Sky Bet Championship round-up: Owls off the bottom whilst Royals' lead at the top tightens
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

It was another weekend of dramatic action in the second tier, no more so than at the top of the division. Just three points now separate Reading who lead the division and Swansea City in sixth.

With a catalogue of international fixtures around the corner, teams were vying for three points to take confidence into the international  period. 

Canaries cruising 

Norwich City 1-0 Swansea City 

Marco Stiepermann's late finish was enough to seal all three points for Norwich City and they continue to mount pressure on Reading and Watford in the top two. 

The Canaries are now seven games unbeaten in the Championship but were made to fight tooth and nail for the victory against fellow promotion candidates Swansea at Carrow Road

Despite the deadlock being broken in the 84th minute, the game didn't play out in a boring fashion, with both sides showing real attacking intensity as they eyed three points. Stiepermann's first goal in over a year was the difference between the sides as Norwich move within a point of the top. 

Royal slump

Reading 0-3 Stoke City 

Reading's surprising but unwanted slump continues following a 3-0 home defeat to Stoke City. The result comes off the back of defeats to Preston North End and Coventry City, where the Royals shipped six goals. 

Stoke were clinical and complete, finishing all three of their shots on target across the 90 minutes. 

First-half goals from Tyrese Campbell and Steven Fletcher left the league leaders depleted and things only worsened in second half additional time. Substitute Jacob Brown rounded off Stoke's third, leaving Reading with serious thinking to do over the international break. 

Stoke move to within a point of the play-off positions and Reading remain top but have seen their lead cut to within just a singular point. 

A game of two halves

Watford 3-2 Coventry City 

Not many would have predicted the outcome of this one at half-time with the sides playing out a 0-0 draw. However, Andre Gray's goal in the 53rd minute brought this game to life at Vicarage Road as both teams battled with the known implications at both ends of the Championship table. 

Two goals in as many minutes completely switched the game when both Gustavo Hamer and Tyler Walker found the net for the visitors. 

William Troost-Ekong drew the game level just two minutes later and the points for some time after looked as though they were to be shared. Ismaila Sarr ensured Watford would move into the automatic promotion places with a cooly taken spot-kick to seal victory for the Hornets

A 96th minute defeat in midweek combined with this weekend's result leaves the Sky Blues in 21st - one point above the drop zone. 

Robins rule the roost on Severnside 

Cardiff City 0-1 Bristol City

The six Severnside derbies leading up to this fixture on Friday night had been concluded by just one goal winning margins and this one continued that pattern on, as Dean Holden's Bristol City continued their impressive start. 

Chris Martin's close range strike in the second minute of proceedings was the only goal in Friday night's Severnside derby under the lights. 

Bristol City have built up respect in the Championship over recent years but not to the level that had people seeing them occupying a play-off place. 

Cardiff City's poor record at home, matched with Bristol City's string of positive results on the road had the game heading one way and the form book wasn't ripped up - with it following that narrative. 

Just one win in six matches leaves Cardiff slumped in 15th position, with the Robins as high as fifth.

Cheerful Cherries 

Birmingham City 1-3 AFC Bournemouth 

AFC Bournemouth are still showing serious signs of being one of the Championship's front runners this campaign with another victory that sees them into fourth position. 

Scott Hogan could only net a consolation for the hosts, who already found themselves three behind after a brace from David Brooks and a fourth goal of the season for Arnaut Danjuma

Only Middlesbrough can match Bournemouth's impressive record of one defeat after 11 thus far, but as for Birmingham City, they're still yet to score two goals in a game during 2020/21. 

Red hot Taylor 

Nottingham Forest 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers 

Lyle Taylor was once again in amongst the goals and doubled his tally for the season to fire Forest to their first back-to-back victories of the season. 

The Montserrat international carried the confidence from his late goal in midweek into the weekend's challenge of Wycombe Wanderers and dually delivered. 

