Ashley Barnes scored two and had a big hand in another goal for Anass Zaroury as Burnley swept aside Blackburn 3-0 in Sunday’s East Lancashire derby to claim top spot in the Championship.
The 33-year-old has had to make do with rare starts this season, but the absence of the unfit Jay Rodriguez handed him a start against rivals Rovers, who themselves would have gone top with a win.
His first league goal of the campaign broke the deadlock in the second half of what had been a tense encounter – and that goal opened the floodgates for a convincing Clarets win.
The chance to leapfrog Sheffield United into pole position ahead of the World Cup break heightened the stakes in a derby which is always ferocious, one of only two local rivalries to have survived since the first Football League season in 1888-89.
Vincent Kompany opted for Barnes above the more youthful, subtle skills of Nathan Tella, and it paid off for the Clarets manager. Barnes, looking rusty early on, was beaten to Josh Brownhill’s cross by Daniel Ayala as the Clarets threatened in the opening exchanges, while Rovers’ only hope in that opening 45 minutes came with a penalty appeal as Ben Brereton Díaz went down under a challenge from Jordan Beyer.
Thomas Kaminski was the visitors’ hero just before the break as Burnley imposed themselves at successive set-pieces. The Belgian goalkeeper hurled himself high to his left to turn away Barnes’ header and moments later he tipped over another dangerous attempt, this time from Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Blackburn began the second half in more positive fashion, with Brereton Díaz getting free down the left and cutting inside to sting the palms of Aro Muric. Barnes caused more problems from Jack Cork’s direct ball, chesting it down for Josh Cullen, with two Rovers defenders desperately hurling their bodies in the way to prevent a certain goal.
Within a minute, resurgent Burnley were ahead as Anass Zaroury got the better of Hedges and crossed for Barnes to steer his header past Kaminski. Rovers could not respond and when the Burnley pressure forced a mistake, Tella’s flick teed up Barnes for a volley. It was parried by Kaminski but Zaroury tucked away the rebound.
The home fans’ joy was complete seven minutes from time as Josh Brownhill skipped past Clinton Mola and pulled his cross back for Barnes, who calmly slipped a challenge and fired home the third.
Record signing Zian Flemming struck a superb hat-trick as Millwall returned to the playoff places with a 4-2 victory at Preston. The Dutch midfielder was in predatory mood as he inspired the Lions to a deserved first victory in four games, while Preston’s three-match winning streak was abruptly halted.
Flemming put Millwall 2-0 up before Preston hit back to level the score on 28 minutes. However, he completed his hat-trick in the second half and Charlie Cresswell hit a fourth to cement a fine away win.
Sheffield United moved back to the top of the table with a 1-0 win at Cardiff. A 64th-minute goal from George Baldock was enough to secure all three points for the visitors.
Cardiff dominated much of the first half after a ponderous first 20 minutes, with the Bluebirds’ front three causing plenty of issues on the counterattack. The home side had plenty of chances, but failed to capitalise as the half wore on. The introduction of James McAtee at half-time helped the Blades take control, although the visitors spurned several golden opportunities to take the lead before Baldock shot powerfully past the helpless Ryan Allsop.
Substitute Matt Crooks struck a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Middlesbrough came from behind to claim an impressive 2-1 victory against Norwich at Carrow Road. Crooks provided an emphatic finish to a swift counterattack to give the visitors a third successive win under recently appointed manager Michael Carrick.
Boro were trailing to Josh Sargent’s well-taken seventh-minute opener until past the hour mark before the game was transformed by a spectacular volley from Riley McGree. Both sides then went all out for the three points, with Boro having the final say as Norwich lost ground in their promotion challenge, with loud boos from home fans greeting the final whistle.
The interim Luton manager, Mick Harford, saw his side snatch a late point at home to Rotherham as they drew 1-1. Former manager Nathan Jones left for Southampton on Thursday, and the Hatters went a goal down in the first minute when Jamie Lindsay put the Millers in front, but Luke Berry scored in the 90th minute.
