Friday, February 22, 2019

Championship Review – Matchday 28

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 22 Jan 2019

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Leeds United’s lead at the top of the Championship stands at just one point after they were beaten by Stoke City at the Bet 365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

After a goalless first half, the hosts took the lead four minutes into the second through Sam Clucas while they were given a further advantage when Pontus Jansson was dismissed for a second bookable offence with fourteen minutes to play.

Joe Allen then added a second two minutes from town before Egzijan Alioski grabbed a stoppage-time consolation.

The victory was Stoke’s first in seven games in all competitions and takes them to within eight points of the top six with eighteen left to play.

Flight

That defeat for Marcelo Bielsa’s side means that Norwich City are now just a point behind them after they beat Birmingham City 3 -1 on Friday evening – their first win in five league games.

All the goals came in the first twenty-five minutes with Teemu Pukki putting the Canaries in from on thirteen minutes, and Che Adams levelling just seventy-two seconds later.

Two more quick fire strikes from Mario Vrancic and Tom Trybull were enough to secure the points for Daniel Farke’s side, who are now three points clear of third place though they have an inferior goal difference to West Bromwich Albion, who eased past Bolton Wanderers on Monday evening.

Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring on nineteen minutes after heading in on the goal line, while Sam Field added a second fifteen minutes from time to seal a first win in four league games for Darren Moore’s men.

Sheffield United slipped to fourth after they were narrowly beaten at Swansea City – Ollie McBurnie with the only goal of the game while Middlesbrough stay fifth despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Millwall at the Riverside Stadium.

Fight

Derby County showed no sides of tiredness from Wednesday evening’s penalty shoot-out win at Southampton in their FA Cup third round replay, beating Reading 2-1 to keep themselves in the play-off places though in form Bristol City are just two points behind them.

The Robins extended their unbeaten run to eleven games in all competitions with a fifth straight victory, beating Nottingham Forest by the only goal in Martin O’Neill’s first match in charge at the City Ground.

Next season will mark forty years since the Robins were last in the top flight but you can back them for promotion this term at a price of 12/1.

Tight

Hull City looked to be heading for a seventh straight league win, though had to settle for a point as Aston Villa came from two down to earn a share of the spoils while Blackburn Rovers are now level with the Tigers after they beat Ipswich Town 2-0.

Queens Park Rangers are down to fourteenth after they were beaten 4-1 by Preston North End while Brentford also hit four on the road, beating Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.

Finally, Sheffield Wednesday won for the first time in the league since Boxing Day with Steven Fletcher’s goal just past the hour mark enough to beat Wigan Athletic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deke Hardman


Freelance football writer with a love of the game that goes back to the mid nineties when both his beloved Nottingham Forest and England had genuine hope of acheiving some level of success. A regular contributor to both SoccerNews.com and FreeBetting.com, Deke also dabbles in music journalism with his heart and head still stuck in the latter years of the twentieth century.

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