Championship Round-Up

Fulham celebrated their 20th league game without defeat by leapfrogging Cardiff to move into the Championship’s second automatic promotion position. The Cottagers secured a narrow home victory over relegation threatened Reading with Norway international Stefan Johansen’s first half strike the difference between the two sides. The Royals will have to deal with the suspension of Leandro Bacuna after the midfielder was sent-off for a late challenge on Ryan Sessegnon deep into injury time.

Slaviša Jokanović’s side profited from Cardiff’s second successive defeat as the Bluebirds lost to fourth-placed Aston Villa at Villa Park. The home side struck the decisive blow late on as a Jack Grealish wonder strike five minutes from time ensured the Bluebirds returned to South Wales with nothing. Neil Warnock’s side now find themselves a point behind Fulham, however they still hold a crucial game in hand over the London club.

Millwall secured their sixth win in seven league games to move into the play-off positions and strengthen their chances of achieving shock back-to-back promotions. The Lions eased past 21st placed Bolton Wanderers through goals either side of half time from Tom Elliot and Ben Marshall. A fourth defeat in as many games leaves Wanderers perched just two points above the drop zone with four games left to play.

Middlesbrough swapped places with Millwall after a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Brammal Lane left Tony Pulis’ side in 7th position. Boro had a disastrous first half, conceding twice through Lee Evans and finding themselves reduced to ten men following Grant Leadbitter’s dismissal for a second bookable offense. Pulis made a triple change at the break and although his side managed to pull a goal back through Daniel Ayala, they fell to a damaging defeat in Yorkshire.

Bristol City moved to within two points of the play-off positions with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Birmingham City at Ashton gate. Lee Johnson’s side raced to victory thanks to goals from Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid and Matt Taylor. Reid’s strike was his 20th of the season, in what has been a superb campaign for the 25-year-old. Last night’s result has pushed Gary Monk’s Birmingham back into trouble, with the Blues just three points above the relegation zone.

Meanwhile Sunderland look increasingly resigned to life in League One next season after Chris Coleman’s side were pegged back against Norwich City in heartbreaking fashion. The Black Cats took the lead through George Honeyman with 30 minutes remaining and looked set to secure a vital three points until Norwich defender Ivo Pinto found the net after a scramble in the box with just a minute left on the clock.

Finally, Mick McCarthy announced that last night’s victory over Barnsley would be his final game in charge of the Tractor Boys. The 59-year-old was due to leave the club at the end of the season but announced during the post-match press conference that his departure will now be sooner than expected. Ipswich won a tight encounter thanks to a second-half header from defender Jonas Knudsen, which leaves José Morais’ side encamped within the drop zone.

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