Harford praised his players after what he called a “whirlwind” week at the club. “They give me everything they have, they give the staff everything, they give the club everything. I’ve really enjoyed the last three or four days: this is a magnificent set of players, a brilliant squad, who work tirelessly.”
Liam Rosenior’s first home game in charge of Hull ended in defeat as the Tigers fell to a 2-1 defeat to Reading thanks to a late own goal. Jacob Greaves put Hull in front before Yakou Méïté equalised, but a rebound off Ryan Longman saw Hull concede right at the death.
Rosenior had made a bright start in his new role as Hull head coach, but his side have now lost their last four home games and are a point above the relegation zone. He said: “It’s a tough one to take considering our control and domination in the second half.
“I’m not going to have a go at players – they’ve given me absolutely everything this last week – but what we need to do is work on the small details.”
Viktor Gyokeres’ double earned Coventry their fourth league win on the bounce with a 2-0 victory against QPR at the CBS Arena. The Swede pounced on Jamie Allen’s miskick to fire past Seny Dieng and then slotted home Callum O’Hare’s pass to lift Coventry just two points off the playoffs, despite sitting 22nd in the table before their winning run. It was also a ninth clean sheet in 12 outings.
Struggling Wigan left it late as Curtis Tilt’s header saw them beat 10-man Blackpool 2-1. Marvin Ekpiteta was sent off for Blackpool in the 17th minute, but they took the lead through Gary Madine. James McClean levelled for the Latics nine minutes into the second half and Tilt found the winner with two minutes left on the clock.
The Tangerines drop into the relegation zone, while West Brom climb out of the bottom three into 21st after a 2-0 win against Stoke. Kyle Bartley put the Baggies in front six minutes before the break and Brandon Thomas-Asante doubled their lead early in the second half with an overhead kick.
Elsewhere, bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield held Swansea to a 0-0 draw while Bristol City and Watford also finished goalless.
Seny Dieng is a good man to call in a crisis: he has scored two last-minute goals and replaced the world’s best goalkeeper at late notice to help his country win their first Africa Cup of Nations.
Now he is preparing to go to the World Cup with Senegal after helping QPR to start the season impressively under Michael Beale, who turned down the Wolves job last month. The club sit sixth in the Championship going into their final match before the World Cup break, at Coventry on Saturday.
“Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to play for Senegal,” says Dieng, born in Switzerland to a Senegalese father and Swiss mother. “I watched Senegal going through to the quarters at the World Cup in 2002 and I knew I wanted to be at that level. The first thing is to come out of the group at the World Cup and then I think there is no limit to where we can get.”
Being QPR’s No 1 caught the eye of Senegal, who called up Dieng last year and on Friday confirmed that he – and the injured Sadio Mané – would be going to Qatar. After one cap, Dieng was part of the squad for Afcon 2022, where he understudied Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy, who had recently been named as the world’s leading goalkeeper in Fifa’s Best awards.
Mendy caught Covid, resulting in Dieng starting, alongside Kalidou Koulibaly and Mané, and keeping clean sheets in the opening two group games against Zimbabwe and Guinea. Dieng enjoyed the triumph in Cameroon. After beating Egypt on penalties, the goalkeeper took the trophy to bed. “To be the first team to bring home Afcon for Senegal is great. We wrote history. It gives us a great boost.”
Dieng’s route to Qatar has been a circuitous one. He spent time in Switzerland with Red Star and Grasshoppers before a short spell in Germany. Once his contract with Duisburg came to an end, Dieng knew where he wanted to try his luck, and went on trials in England thanks to the former Bolton goalkeeper coach Fred Barber.
There was time spent with Rochdale and Barnsley in the summer of 2016. They offered Dieng contracts but he felt he could do better and eventually QPR came calling to sign up the then 21-year-old. Although QPR could see the potential in Dieng, he had limited first-team experience, and none in England, so they sent him on loan to learn his trade.
Dieng got to learn about the realities of non-league football. First he joined Whitehawk in the National League South and later Hampton & Richmond. “I always wanted to play in England,” Dieng says. “It was an eye-opening experience in non-league with the conditions down there. I did not like to do it but you have to go through that phase at these clubs and play with this level of teams. It was definitely anexperience.”
