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Championship MatchDay 45 Review

last updated Monday 30th April 2018, 11:43 AM

Championship MatchDay 45 Review

Cardiff took a huge step towards automatic promotion from the Championship as captain Sean Morrison scored a double to fire his side to a 2-0 victory at Hull on Saturday.

The centre-back scored a goal in either half as the Bluebirds overcame a nervy start to set up a potential promotion party when relegation-threatened Reading visit next Sunday.

Championship Results - MatchDay 45
KO Home Away TV
Friday April 27th 2018
19:45 Fulham 2-1 Sunderland Sky
Saturday April 28th 2018
15:00 Aston Villa 1-1 Derby
15:00 Barnsley 2-0 Brentford  
15:00 Burton 2-0 Bolton
15:00 Hull 0-2 Cardiff
15:00 Norwich 2-1 Leeds
15:00 N. Forest 0-0 Bristol C
15:00 QPR 3-1 Birmingham
15:00 Reading 0-4 Ipswich
15:00 Sheff Utd 0-1 Preston
15:00 Wolves 0-0 Sheff Wed  
17:90 Middlesbrough 2-0 Millwall Sky
League Table
Fulham had reclaimed second spot on Friday evening with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Sunderland, with goals from Lucas Piazon and Aleksandar Mitrovic, but they are still one point behind Cardiff heading into their last game at struggling Birmingham.

Derby missed the opportunity to secure their play-off place as Aston Villa hit back to claim a 1-1 draw. Cameron Jerome put the Rams in front early on, but Lewis Grabban equalised six minutes from time.

The result ended Villa's slim automatic promotion hopes, while Derby had to wait on the evening game between fifth-placed Middlesbrough and Millwall, who are three points adrift of both teams.

Middlesbrough guaranteed their place in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs after goals from Britt Assombalonga and Jonny Howson secured a 2-0 win over Millwall.

Boro have booked their play-off place with a game to spare, although the identity of their opponents will not be clear until they have completed their campaign at Ipswich next weekend. Millwall still have a statistical chance of claiming a play-off place.

Preston are two points off the top six after Alan Browne's second-half goal gave Alex Neil's side a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, whose own play-off hopes are over.

Burton made it three straight wins against relegation rivals Bolton with a 2-0 triumph courtesy of first-half strikes from Hope Akpan and Lucas Akins, a result that left Bolton - who began the day outside the bottom three - a point from safety but Nigel Clough's side must get a result at Preston on the final day.

Barnsley beat Brentford 2-0 to move out of the drop zone by virtue of their vastly superior goal difference. Goals in either half from Kieffer Moore and Oliver McBurnie gave the Reds a crucial victory that left their fate in their own hands and ended Brentford's play-off bid.

Birmingham and Reading face an anxious week after both sides suffered defeats that left them two points above the drop zone.

Che Adams put Birmingham ahead at QPR but the hosts hit back to claim a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair and Matt Smith.

Martyn Waghorn, Jordan Spence, Freddie Sears and Callum Connolly all netted in the final 20 minutes as Ipswich hammered Reading 4-0.

Champions Wolves were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday, while a 0-0 stalemate at Nottingham Forest ended Bristol City's remote top-six chances.

Wes Hoolahan enjoyed a dream send-off as he engineered a 2-1 comeback win over Leeds on his final appearance for Norwich.

The 35-year-old midfielder brought the curtain down on a 10-year spell at Carrow Road by cancelling out Kalvin Phillips' opener before Josh Murphy completed the turnaround.

Friday April 27th 2018

19:45 Fulham 2-1 Sunderland Sky

Fulham moved back into the automatic promotion places but had to come from behind to beat relegated Sunderland.

The Black Cats, who are now sure to finish bottom, took a surprise lead through Joel Asoro's fine low strike.

The hosts were well short of their best but levelled on the stroke of half-time when Lucas Piazon slotted in.

Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home at the far post to put Fulham two points above Cardiff and send the Championship promotion race into the final weekend.

