Thursday, August 22, 2019

Championship Review: Norwich hit four as Baggies & Blades cruise

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Feb 2019

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Norwich City reclaimed top spot in the Championship as they and Sheffield United romped to 4-0 victories on Saturday.

Teemu Pukki struck twice to help the Canaries move back ahead of Leeds United – who are not in action until next weekend – with a routine win away to Bolton Wanderers, while Gary Madine was at the double in the Blades’ comfortable home triumph over Reading.

Fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom were also impressive in prevailing 2-0 at rivals Aston Villa, who are now winless in four matches.

Three draws elsewhere included a dramatic last-gasp derby equaliser for Sheffield Wednesday on the road against Rotherham United.

 

PUKKI POCKETS TWO MORE FOR CLINICAL CANARIES

Stunned 3-1 at Preston North End on Wednesday, Norwich bounced back by crushing relegation-threatened Bolton at the Macron Stadium.

Star striker Pukki bookended the scoring, tucking away the opener in the eighth minute and returning soon after half-time to complete his double. The Finn has now scored in six straight appearances and his league tally for the season of 23 is the most of any player in England’s top four tiers.

Marco Stiepermann, who failed to convert a penalty at Deepdale on Wednesday, and Emiliano Buendia were on target in between to help the visitors move two points clear at the top despite Kenny McLean missing a penalty.

Bolton remain three points shy of safety and six ahead of bottom side Ipswich Town, who had Will Keane to thank for a 92nd-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at Portman Road.

 

FAST-STARTING BLADES HEADLINE SHEFFIELD SUCCESS

Kieron Freeman scored after 39 seconds to set the tone for Sheffield United’s dominant display against a Reading side that arrived at Bramall Lane unbeaten in four.

On the back foot after conceding the division’s fourth-fastest goal this term, Jose Gomes’ men were blown away in the first half as striker Madine grabbed a brace to open up a three-goal advantage at the break.

John Fleck completed the rout four minutes after the interval with the Blades leapfrogging Yorkshire rivals Leeds into second on goal difference.

There was joy for Sheffield’s other Championship side at New York Stadium thanks to Dominic Iorfa’s goal in the 10th minute of added time in a 2-2 draw with Rotherham.

The match was paused in the second half after a clash of heads left Jordan Thorniley requiring attention, and Steve Bruce’s side also lost Fernando Forestieri to a second yellow card as a result of his attempt to high-five a fan during the exuberant celebrations that followed Iorfa’s equaliser.

 

STRUGGLING VILLA SUNK AT HOME BY BAGGIES

Two goals in four first-half minutes helped West Brom see off an out-of-sorts Villa and stay firmly in the frame for an automatic promotion spot.

Hal Robson-Kanu headed home Mason Holgate’s cross in the 41st minute and the visitors’ advantage was quickly doubled when Jay Rodriguez fired in off the post.

While the Baggies are within four points of second, 10th-place Villa continue to falter in their bid to claim a play-off place.

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