It took more than four years – and five loans – after joining QPR for Dieng to make his league debut for the club in September 2020. Since then, he has become their undisputed first-choice goalkeeper. Dieng is a laid-back character, unflustered by pressure. His 6ft 4in frame make him a fine shot stopper and good under the high ball, not to mention dangerous in the opponent’s box.
He earned a dramatic point late on early this season when he pounced at Sunderland in injury-time but still had to make a crucial double save to make sure his deeds at the other end were not wasted. His other goal was for Whitehawk at Chippenham in 2017. “I played out of net until I was 14; I still have a little bit of the instincts,” jokes Dieng, who has 18 months on his contract.
Dieng admits he did not think he would become QPR’s No 1. “To be honest, no,” he says. “I never doubted that I could get to where I am but after my Doncaster loan I didn’t expect to be playing for QPR. I thought I would be leaving the club but it turned out differently and I am very glad about that.”
He is happy too that Beale stayed loyal to QPR. “He is a very good manager, he’s had a great impact, put us in the right direction and the position where we are now,” Dieng says. “The important thing is we carry on with the way that they have brought in and it can be a very good season. There is much more to do. I’ve made no secret that I want to play in the Premier League. Maybe it is with QPR – we will find out.”
Sheffield United were denied the chance to go top of the Championship after South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham triumphed at Bramall Lane for the first time in 42 years.
Ben Wiles scored the decisive first-half goal after Chiedozie Ogbene drifted into the box and found the Millers captain unmarked to coolly turn the ball home.
Enda Stevens had the ball in the back of the net before the break as the Blades searched for a leveller, but the scrambled effort was ruled out for offside.
Viktor Johansson kept a fierce John Egan shot out early in the second half and dealt with a late Oli McBurnie effort, while substitute Billy Sharp also headed wide for a Blades side that failed to take anything from a game they dominated.
Josh Ruffels scored his first two goals for Huddersfield – including an audacious winner – as the Championship’s bottom side overcame high-flying QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road.
Lyndon Dykes had taken just 81 seconds to put the hosts ahead in his 100th appearance for the club, with the opener coming just moments after Seny Dieng kept Danny Ward out in a one-on-one at the other end.
The Terriers were quick to respond as the frenzied early pace of the game continued, with Ruffels levelling with a powerful finish into the top corner. The defender decisively beat Dieng again with a hooked overhead finish from the top of the box before the break.
Luton manager Nathan Jones says he will speak to Southampton about their managerial vacancy on Wednesday, but has insisted that a move to the Premier League club is “not a done deal”.
Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at Stoke City, the Welshman said it was a “wonderful honour” to be approached and added: “I hope the fans understand why I’m going for the chat because it’s a different world in the Premier League. I want to be there one day, whether that’s with Luton or with someone else. It’s just an opportunity to go and chat and to find out if it is right for me.”
Jones’ side conceded twice inside the first 13 minutes, both goals coming from left-wing crosses by Morgan Fox. Nick Powell arrived late in the box to head in the opener before Tom Lockyer, under pressure from Liam Delap, diverted into his own net.
Joao Pedro’s double was enough for a victory over Reading that sent Watford into the Championship playoff places. The Brazilian forward scored a goal in each half to give the Hornets a sixth win in 10 games since Slaven Bilic took charge.
Pedro calmly converted from the spot after he had been fouled by Ovie Ejaria as Reading failed to clear a Watford corner. And he wrapped up a deserved victory with a controlled half-volley past substitute goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis late on.
Michael Carrick’s outstanding Middlesbrough dominated Blackpool to claim a 3-0 victory at Bloomfield Road and leap four places to 16th.
Rejuvenated Boro went ahead following Isaiah Jones’ 15th-minute strike and never relinquished control. Carrick’s team scored the second goal their superiority merited when Marcus Forss crashed in a penalty three minutes after half-time.
The excellent Chuba Akpom converted Ryan Giles’ low 65th-minute cross for his fourth goal in four games to end any lingering doubts over the outcome.