The battle to finish second behind champions Wolves is still in the Bluebirds' hands, with Neil Warnock's side able to climb back above the Cottagers if they beat Hull City on Saturday.

Regardless of the result at the KCOM Stadium, both teams are guaranteed to be in with a shot at securing promotion to the Premier League on the final day of the season - with Fulham visiting Birmingham and Cardiff hosting Reading on Sunday, 6 May.

Saturday April 28th 2018

15:00 Aston Villa 1-1 Derby

The race for the Championship play-off places will go to the final day of the season after Derby County were pegged back late on at Aston Villa.

The Rams had looked set to strengthen their hold on a top-six spot thanks to Cameron Jerome's low, first-half finish at a lively Villa Park.

But Lewis Grabban fired in from close range in the closing stages to earn fourth-placed Villa a point.

Cardiff's win at Hull ended Villa's hopes of automatic promotion.

The draw at Villa Park ensured Derby will start the final day in the play-off places, keeping their top-six ambitions in their hands.

15:00 Barnsley 2-0 Brentford  

Barnsley moved out of the Championship relegation zone with one game remaining thanks to a hard-fought win that ended visitors Brentford's play-off hopes.

Kieffer Moore opened the scoring against the run of play when his attempted cross went in off the post.

After the break, Oliver McBurnie's far-post header from a corner doubled the hosts' lead, helping them towards only their third win since New Year's Day.

Brentford's top-six chances were ended as Derby took a point at Aston Villa.

Barnsley could have been relegated on Saturday if they had failed to win, depending on other results, but they will now start the final day of the season outside the drop zone on goal difference.

The Tykes stayed level on points with rivals Burton Albion, as they both leapfrogged Bolton Wanderers - who lost 2-0 to the Brewers.

But Barnsley will now avoid the drop if they match or better both Burton and Bolton's results away at Derby on Sunday, 6 May.

15:00 Burton 2-0 Bolton

Burton Albion ensured the battle for survival in the Championship will go to the final day after beating fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

Hope Akpan lashed in an angled effort and Lucas Akins poked home following a scramble in the box to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Filipe Morais went close after the break for Bolton, who are seven without a win and drop into the bottom three.

Burton move up to 22nd, level on 41 points with 21st-placed Barnsley.

Defeats for Reading and Birmingham mean Burton's prospects of staying up are much improved, with a trip to play-off hopefuls Preston on Sunday, 6 May.

Wanderers are a point from safety but, because of their vastly inferior goal difference, will have to win their game at home to Nottingham Forest and hope two of Birmingham, Barnsley or Burton drop points.

15:00 Hull 0-2 Cardiff

Cardiff City secured a vital win at Hull City to ensure their automatic promotion hopes remain in their hands.

Two goals from skipper Sean Morrison mean Cardiff will join Wolves in the Premier League if they match third-placed Fulham's result next Sunday.

Cardiff host Reading while Fulham visit Birmingham, with both opponents still in danger of being relegated.

Morrison headed Cardiff ahead before rounding off a breakaway move that made the result safe for the Bluebirds.

The Tigers had lost just one of their last nine home league matches against Cardiff. But in truth they never threatened the Welsh side, who kept their nerve when it mattered.

15:00 Norwich 2-1 Leeds

Wes Hoolahan scored on his final home appearance for Norwich as his side came from behind to defeat Leeds United.

Kalvin Phillips opened the scoring for Leeds with a fantastic half-volley from 25 yards out.

Hoolahan, captain for the day, equalised five minutes later with a deflected shot which looped over Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Ex-Republic of Ireland player Hoolahan, 35, then assisted Josh Murphy, who fired in to complete the comeback.

Norwich rose to 12th in the table, while Leeds fell to 14th.

15:00 N. Forest 0-0 Bristol C

Nottingham Forest missed a second-half penalty in a goalless draw against Bristol City.

Forest's Ben Osborn was brought down in the penalty area by Robins goalkeeper Frank Fielding.

