All the weekend action in another eventful day in the Coca Cola Championship.
Barnsley 1-0 Watford
Emil Hallfredsson lit up a drab occasion at Oakwell with a stunning solo strike, fit to win any clash. The Icelandic international clipped over Adrian Mariappa before coolly slotting beyond Scott Loach.
The Tykes have been in resurgent form under boss Mark Robins, who may see them to a previously unforseen playoff charge, but they will have to make do without influential loan defender Ryan Shotton for the next three clashes.
The Stoke City defender received a straight red for an ill-advised lunge on defender Lloyd Doyley, but it did little to quell the Barnsley fire which rages through the Championship at present.
Blackpool 1-2 Leicester City
An excellent encounter at Bloomfield Road as two of the sides playoff chasing sides pitted their wits against each other.
Leicester had the lead and their first goal in 340 minutes when an incisive through ball from Martyn Waghorn lofted into the path of midfielder Dany N’Guessan who struck right footed beyond Matt Gilks.
Several miraculous stops either side of half time prevented the Foxes from extending their advantage but just short of ten minutes from time Leicester hit Pool on the counter attack with Paul Gallagher feeding Matty Fryatt, who in turn found Lloyd Dyer unmarked to place home.
There was a deserved consolation however just moments from time as Stephen Dobbie turned two players effortlessly before driving beyond Chris Weale low to his left. There was even time for a penalty appeal to be turned down for the hosts, with Ian Holloway incensed at the decision.
Bristol City 1-1 Coventry City
The Robins were looking to dispel their Ashton Gate nightmare against Cardiff City a few weeks ago, with the Bluebirds running riot 6-0 over Gary Johnson’s forlorn side.
The fans will have been pleased by the response that City provided, if not the initial result with Coventry City taking the lead at Ashton Gate. David Bell thrashing into bottom right hand corner, against the run of play.
City didn’t give up and had their just rewards when an aerial battle broke to David Clarkson, and the Scotsman belied his poor form to effortlessly roll home and claim a point for the Robins.
Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Reading
What some may have considered a six-pointer was played out in exciting fashion at the Keepmoat Stadium, with Reading seeking back to back wins under new guidance.
Brian McDermott’s men had the lead in the first half when Brian Howard was afforded too much space by debutante Shelton Martis and he picked out Shane Long – who glanced his header beyond Neil Sullivan.
Doncaster pressed for the equaliser only to be caught out on the counter-attack as first Simon Church fed Long who in turn squared for the influential Howard to place home into the bottom right hand corner.
Rovers didn’t throw the towel in and were handed a lifeline when Matt Mills handled on the line, and was duly given his marching orders. Billy Sharp notched his 11th of the season from the spot sending Federici the wrong way.
Doncaster continued to press with Federici and the cross bar denying them a hard-fought point, but Reading can now contemplate facing another relegation rival in Plymouth Argyle.
Ipswich Town 1-1 Middlesbrough
Ipswich left it late to freshen up their strike force in the January transfer window, but they certainly wasted no time in making an impact against Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough.
Deadline day captures David Healy and Darryl Murphy combined for the latter to squeeze home his first goal for two years, just seconds into the clash at Portman Road.
Town couldn’t make their dominance count an into the second half it was Boro’s home town hero, David Wheater that popped up for his goal in nearly a year-and-a-half to level the clash.
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest were looking to get their promotion charge back on track after a disappointing defeat against rivals Derby County, and they were fortuitous to be handed an early opportunity.
Dexter Blackstock latched onto a long pass before striking against the arm of Darren Purse – a penalty was given despite both managers agreeing post match that it wasn’t the correct decision. Blackstock struck home from the spot.
Wednesday have been resurgent under Alan Irvine and struck back in the second half with Derby County loanee Luke Varney lashing home his third goal in two games to level proceedings.
Forest under Billy Davies have found a resilient streak themselves and re-established their advantage after Blackstock completed his brace touching home from close range after his initial effort was parried.
Peterborough United 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
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Plymouth Argyle 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
Both sides were seeking an invaluable three points to help their charge at opposite ends of the table, and despite positive forays into the Albion half Argyle’s reputation as the Championship’s lowest scorers was well-founded.
Simon Cox was in no mood to be wasteful as he placed an effort home from inside the area as Albion forged a priceless lead at Home Park. It would have been two had it not been for the outstanding work of David Stockdale.
David McNamee tripped Luke Moore in the area and the ‘keeper faced off against the in-form Graham Dorrans from the spot. Stockdale saved however low to his right.
The action wasn’t finished there as the fixture boiled over when Jerome Thomas went in two-footed against McNamee and earned himself a straight red card.
Scunthorpe United 1-2 Crystal Palace
Administration has hardly been a hindrance to Crystal Palace on the field as they recorded another priceless victory at relegation rivals Scunthorpe United.
It didn’t start well for the Eagles as the Iron dominated the opening exchange, but Cliff Byrne’s incredible miss set the tone for what would be a disappointing afternoon for the hosts.
Midway through the second half Palace’s in-form talents took hold of the game with Darren Ambrose curling home from the left hand side of the area to hand the visitors the advantage.
Defender David Mirfin had other ideas as he glanced home a looping header to hand the Iron a foothold in the game and something to defend in a difficult second half.
However the never say die attitude instilled in Palace by manager Neil Warnock reaped rewards as Neil Danns came inside from the left and struck a stunning solo effort three minutes into injury time to help haul Palace clear.
Sheffield United 1-1 Derby County
County were looking to continue their form from the priceless win over local rivals Nottingham Forest last week and they got off to the best possible start.
Robby Savage capitalised on some tentative defending on the edge of the Blades penalty area to send a stunning strike beyond Mark Bunn from edge of the area – the first goal United have conceded at Bramall Lane in 592 minutes of league football.
United were dogged and reaped the rewards for battling until the last with Derby born Lee Williamson striking home in injury time from the edge of the penalty area.
Swansea City 2-0 Preston North End
The Swans continue to push towards the playoff places and did away with Darren Ferguson’s inconsistent Preston side at the Liberty Stadium.
Record capture David Cotterill set the ball rolling on 35 minutes with a delightfully placed free-kick into the top right hand corner.
Cotterill was instrumental in the second as well as his free kick moments into the second half found defender Ashley Williams – who glanced home with ease beyond Andy Lonergan.
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