On an evening of drama with a full fixture list in the Championship, it was a big night for clubs at both ends of the table.
Burnley remain at the summit of the league but saw their lead cut to just a single point after they were held 0-0 at home by play-off hopefuls Cardiff City. Another draw for Sean Dyche’s side, their third in succession, has given hope to their rivals in the race for automatic promotion. The Bluebirds stay seventh, just four points outside the top six.
Middlesbrough moved to within a point of the leaders after a 3-0 demolition of Huddersfield. A first half penalty from Grant Leadbitter and a brace from Gaston Ramirez gave Aitor Karanka’s side a comfortable victory. Boro are now within touching distance of the Clarets with a game in hand. The Terriers stay 18th, eight points above the bottom three.
Brighton kept up the pressure on the top two after coming from behind to to win 2-1 away at Birmingham. Kyle Lafferty, making his Blues debut, put the hosts ahead early in the first half, only for Connor Goldson to equalise with his first ever goal for the Seagulls. Lewis Dunk’s second half header settled this tie and moves Chris Hughton’s men to within two points of the top.
Hull City’s hopes of gatecrashing the top two were hit hard after a 4-0 thrashing away at Derby left them seven points behind second-placed Middlesbrough.
The Rams’ inconsistent recent form had looked like putting their play-off place in jeopardy, yet they returned to form in style. Bradley Johnson’s first half double put the hosts in charge and, after Moses Odubajo was dismissed for the Tigers, Chris Martin and Craig Bryson completed the rout. Darren Wassall’s side remain sixth, but have opened up a four-point gap over seventh-placed Cardiff.
Sheffield Wednesday remain on course for a play-off spot with a 2-1 win over Blackburn. Craig Conway put Rovers ahead, only for things to fall apart in the space of two minutes for Paul Lambert’s side. An Adam Henley own goal followed by a red card for Conway brought Wednesday back into the game, before Ross Wallace earned the hosts all three points to keep the Yorkshire side in fifth.
Ipswich lost ground on the top six following a 0-0 draw with second-from-bottom Charlton at Portman Road. A single point does little to help either side with the Tractor boys now seven points outside the play-off places, while the Addicks remain in danger at the wrong end of he table, seven points from safety.
Bolton moved closer to League One football next season after a 3-1 defeat away at Brentford. The hosts were always in charge when Nico Yennaris’ strike was followed up by a Lasse Vibe brace had that saw them lead 3-0 at half-time. Zach Clough’s penalty in the second half did little to lift the Trotters’ mood as they sit on the bottom, 17 points away from survival. The Bees move up to 14th.
It was also a bad night for MK Dons after a 2-1 loss at home to Wolves. A Kortney Hause own goal had put the Dons ahead, but George Saville and Jack Price gave Wanderers the victory that leaves Karl Robinson’s side six points from safety. Kenny Jackett’s boys stay 12th.
The big game at the bottom saw Bristol City and Rotherham draw 1-1. Matt Derbyshire put the Millers ahead before the interval, only for Peter Odemwingie to level for the Robins. After the defeat for MK Dons, this point sees both sides move a point further away from the bottom three.
Fulham were the big winners in the relegation battle following an impressive 2-1 win away at in-form Preston. Ross McCormack’s 21st league goal of the season put the Cottagers ahead, before Marnick Vermijl equalised for North End. Moussa Dembele was the hero though as his second half strike lifted the west Londoners up to 19th and seven points above the relegation places.
The evening’s other games involved sides in the middle of the table. Leeds and QPR drew 1-1 at Elland Road, with Chris Wood giving the hosts the lead before a late Tjaronn Chery penalty earned Rangers their 16th draw of the season.
Elsewhere, Reading played host to Nottingham Forest and, despite going behind, picked up a 2-1 victory.
Ben Osborn put Forest ahead, but Matej Vydra and Oliver Norwood were on target as the Royals to picked up all three points.
Championship Player of the Night: Bradley Johnson (Derby County)
Championship Team of the Night: Fulham
Championship Goal of the Night: Oliver Norwood (READING vs Nottingham Forest)