But former Bristol City forward Lee Tomlin saw his tame spot-kick well saved by Fielding.

Andreas Bouchalakis also came close with a header as Forest dominated much of the game, with the result ending City's faint play-off hopes.

15:00 QPR 3-1 Birmingham

Birmingham's fight against Championship relegation will go to the final day after they were defeated at QPR.

Blues took the lead midway through the first half when Che Adams fired in Jacques Maghoma's delivery.

But youngsters Bright Osayi-Samuel and Ilias Chair each struck home their first R's goal to put the hosts ahead.

Matt Smith sealed the win when he scored in off the post, leaving Blues in 20th, two points above the drop zone going into the last round of fixtures.

Birmingham would have sealed their Championship status with a victory but their fate will now be decided on a day when they face a Fulham side looking for automatic promotion.

15:00 Reading 0-4 Ipswich

Reading failed to secure their Championship status following a heavy home defeat by mid-table Ipswich.

After a goalless first half Martyn Waghorn broke the deadlock with a spin and shot after being well found by Jordan Spence.

And Waghorn returned the favour soon afterwards, playing in Spence, who scored with a stunning shot.

Substitute Freddie Sears tapped in the third goal before Callum Connolly completed the scoring in stoppage time.

Four goals in a frenetic final 20 minutes leaves Paul Clement's Royals just two points above the Championship relegation zone, with their final fixture away at promotion-chasing Cardiff City on Sunday, 6 May.

15:00 Sheff Utd 0-1 Preston

Alan Browne's second-half winner kept alive Preston North End's Championship play-off hopes, but ended those of Sheffield United.

Browne poked home the winner, pouncing when Blades goalkeeper Jamal Blackman parried Josh Harrop's shot.

United had the best chance of a cagey first half, Leon Clarke forcing a point-blank save from Declan Rudd.

The win brought Preston within two points of Derby County in the final play-off spot.

15:00 Wolves 0-0 Sheff Wed  

Sheffield Wednesday held Championship title-winners Wolves to a goalless draw at a drizzly Molineux.

In a first half of few chances Wolves came the closest through Benik Afobe's low shot from an acute angle and Romain Saiss's close-range header.

The hosts almost took the lead from the restart through two Diogo Jota low strikes and Danny Batth's header.

The Owls showed little in attack but denied Wolves a fifth successive win prior to lifting the league trophy.

The Molineux side had already wrapped up the Championship title going into the game, after their 4-0 win against Bolton last time around, but they struggled to convert chances against a Sheffield Wednesday side that could not get into the game.

The result means Wolves - on 99 points - will have to wait until their trip to relegated Sunderland on the last day of the season if they are to cross the 100 mark for the second time in five seasons.

17:30 Middlesbrough 2-0 Millwall Sky

Middlesbrough secured their place in the play-offs with a win that all but ends Millwall's own promotion hopes.

Britt Assombalonga showed good composure to fire the hosts in front before the break.

A defensive mix-up between Lions goalkeeper Jordan Archer and defender Jake Cooper allowed Jonny Howson to tap in a second.

Defeat means Millwall's top-six hopes now rely on them beating Aston Villa and Preston and Derby not winning.

The game was marred at full-time when dozens of home supporters ran onto the pitch and started goading Millwall fans in the away end.

Plastic bottles were thrown by both sets of fans and it took about 10 minutes for police to restore order as the two groups tried to get at each other.

MatchDay 45 table
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Championship Fixtures - MatchDay 46
KO Home Away TV
Sunday May 6th 2018
12:30 Birmingham v Fulham
12:30 Bolton v N. Forest  
12:30 Brentford v Hull
12:30 Bristol C v Sheff Utd  
12:30 Cardiff v Reading
12:30 Derby v Barnsley
12:30 Ipswich v Middlesbrough
12:30 Leeds v QPR
12:30 Millwall v Aston Villa  
12:30 Preston v Burton
12:30 Sheff Wed v Norwich
12:30 Sunderland v Wolves
League Table

Source BBC Sport/SkySports
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