Boro, who were winless in their opening six away games this season, have now won three out of four on the road following this emphatic success. Carrick has taken seven points from four games since his appointment last month.
Liam Rosenior was impressed with what he saw from Hull in the 3-2 win at Cardiff despite only having three training sessions with his new team. The former defender took over the Tigers last week and has picked up four points from his first two games.
Having dominated the first half in the Welsh capital, Hull only had a fourth-minute goal from Dimitrios Pelkas to show for their efforts. The boos from the Cardiff fans as the team left the field for half-time showed what they thought of the performance.
Callum Robinson then scored 90 seconds into the second half before crossing for Gavin Whyte to head the home side ahead. But Regan Slater fired in two goals in as many minutes to steal the show to give Rosenior his first win at Hull.
Troy Deeney’s late goal saw Birmingham City claim a point from an entertaining 2-2 draw with Swansea City. Swansea had looked set for a comeback victory having fallen behind to Scott Hogan’s early header.
Olivier Ntcham’s fine 20-yard drive brought the visitors level at St Andrew’s before a rare goal from Swansea captain Matt Grimes. But veteran Blues skipper Deeney struck from point-blank range to salvage a point for John Eustace’s side.
Coventry continued their recent revival as they registered a third consecutive Championship win by beating out-of-form Wigan. The Sky Blues pressed for the opener and were rewarded as the game wore on as Gustavo Hamer fired home a deflected shot. Thelo Aasgaard headed Max Power’s delivery straight at Coventry keeper Ben Wilson as Wigan pushed for a leveller but Viktor Gyökeres pounced on Josh Eccles’ ball to wrap up the win late on.
Oli McBurnie scored twice as Sheffield United produced a superb second-half display to beat leaders Burnley 5-2 in a pulsating contest at Bramall Lane. The Blades twice trailed but scored four goals after the break to blow away the Clarets, who struggled to cope with the home side’s attack.
Burnley took the lead after 17 minutes in an action-packed first half when Manuel Benson looked to curl in an effort from the right. The forward’s shot took a big deflection off the head of Jack Robinson and past a helpless Wes Foderingham.The away side should have made it two just moments later but an unmarked Taylor Harwood-Bellis failed to direct his header on target.
United levelled in controversial circumstances on the half hour mark. A corner was awarded when it ought to have been a goal-kick and the Blades took full advantage when Iliman Ndiaye bundled in from close range.
There was almost an immediate response from Vincent Kompany’s men but Ian Maatsen’s fierce drive kissed the crossbar as it flew just over Foderingham’s goal.
The home side could have gone in front themselves when McBurnie stabbed towards goal but it was cleared off the line by Harwood-Bellis.
Burnley regained the lead on the stroke of half time, capitalising on a mistake from the Robinson as Benson picked his pocket and curled confidently into the bottom corner.
The Blades made a dream start to the second half with a equaliser on 48 minutes. Anel Ahmedhodzic nodded a ball into the box back across goal and McBurnie’s diving header levelled things up again at 2-2.
The home side thought they had a third when Ndiaye poked in after Arijanet Muric’s save from another McBurnie header but the flag was rightly raised for offside.
Robinson made up for his first-half struggles when he put United in front in the 64th minute, using his knee to loop the ball into the net. Fellow defender Ahmedhodzic got in on the act on 69 minutes, finishing emphatically into the top corner and once again highlighting Burnley’s difficulty dealing with the Blades’ set pieces. McBurnie put some real daylight between the sides on 74 minutes, following in after Muric’s low save.
United could have added even more glamour to the scoreline but it remained at 5-2, a well-deserved victory for the high-flying Blades.
Hull City have confirmed the appointment ofLiam Rosenior as their head coach. The former Derby manager has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at the club where he played from 2010 to 2015.
Rosenior joins with Hull 21st in the Championship after Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat by Middlesbrough, which he watched from the stands. The 38-year-old was removed as Derby manager in late September. He had been in interim charge for 12 games after Wayne Rooney left, having assisted the former England captain and been a coach under Phillip Cocu there.