Wycombe were enjoying an unbeaten run of three games before the trip to the City Ground after eight successive losses to start the campaign. 

The Chairboys are yet to climb outside of the relegation zone yet this season and remain in 22nd. 

Forest have a very tough run of fixtures ahead of them after the international break but will be keen to test themselves against top opposition under Chris Hughton, who has lost just one of his opening seven fixtures in charge of the East Midlands outfit. 

Time is ticking...

Derby County 0-2 Barnsley

Time is ticking... that is what Philip Cocu must be stressing as he awaits to rejoin his squad while managing from home in self-isolation, his side fell yet again to defeat against Barnsley at Pride Park, which saw them fall to the bottom of the Championship table. 

Conor Chaplin's opener on the half-hour mark further mounted Derby's problems but no more so than Victor Adeboyjo's first goal of the season to seal three points for the Tykes

It has certainly been an interesting week with plenty of talking points both on and off the pitch for the Rams, with the news of a takeover involving United Arab Emirates royal family member - Sheikh Khaled. 

Credit has to be given to Barnsley who were good value for their victory and the Tykes give themselves some breathing space above the bottom three and climb up to 16th. 

What a difference three days can make

Rotherham United 2-1 Preston North End 

Date back to Wednesday night when Preston walked out 3-0 winners at league leaders Reading and Rotherham United fell to defeat at home to Luton Town, in a stark contrast of nights for the two sides. 

Fast forward to the present and Rotherham put an end to Preston's unbeaten record on the road with a late goal from substitute Matt Crooks. 

The Lilywhites have been poor on home turf this season, relying on their away form to pick up points thus far, however, Ryan Ledson's 80th minute equaliser was cancelled out six minutes later by the Millers who claimed their third victory of the season. 

Astonishing Armstrong 

Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Queens Park Rangers 

Adam Armstrong added another two goals to his incredible tally of 11 goals in just 10 appearances so far this season. 

The frontman was once again the differential as he guided Rovers to their first victory in four league matches at the expense of Mark Warburton's QPR, who were looking to build on wins against Cardiff and Derby in the two games prior. 

Blackburn climb back into the top half of the table and are the highest scoring side in the division, as for QPR, their leaky defensive record has seen them fall down the table in recent weeks and they occupy 18th position. 

Mid-table stand-off 

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Luton Town 

Both Huddersfield Town and Luton were unable to seal all three points and edge closer to the play-off positions, after the points were shared at the John Smith's Stadium, leaving both sides in mid-table. 

The Terriers battled back from behind through Ajax loanee Carel Eiting after a brilliantly taken first-half volley from George Moncur saw the Hatters ahead. 

The shared points leave Luton 10th and Huddersfield 13th respectively, with both sides carrying on their mixed start to the season. 

Bees Boro stalemate 

Brentford 0-0 Middlesbrough 

Sides have struggled to contain Brentford forward Ivan Toney since his arrival from Peterborough United this summer, however, a routine clean sheet for the best defensive side in the division was once again at order for Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough

Boro are by no means nearing the attacking statistics and threat that the sides around them are producing, but nobody in the division can match their defensive wall, that has shipped just five goals in 11 games. 

Brentford are unbeaten in four matches but will be keen to turn draws into wins if they're to reach the heights of last season and battle for automatic promotion to the Premier League once more. 

Owls off the bottom

Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Millwall

Starting the season on -12pts was a plague to Wednesday's survival hopes but recent off the field developments have seen the Owls points deduction slashed from by six points, moving them two points from safety and up to 23rd position. 

A confident Millwall side travelled to Hillsborough looking to end any hopes of the perfect week on the blue side of the steel city, but it played out as a 0-0 affair. 

Gary Rowett's side failed to register a shot on target and Wednesday squandered chances to build on their midweek win and make it two on the bounce.

This is the third time in the last four meetings between these two clubs that the game has ended 0-0, certainly not a game for the calendar. 

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