend a classy left footed effort into the top left hand corner. However with little over 15 minutes remaining it was too little too late for the Lilywhites.
Swansea City 3 - 1 Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster had been on a scintillating run away from the drop zone going eight games unbeaten and causing numerous shocks along the way including derby wins over both Sheffield sides. They found themselves in prime position for their latest feat of achievement as they went a goal up against Swansea City.
James Coppinger has been instrumental in the Donny revival as he scrambled the ball home just after the ten-minute mark for his second goal in four games. That was as good as it got for the visitors as Roberto Martinez`s side showed why they are in prime position for a playoff push.
James O`Connor hauled down Alan Tate in the area and Jason Scotland dispatched a coolly taken penalty for his outstanding 13 goals in his last 14 games in all competitions - taking his Championship tally to 16 this campaign.
Goalscoring isn`t where he stops as he added to six assists for the season teeing up Jordi Gomez on two occasions for his 10th and 11th Championship goal this season.
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