Rosenior’s first match is at Millwall on Saturday and he has two more – at Cardiff and at home to Reading – before the Championship season breaks for the World Cup. He succeeds Shota Arveladze, who was sacked after eight months.
Rosenior was part of the Hull team that won promotion to the Premier League in 2013 and reached the 2014 FA Cup final. He coached at Brighton before joining Derby.
Andy Dawson, who has been in interim charge of Hull, will remain on the staff.
Goals in added time from the substitutes Manuel Benson and Halil Dervisoglu saw Burnley again come from behind to win as they beat Rotherham 3-2. The Millers appeared to have pulled off a stunning away win as goals from Ben Wiles and substitute Chiedozie Ogbene twice edged them in front, with Jay Rodriguez providing Burley’s reply.
But the Yorkshire side finally succumbed after Bramall was dismissed for two yellow cards in the 75th minute, setting up Benson for another late rescue act. The Belgian had stepped off the bench to provide a goal and an assist and turn around Saturday’s game against Reading, and this time he curled in a lovely effort in the first minute of added time before playing a part in Dervisoglu’s winner in the 10th minute of stoppage time as the Clarets extended their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Norwich and QPR sharing the spoils in an entertaining goalless draw between two promotion contenders. There were plenty of chances at both ends, with both goalkeepers making excellent stops to keep the scoreline level.
The woodwork also came into play on three occasions, the last of them. coming from the last kick of the game from the home captain Grant Hanley. Teemu Pukki also hit a post for the home side, while Chris Wilcock followed suit for Rangers as the game ended in a draw and kept the fourth-placed visitors two points clear of their opponents.
Sunderland midfielder Alex Pritchard’s first goal since February helped consign his old club Huddersfield to a 2-0 home defeat. Ex-England under-21 international Pritchard struck early in the second half and the on-loan Manchester United winger Amad Diallo wrapped up matters in the sixth minute of stoppage time to leave Huddersfield anchored to the bottom of the Championship table.
Defeat also meant that the Terriers are now without a league win against the Black Cats in nine contests – a sequence stretching back to 1986. Sunderland are 12th in the table with 24 points.
Watford made it back-to-back away wins as they beat Cardiff 2-1 to move up into the playoff places. It was a fourth win in a row at Cardiff for the visitors and a fifth win in eight games under their new manager Slaven Bilic.
The Hornets replaced Swansea in sixth place with goals from Francisco Sierralta and Ismaïla Sarr completing their fightback after Cédric Kipré had given the home side the lead.
Josh Tymon’s goal just after the hour mark was enough to give Stoke an important 1-0 victory at fellow strugglers Wigan. With the two sides having slipped to third and fourth-bottom respectively after Tuesday’s matches, the stakes were high.
Stoke broke the deadlock just after the hour mark. Tymon driving through the left channel and smashing the ball under the exposed Jones. Wigan immediately went all in, sending on the strikers Josh Magennis and Charlie Wyke for Nathan Broadhead and Darikwa. But they were unable to really lay a glove on the Stoke defence and it needed a mixture of Jones and Whatmough to desperately clear the ball as Stoke threatened a second in the closing stages.
Birmingham and Millwall played out a dull goalless draw at St Andrew’s in which the visitors showed the bulk of the meagre attacking flair and intent on show. The point keeps Millwall ninth, two points off the Championship playoff places, while Birmingham slip one place to 13th.
Jamie Allen dragged Coventry out of the Championship relegation zone as he denied Blackburn the chance to go top. Allen fired City in front four minutes before the break and Rovers’ hopes of a fightback were effectively dashed five minutes from time when the substitute Jake Garrett was dismissed for a foul on Callum Doyle.
Coventry climbed a point clear of the relegation zone as a result of their 1-0 win, while Blackburn could find themselves five points adrift of the leaders Burnley if they beat Rotherham on Wednesday evening.
Iliman Ndiaye’s header dragged Sheffield United to within a point of Rovers after a 1-0 victory at Bristol City. Ndiaye struck four minutes after the restart to hand the visitors the advantage, although the goalkeeper Wes Foderingham needed the help of an upright to preserve his clean sheet after George Tanner took aim from distance.
Tanner’s evening took a further turn for the worse deep into stoppage time when he was sent off for an ugly challenge on James McAtee which sparked something of a melee.
It proved a better night for the new managers Michael Carrick and Carlos Corberán as both tasted victory for the first time in their posts.
Carrick’s Middlesbrough won 3-1 at Hull, with a significant helping hand from their hosts. Chuba Akpom headed Boro into a 30th-minute lead from Tommy Smith’s cross, but Hull responded and, after Jean Michaël Seri had rattled a post, the Boro old boy Cyrus Christie levelled on the hour in front of the watching Liam Rosenior, who is expected to be named as Shota Arveladze’s replacement on Wednesday.
However, the visitors were back in front within three minutes when Tobias Figueiredo bundled into his own net under pressure from Dael Fry, and Christie was similarly unfortunate when he defected Ryan Giles’ cross past his own keeper with 10 minutes remaining.
West Brom’s need was even greater as Corberán guided them to a 1-0 victory against Blackpool in his second game at the helm even after furious fans turned on the owner Guochuan Lai. They left it late, however, with Okay Yokuslu making the decisive intervention with just five minutes remaining to end West Brom’s three-match losing streak and clinch a first home win since 20 August.
Albion fans mobilised against Lai in the 12th minute with the chairman, in charge since 2016, the target of their anger having borrowed £5m from the club during the Covid pandemic. The home supporters turned on their torches to ‘shine a light’ on the club’s problems, a move planned by group Action for Albion, and chanted for Lai to go.
A Brad Potts goal was enough to hand Preston victory against high-flying Swansea. Potts put the home side ahead on the half-hour mark when he followed up after Ched Evans’ attempt had been saved, in the process sending Preston level on points with sixth-placed Swansea.
Luton and Reading had to make do with a point apiece after a 0-0 draw at Kenilworth Road on a night when Jeff Hendrick and Andy Carroll both went close for the visitors after the break.
Coventry have reached a ‘time to pay’ agreement with HM Revenue and Customs following “cashflow imbalances” caused by early-season match postponements.
The first four games of the Sky Blues’ campaign were affected when the pitch at the Coventry Building Society (CBS) Arena was deemed “unsafe and unplayable”, with three games postponed and a Carabao Cup clash with Bristol City played at Burton. A further match was called off in September due to the death of the Queen.
The club said the agreement gives them “an extended period of time to pay HMRC and ensure that our legal commitments to them continue to be met”.
Coventry will be unable to sign players until they have met the terms but, with the agreement due to end in December, it is not expected to affect their ability to do business in the January transfer window.
Sky Blues chief executive Dave Boddy said on the club’s website: “As we have indicated in recent weeks, the postponement of four out of five home league games at the start of this season has had a significant impact on the club and our current cashflow. The Wasps/ACL (Arena Coventry Limited) position has presented some serious challenges to the football club and the sporting performance, and distress to our supporters, and is continuing to do so.
“This has been combined with the club providing initial finance for the pitch improvements, though overall we will not pay any additional costs on top of our rent agreement at the Arena. This agreement with HMRC will help us in the running of the club in the short term and ensure our commitments continue to be met, and we have already paid three of the six required instalments. .
Meanwhile, the club insisted on Sunday afternoon that, while they are “exploring alternative back-up venues”, they “still hope” they can hold Tuesday’s Sky Bet Championship match against Blackburn at the CBS Arena.
Anass Zaroury headed a dramatic Burnley winner deep into added time as they came from behind to beat Reading 2-1 at Turf Moor.
The goal came after Manuel Benson’s equaliser had levelled Tom Ince’s opener, as the Clarets extended their unbeaten record to 15 in the league and stayed above neighbours Blackburn.
Ince’s goal had given Reading a second-half lead in a tight encounter, raising hopes that his father Paul’s team could build on last week’s victory over Bristol City that ended a run of three defeats. But the Clarets had the final word thanks to the Belgium U21 international Zaroury, who gave Reading problems throughout.
