Championship Round-Up: A weekend of goalkeeping blunders…
By Bob Melling
The lunchtime kickoff on Saturday saw Marcelo Bielsa’s free-flowing Leeds United snatch a late winner at the fortress that is Bramall Lane. Blades keeper Dean Henderson gifted Leeds youngster Jack Clarke the ball in the box, as Clarke crossed for Hernandez, who punished Henderson’s howler settling a tense Yorkshire Derby. The Blades continuing their ropey run of form which has seen them win just one in their last five outings.
However, Leeds’ position at the summit was not set to last, as Norwich came from behind against strugglers Rotherham to make it seven wins in ten; an impressive return for the Canaries.
Birmingham City kept up their pressure on the playoff spots with their second win in four days. They made light work of visitors Preston North End, who were looking to make it ten games unbeaten. However, a calamitous mistake between the sticks courtesy of Declan Rudd gave Blues the initiative, as they romped to victory. The internet made no mistake in letting Rudd know that he’d had a shocker… 3-0 it finished on the day and I think it’s safe to say that Rudd wanted to crawl into a very, very deep hole after the game.
Ipswich Town’s dismal season continued, despite the futile efforts of Paul Lambert to repair the sinking ship. Nottingham Forest had the pleasure of playing the Tractor Boys this weekend, a brace from talisman Lewis Grabban was enough to ensure Lambert and his boys went home empty-handed.
“Frank Lampard’s Derby” got back to winning ways at Pride Park, with a 2-1 victory against 13th-placed Swansea. Loanee Harry Wilson continued his inspired form, rifling home two shots from range. Graham Potter’s side pulled one back three minutes from time, but it was too little too late.
In a “derby game” of sorts, Bolton Wanderers held Wigan to a stalemate that looked likely to lift them out of the relegation zone. But a late Reading leveller further south kept the league’s lowest scorers, Bolton, in the bottom three.
Stoke responded well to going behind at the Madejski Stadium, a speculative Tom Ince volley giving them the lead half an hour from time. But in the 94th minute, Reading raced the length of the pitch, before speedster Mo Barrow slotted home the leveller. Smash and grab stuff from Paul Clement’s side.
Hull claimed a vital three points away at QPR in a five goal thriller. The visitors found themselves two goals up just 22 minutes in and despite QPR’s best attempts to salvage a point, they were beaten at home for the first time since September. Will Hull avoid the drop once again this season?
After two consecutive defeats against local rivals, Blackburn bounced back this weekend taking all three points in a goal fest at Ewood Park. Poacher Danny Graham was the hattrick hero, Bradley Dack also getting himself on the scoresheet. Wednesday tried to mount a second half comeback, but it was in vain, as Rovers kept pace with the top six and the Owls continued to soar down the table.
Saturday’s evening kickoff saw a repeat of last season’s playoff exploits, Villa once again getting the better of Boro at the Riverside. Considering results elsewhere, their 3-0 humbling ensured that the Teesiders lost vital ground in the foot-race at the summit. Another Championship keeper decided to have a howler today and fortunately for Villa, that keeper was Irish stopper Darren Randolph. James Chester took full advantage of a Randolph blunder as he prodded the ball home to give Villa the advantage. Prolific loanee Tammy Abraham put a bit more daylight between the two sides on the hour mark, as he grabbed his fifth goal in four days. Villa heaped a bit more misery on Boro seven minutes from time, when Randolph allowed a tame Glenn Whelan effort to squirm past him and into the bottom corner. Four wins in five now for Dean Smith’s side, as they look to mount another push for promotion
Oh, how could I forget… The Sunday lunchtime kickoff between Bristol City and Millwall. Dull as ditch water, that one, and the resentment only increases from within the Bristol City fanbase. I response from @Shaner1989 sums the fans justified dismay with their teams efforts up perfectly: