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Championship Matchday 24 Review

last updated Thursday 28th December 2017, 1:50 PM

Championship Matchday 24 Review
Championship Fixtures - MatchDay 24
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Tuesday 26th December 2017
13:00 Millwall 2-2 Wolves -
15:00 Barnsley 0-0 Preston  -
15:00 Birmingham 0-2 Norwich -
15:00 Bristol C 2-0 Reading -
15:00 Burton 1-2 Leeds Sky
15:00 Cardiff 2-4 Fulham -
15:00 Hull 0-0 Derby -
15:00 Ipswich 0-0 QPR -
15:00 Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton -
15:00 N. Forest 0-3 Sheff Wed -
15:00 Sheff Utd 3-0 Sunderland -
19:30 Brentford 2-1 Aston Villa Sky
League Table
Wolves extended their lead at the top of the Championship table to eight points after Cardiff failed to capitalise on their 2-2 draw at Millwall.

Nuno Espirito Santo's league leaders were forced to settle for a point at The Den as Millwall defender Jake Cooper headed home a second-half equaliser in a pulsating clash.

Lee Gregory had put the Lions in front in the 17th minute but Diogo Jota levelled and Romain Saiss then handed the visitors the lead after 56 minutes.

Despite the slip-up in the early kick-off, Wolves still increased their unbeaten run to 10 games and the point proved to be valuable due to Cardiff's 4-2 defeat at home to Fulham.

Tim Ream and Floyd Ayite had the Cottagers 2-0 up after 56 minutes before a stunning strike from Kenneth Zohore reduced the deficit at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Ryan Sessegnon made it 3-1 in the 78th minute and Stefan Johansen capped the victory after Callum Paterson's header in added time briefly gave the Bluebirds hope.

Bristol City moved above Cardiff on goal difference and into the automatic promotion places after a 2-0 win over Reading at Ashton Gate.

Substitute Jamie Paterson curled in a stunning effort in the 68th minute before being replaced by Lloyd Kelly, who sealed the points in added time to extend City's unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions

Birmingham remain rooted to the foot of the table, three points adrift of safety, after a 2-0 defeat at home to Norwich.

Alex Pritchard gave the Canaries the lead in the 33rd minute and Josh Murphy secured victory with 19 minutes remaining.

Tony Pulis watched on from the stands as Middlesbrough beat second-bottom Bolton 2-0 in the first game since Garry Monk's departure.

Martin Braithwaite put the hosts in front with a deflected shot in the 48th minute and Britt Assombalonga swept home a second nine minutes later.

Brentford overcame sustained pressure from Steve Bruce's Aston Villa to record a 2-1 victory in the day's late game at Griffin Park.

Romaine Sawyers drew first blood for the Bees when he arrowed a shot past Sam Johnstone from 20 yards, before Josh Onomah headed Villa level and Lasse Vibe turned home the winner early in the second half.

Sheffield United claimed their first win in seven games while Sunderland remain in the relegation zone following a 3-0 defeat at Bramall Lane.

John Lundstram opened the scoring after 36 minutes while Richard Stearman and George Baldock added quickfire second-half efforts to keep the Blades in the play-off places.

Leeds came from behind to beat Burton 2-1 and extend their winning run to four games.

Tom Naylor swept home the opener for Burton at the back post following Lucas Akins' low cross on the half-hour mark.

Pablo Hernandez levelled for Leeds with a 61st-minute free-kick and Kemar Roofe fired home from the edge of the box three minutes later to turn the game on its head.

Sheffield Wednesday began life without Carlos Carvalhal with a 3-0 victory at Nottingham Forest.

A fantastic strike from Adam Reach opened the scoring in the fifth minute before Jordan Rhodes added a penalty and Lucas Joao notched a neat third after 65 minutes.

QPR midfielder Josh Scowen was sent off in the 0-0 stalemate at Ipswich while Barnsley and Hull also played out goalless draws against Preston and Derby respectively.

Tuesday 26th December 2017

13:00 Millwall 2-2 Wolves -

Millwall came from behind to claim a draw as Championship leaders Wolves failed to win in the capital for the third time this season.

Wolves old boy Jed Wallace's fast break and pass set up Lee Gregory to put Millwall in front on 17 minutes.