Blackburn sealed a hard-earned 1-0 victory at managerless Hull. Rovers have now won four games in a row and left East Yorkshire with three more deserved points thanks to a cool 15th-minute effort from Sammie Szmodics.
The hosts, who look set to announce Liam Rosenior as their new manager, had enjoyed a mini resurgence under interim head coach Andy Dawson, but lacked the imagination to land a blow on their well-organised opponents.
Carlos Corberan is convinced he can solve West Brom’s problems after starting his reign with a bruising 2-0 home defeat against Sheffield United. First-half goals from Iliman Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie gave Albion a mountain to climb, and they were booed off at full-time. They languish in the relegation zone after just one win in 12 games.
“I believe in the players we have and in the work we need to do to change this situation and this momentum,” said Corberan. “I will decide one way to work and we will go that way in any circumstance. We need to start with a high level of a strong mentality.”
Norwich turned in an improved second-half performance to beat Stoke 3-1 and record their first win in seven league games. The Canaries were below par for long periods but stuck to their task and followed up a goal late in the first half with two in the second to get their promotion campaign back on track.
Teenage midfielder Aaron Ramsey was the star, scoring twice to put Norwich 2-0 up in a match which could have gone either way, while substitute Gabriel Sara added a third before Nick Powell fired a late consolation for the visitors.
Nigel Pearson was proud of his illness-hit Bristol City side after they had the better of a 1-1 draw with high-flying Swansea. Tommy Conway fired the hosts in front in the midday kick-off with his eighth goal of the season on 24 minutes, a low drive from Nahki Wells’ perfectly-paced pass. But other chances went begging and the Swans levelled on 76 minutes, substitute Olivier Ntcham firing home with a deflected volley from 20 yards when a corner was cleared into his path.
Pearson was without four centre-backs, including Rob Atkinson, who pulled out shortly before the game with the bug that had affected several other players during the week. “We have had numerous players under medication,” Pearson said, “but we restricted a very good Swansea side to few chances. We’ll take a head count of fit players tomorrow. At the moment, I have no idea who will be available for Tuesday.”
João Pedro headed home the only goal with three minutes left at the DW Stadium to give improving Watford a 1-0 victory at strugglers Wigan. Pedro’s effort earned Slaven Bilic’s side a third win in four games, leaving them two points off the play-off places. Wigan, though, have lost six of their last seven and sit two points above the relegation zone.
Elliot Embleton came off the bench to score a second-half equaliser as Sunderland earned a 1-1 draw at Luton. Both sides were denied by the woodwork before Carlton Morris put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time, but the impressive Jack Clarke set up Embleton for the leveller.
Huddersfield moved off the foot of the table with a dominant display in a 1-0 home win over Millwall. The visitors, who had won four on the trot heading into the fixture, could not recover from an early setback when Yuta Nakayama opened the scoring in freakish fashion with a miscued cross.
Michael Carrick had an immediate insight into the cold realities of full-time football management when Jordan Storey’s stoppage-time goal earned Preston a 2-1 comeback victory over Middlesbrough.
Carrick, who was appointed head coach on Teesside on Monday, enjoyed a promising start to his tenure when Chuba Akpom nodded Boro in front after eight minutes. But Emil Riis thrashed home his fifth goal of the campaign to equalise 10 minutes before the break, and Storey stole in to head home in the first of three added minutes.
Jerry Yates scored his seventh goal in five games as Blackpool came from behind to beat Coventry 2-1. Kasey Palmer’s first Coventry goal had put the hosts ahead before half-time but Gary Madine equalised after missing three fantastic first-half opportunities. Yates then headed Blackpool in front with 10 minutes to go to secure the Tangerines’ first away win in five.
Substitute Jaden Philogene’s second-half strike was enough to earn Cardiff a 1-0 home win over Rotherham. Philogene’s 65th-minute winner halted a run of three successive losses for Bluebirds’ interim manager Mark Hudson as they bounced back from last week’s derby defeat to Swansea.