Monday, March 25, 2019

Championship Review – Matchday 34

Deke Hardman in Editorial, English Championship 26 Feb 2019

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Matchday thirty-four concluded on a feisty evening in the East Midlands where Nottingham Forest won both local bragging rights and the Brian Clough Trophy after beating Derby County by a goal to nil at the City Ground.

Yohan Benalouane etched his name into Forest folklore just seventy-four seconds into the game, and that strike was enough to secure a much welcomed three points for Martin O’Neill’s men, who move to within a point of their rivals, and three of sixth-place Bristol City.

The Robins went into their game at league leaders Norwich City as they only side in the football league to have won all of their matches so far in 2019, though that record was ended as the Canaries twice came from behind to secure all three points, and in doing so kept themselves in first place.

Edge

Sheffield United stay second after edging past West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, while third place Leeds United also won, beating Bolton Wanderers by two goals to one at Elland Road.

Middlesbrough secured back-to-back league wins for the first time since November after they piled more misery on Queens Park Rangers, who have now gone nine league games without a victory.

Steve McClaren’s side have lost eight of the matches in that run and are now just nine points clear of the drop-zone, though even the most pessimistic of fans would surely concur that there are six teams worse than them in the division.

Low

Indeed, none of the bottom six managed to register a win, with both Rotherham United’s trip to Reading and Ipswich Town’s match at Wigan Athletic both ending 1-1 while Millwall were soundly beaten at home by a Preston North End side who have moved up to tenth.

Alex Neil’s side are now unbeaten in eight matches and are just six points shy of the play-off places so you may be tempted to back them to make the top flight for the first time in fifty-eight years at a price of 33/1.

A surge for the play-offs might just be beyond Brentford, though they kept those slim hopes alive by thumping Hull City 5-1 at Griffin Park.

Level

Sheffield Wednesday have moved on to forty-four points after beating Swansea City, who have the same return after thirty-three games but are three places above the Owls in the table, while Midlands rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa, who are both just outside of the play-off places both drew in their respective games.

Che Adams hit another two goals as Birmingham and Blackburn Rovers shared the spoils at St Andrews, while Stoke City and Villa played out a 1-1 draw at the Bet 365 Stadium.

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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