Thursday, December 12, 2019

Championship Review – Matchday 33

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 18 Feb 2019

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Norwich City are once again top of the Championship after running riot at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries turned in a fine performance, scoring four goals without reply – none more impressive than Teemu Pukki’s eighth minute opener, which rounded off a fine move.

Marco Stiepermann and Emiliano Buendia also got themselves on the scoresheet before Pukki rounded of the rout with his second of the game – and twenty-third of the campaign.

The Finland international now leads the division’s goalscoring chart and can be backed at a price of 11/8 to win the Golden Boot.


Billy Sharp, who is just a goal behind Pukki, was rested by Sheffield United but in no way missed as the Blades matched their title rivals by thumping Reading by four goals to nil at Bramall Lane.

Kieran Freeman put the hosts ahead inside the first minute before a Gary Madine brace had them in cruise control by half-time.

John Fleck made in four, four minutes after the break with the result enough to see them move into the top two, past title favourites Leeds United who have a game in hand.

West Bromwich Albion remain fourth after easing past local rivals Aston Villa at Villa Park – Hal Robson Kanu and Jay Rodriguez with the goals just before half-time while Middlesbrough are up to fifth after edging past Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Sunday afternoon.

Britt Assombalonga got the only goal of the game which condemned Rovers to a fourth straight defeat – a run that has seen them slip to fourteenth.


There were no goals at Preston North End, but plenty more controversy as far as Nottingham Forest were concerned as they had a goal disallowed which was, with no hint of bias, perfectly good.

Joe Lolley was left with his head in his hands after the referee had ruled out his tap-in after an alleged foul by midfielder Ryan Yates on goalkeeper Declan Rudd, though the ball was up for grabs and the contact was minimal.

The decision came days after Dwight Gayle convinced Lee Mason to award his side a penalty for West Brom against Martin O’Neill’s side, who are six points outside the play-offs, when it should probably be just two.

The point sees Alex Neil’s side just three points behind Forest, so neither side will consider themselves out of the race for the play-offs.


Rotherham United came from two goals down to rescue a point at Hull City, a result which could prove crucial in their fight for survival while bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town are also a point better off after they drew with Stoke City at Portman Road – Will Keane’s stoppage time strike giving the home fans something to smile about, for a bit.


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 and, 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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