Saturday, June 24, 2017

Championship review: Huddersfield close gap on Newcastle, Brighton

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Feb 2017

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Huddersfield Town gained ground on the Championship’s top two courtesy of a dramatic turnaround to win 3-2 at bottom side Rotherham United.

Tommy Smith struck in the 92nd minute to give David Wagner’s side all three points against their Yorkshire rivals, putting them within four of the automatic promotion spots.

Huddersfield were able to close the gap after leaders Newcastle United were held to a 2-2 draw at Norwich City, while Brighton and Hove Albion’s home match against Ipswich Town ended 1-1.

On a goal-filled matchday, a late turnaround for Reading saw them defeat Brentford 3-2 to stay in touch with the top three, but they have played an extra game.

PROMOTION RACE HEATS UP

After Semi Ajayi and Joe Lolley traded first-half strikes, Rotherham looked to be heading for a first win in six when Tom Adeyemi struck from 25 yards with 19 minutes remaining.

However, Elias Kachunga equalised before Smith drilled a half-volley home from the edge of the box in stoppage time, leaving manager Wagner delighted.

“It was a last-minute winner, but not a lucky win,” he said. “People said [back-to-back wins against] Brighton and Leeds was a statement – this was a real statement. We showed character and quality tonight.”

DARLOW HOWLER PROVES COSTLY

Although Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle the lead after just 23 seconds, they needed a late equaliser from Jamaal Lascelles in order to leave Carrow Road with a share of the spoils.

That was primarily down to goalkeeper Karl Darlow gifting Cameron Jerome a goal to put Norwich 2-1 up when he miss-kicked a routine clearance, allowing the striker to tuck into an empty net.

Fortunately for Darlow, Brighton’s draw means Newcastle remain one point clear at the summit. 

PLAY-OFF SOLIDIFICATION

With seventh-placed Norwich denied a win, Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday consolidated their spots in the top six with victories.

Leeds maintained their impressive home form by beating Bristol City 2-1 at Elland Road, while Wednesday overcame Blackburn Rovers by the same scoreline thanks to a first-half double from Vincent Sasso.

Blackburn’s misery was compounded when Hope Akpan was shown a red card for pushing referee Scott Duncan having seen his goal disallowed.

WIGAN EDGE TOWARDS SAFETY

It may have come late, but Jake Buxton’s header in the 88th minute could prove huge in Wigan Athletic’s hopes of survival.

The defender’s effort secured a 1-0 victory at Wolves, moving Warren Joyce’s team to within two points of Burton Albion and safety.

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