Middlesbrough gave their Premier League promotion hopes a big boost with a thrilling 3-2 victory at West Brom.
With the Championship’s top two, Leeds United and Norwich City, not playing until later on Saturday, Boro earned an impressive victory in the match between the sides sitting fourth and fifth courtesy of a late double from substitute Britt Assombalonga.
Third-placed Sheffield United also won, beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at home to move above Norwich into second, at least temporarily.
Bristol City saw off Swansea City 2-0 to move into the play-off positions, while Brentford recorded an extraordinary 5-2 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Birmingham City, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic also earned victories, while Reading’s match with Aston Villa ended in a goalless draw, as did Millwall’s clash with Rotherham United.
BIG BOOST FOR BORO
It looked like Boro were in trouble at the Hawthorns after George Saville’s opener had been overturned by strikes from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.
Defeat would have left them six points behind the top four, but Assombalonga had other ideas with two goals in an eight-minute spell, capitalising on a mistake from Chris Brunt for the winner, as Tony Pulis returned to West Brom for the first time since being sacked.
— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) February 2, 2019
Sheffield United kept up the pressure on the teams at the top courtesy of Billy Sharp, who set up a second-half goal for David McGoldrick before netting one himself.
In-form Bristol moved above Derby County, who drew with Preston North End on Friday, into sixth with Andreas Weimann and Callum O’Dowda netting after the break against Swansea to give Lee Johnson a seventh straight victory in all competitions.
BLACKBURN IN SHOCKING COLLAPSE
Blackburn would have been within a point of the play-offs had they defeated Brentford at Griffin Park, but instead they fell to a stunning defeat.
Bradley Dack’s low strike and a Danny Graham header had them two goals up inside seven minutes but Said Benrahma promptly got one back for the hosts after a lethal counter-attack.
Brentford then scored four times in the final 32 minutes, as Ollie Watkins’ double and strikes from Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos left Blackburn stunned.
Birmingham and Hull recorded 2-0 wins over Nottingham Forest and Stoke City respectively, with the Potters seeing debutant Sam Vokes miss a spot-kick.
WIGAN GAIN GROUND AT THE BOTTOM
Wigan were the only team in the bottom six to taste victory, beating QPR 2-1 at home to move seven points clear of the drop zone. Josh Windass and Leon Clarke scored in either half, with Bright Samuel’s late response for Steve McClaren’s men only proving a consolation.
Bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town went down to a heart-breaking 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday after Lucas Joao’s last-minute winner in Steve Bruce’s first game in charge.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) February 2, 2019
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