Recalled Helder Costa then set up Diogo Jota's first-half injury time equaliser before supplying the pull-back for Romain Saiss' 25-yard strike.
But Jake Cooper levelled with a close-range header on 72 minutes.

Wolves failed to deal with a far-post corner, as Shaun Hutchinson was allowed to direct a looping header back across goal and Cooper got there first to bundle in a header.

Nuno Espirito Santo's pacesetters are now eight points clear at the top, having won eight times in a 10-match unbeaten run since losing to QPR at Loftus Road in late October - and they were also held to a goalless early season draw at Brentford.

15:00 Barnsley 0-0 Preston  -

Barnsley failed to score for a fourth successive home game as they were held to a goalless draw by Preston.

The visitors created the better chances and went close to scoring in the first half when Jordan Hugill's shot at the end of a counter-attack hit the post.

The hosts did not manage an effort on target until the last 10 minutes.

But when they did, Preston goalkeeper Chris Maxwell saved superbly from both Harvey Barnes and Stevie Mallan within 60 seconds of each other.

The closest the Tykes had previously gone was when Gary Gardner fired over from Tom Bradshaw's lay-off. Their last Championship goal at Oakwell came from Zeki Fryers in a 2-0 win over Birmingham on 4 November. They have now gone nine games without a win since that victory over Blues.

Barnsley were playing their first home game since being taken over by a consortium including a Chinese billionaire and baseball pioneer Billy Beane, who inspired the Hollywood film 'Moneyball'.

But this draw, coupled with defeats for all four teams below them, means Paul Heckingbottom's side remain fifth from bottom but three points clear of the bottom three.

15:00 Birmingham 0-2 Norwich -

Norwich City scored a goal in each half to keep bottom club Birmingham City rooted to the foot of the Championship.

Alex Pritchard got the opener from a clever set-piece, angling into the top corner when James Maddison touched a low free-kick to the right.

Pritchard's reverse pass then sent Josh Murphy through to finish on 71 minutes, rounding home keeper David Stockdale to shoot home right-footed.

Steve Cotterill's disappointing Blues managed just two shots on target.

They have now won just twice in 13 matches under Cotterill, who received a public vote of confidence from the Blues board prior to Saturday's 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Injury-hit Birmingham, severely handicapped by their lack of strikers, have scored just five goals since Cotterill took charge.

15:00 Bristol C 2-0 Reading -

Bristol City climbed two places to second in the Championship table with two second-half goals to beat Reading.

Jamie Paterson broke the deadlock on 68 minutes with a superb right-footed shot into the top right corner.

Lloyd Kelly sealed victory in the third minute of injury time with a deflected shot which also found the top corner.

City are in the automatic promotion places, eight points behind Wolves, due to Cardiff's home loss to Fulham and Derby's failure to win at Hull.

Carabao Cup semi-finalists City's rise in the table means that their next game is now a top-of-the-table second v first clash with leaders Wolves at Ashton Gate this Saturday (30 December, 17:30 GMT).

15:00 Burton 1-2 Leeds Sky

In-form Leeds United earned a fourth consecutive victory as they came from behind to beat Burton Albion.

The Brewers took the lead against the run of play when defender Tom Naylor scored for the second successive game, tapping in a Lucas Akins cross.

Pablo Hernandez levelled with a beautifully measured free-kick before Kemar Roofe put Leeds in front with a fine finish three minutes later.

Defeat means Burton have now lost their past eight home matches.

Prior to Tuesday's win, Leeds had not managed to come from behind to claim all three points since a 3-2 success at Norwich in November 2016.

15:00 Cardiff 2-4 Fulham -

Cardiff City missed the chance to narrow the gap on leaders Wolves as they suffered a first home Championship defeat of the season against Fulham.

The visitors started fluently and led through Tim Ream's header and Floyd Ayite's tap-in.

Kenneth Zohore's 25-yard volley revitalised Cardiff, only for Ryan Sessegnon to slot in Fulham's third.

Callum Paterson's injury-time header set up a frantic finale but Stefan Johansen's chip sealed Fulham's win.

Cardiff drop to third place after Bristol City beat Reading to overtake the Bluebirds, who are now eight points adrift of Wolves - who drew at Millwall - at the Championship summit.

For Fulham, a third win in four games keeps them in 11th place in the table.

15:00 Hull 0-0 Derby -

Derby County stretched their unbeaten away Championship run to eight matches with a battling draw at Hull but missed the chance to go second in the table.

The Rams could have led inside a minute but David Nugent had a curling shot well saved by Allan McGregor.

Andreas Weimann also went close, but the hosts had the better opportunities.

Kamil Grosicki and Jon Toral each wasted two good chances and Nouha Dicko was also off target for the hosts, who remain in 19th after a cagey match.

Derby drop to fourth in the table but are now within two points of second-placed Bristol City, who overtook Cardiff City following the Welsh side's defeat against Fulham.

15:00 Ipswich 0-0 QPR -

Ipswich Town and Queens Park Rangers shared the points after a goalless draw at Portman Road in the Championship.

The visitors had the game's best chance after 50 minutes when Jordan Cousins' pass across the six-yard box was narrowly missed by Idrissa Sylla.

QPR midfielder Josh Scowen was sent off five minutes from time after seeing a second yellow for a foul on Grant Ward.

Scowen had received his first booking for kicking the ball away in the first half after a foul on Teddy Bishop.

Ipswich remain in 10th place, five points off the play-off spots, whilst QPR move eight points clear of the relegation zone.

15:00 Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton -

Middlesbrough beat Bolton in the Championship in their first game since Garry Monk's sacking, as new boss Tony Pulis watched on.

Pulis, appointed earlier on Boxing Day, was in the stands as Martin Braithwaite put Boro ahead with a shot which took a deflection off Bolton's David Wheater.

Braithwaite then assisted Britt Assombolonga who doubled Boro's lead.

Bolton offered little in response and stay in the relegation places, one point from safety.

Middlesbrough now sit in seventh place, three points off the play-off positions, whilst Bolton continue their poor away form, having not won on the road all season.

15:00 N. Forest 0-3 Sheff Wed -

Lee Bullen earned victory in his first game as interim manager as Sheffield Wednesday ended a seven-game winless run by beating Nottingham Forest.

Adam Reach's superb long-range shot and a Jordan Rhodes penalty put the Owls in control of an open match at the break.

Forest had missed four decent chances to level, notably through Barrie McKay.

But they were second best after Rhodes' spot-kick and Reach teed up Lucas Joao to seal an emphatic win and consign Forest to a fourth loss in six.

Wednesday moved up to 14th in the table, one point and one place behind Forest.

15:00 Sheff Utd 3-0 Sunderland -

Sheffield United picked up their first win in seven games with a comfortable victory over struggling Sunderland.

The Blades took a deserved lead when John Lundstram showed good composure to guide the ball home.

Richard Stearman doubled their advantage with a header from Mark Duffy's free-kick after the break before George Baldock headed a third.

Defeat leaves Chris Coleman's side 22nd in the Championship, one point adrift of safety.

Victory for Chris Wilder's men saw them move back into the play-off positions.

19:30 Brentford 2-1 Aston Villa Sky

Aston Villa slipped out of the Championship play-off places after defeat at Brentford extended their winless run to five games.

Romaine Swayers put the Bees in front with a low 20-yard drive but Josh Onomah headed Villa level by half-time.

But Lasse Vibe fired home from six yards after Villa failed to clear a corner to seal Brentford's win. Steve Bruce's side slip to eighth after Sheffield United and Middlesbrough won, three points outside the top six.

But more worrying for Bruce is the fact that Villa have not won this month, taking only three points from a possible 15 since beating Ipswich at Villa Park on 25 November.

And with games against Boro and Bristol City looming in the next week, he will have also been concerned by the loss of top scorer Albert Adomah to injury early in the first half. Brentford have now lost only twice in their past 17 league matches.

Matchday 24 table
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Championship Fixtures - MatchDay 25
KO Home   Away TV
Friday 29th December 2017
19:45 Cardiff v Preston Sky
19:45 Millwall v QPR  -
Saturday 30th December 2017
15:00 Barnsley v Reading -
15:00 Birmingham v Leeds -
15:00 Brentford v Sheff Wed -
15:00 Burton v Norwich -
15:00 Hull v Fulham -
15:00 Ipswich v Derby -
15:00 Middlesbrough v Aston Villa -
15:00 N. Forest v Sunderland -
15:00 Sheff Utd v Bolton -
17:30 Bristol C v WolvesWolves Sky
League Table

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