Sky Bet Championship round-up: Bournemouth revive promotion hopes as Brentford lose ground & Norwich extend winning streak to nine
(Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/ Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest succumbed to defeat at the hands of league leaders Norwich; Sheffield Wednesday drew the first of their two Yorkshire derbies in a week. Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City, Cardiff City and Stoke City all played out a 0-0 stalemate. While Barnsley continued to build on their improbable playoff push, Middlesborough and Luton Town won 2-0, and Birmingham City squeezed past Reading

  • Nottingham Forest 0-2 Norwich City

In the build-up to the Nottingham Forest encounter, Norwich City's Finnish frontman, Teemu Pukki, maintained his faith that The Canaries are 'more prepared' for Premier League Football.

Wheeling away to celebrate an early opener on Wednesday night proved just that. Failing to uphold the notion that coming straight back up is never as easy as it seems, Critics' silence beckoned louder after they crushed Forest in midweek.

Two early strikes, including a dazzling, net-bound rocket from Kieran Dowell, set the bar high, giving Forest a mountain to climb from twenty minutes onward. 

It was a summit that became unreachable for The Reds, with the table-toppers dominating possession for the rest of the game and seeing out a decisive, title charging win.

The Canaries are now on a nine-game winning streak, leaving teams below them in a perilous position when it comes to clawing themselves into title contention. 

  • Rotherham United 1-4 Watford

Another team in the automatic promotion places is Watford. They are looking to earn themselves an immediate return to the pinnacle of English football, just like The Canaries

The clash played out as everyone expected, with Watford dominating from the first minute to the last, leaving no room for error in a dominant display at 22nd place Rotherham United.

Although sitting six points below safety, the positive for The Millers is that they have played fewer games than teams above them. Their defensive vulnerability, however, must be resolved by Paul Warne

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Accumulating 10 shots on target, Watford's star-studded lineup henned Rotherham in at the New York Stadium. Goals from Francisco Sierralta, Ismalia Sarr, Ken Sema and Dan Gosling secured a convincing, attacking win for The Hornets

Results around them meant that Watford extended the gap between them and third place, providing them with a safety cushion. Upon one glimpse at the galaxy of talent at Watford's disposal, promotion is more than expected. 

  • Bournemouth 3-0 Swansea City

Swansea City's new-look defence has been the talk of the town this season, becoming the crux to their promotion push. Despite this, Bournemouth found a solution that dishevelled the chemistry in the Welsh club's final frontier. 

Scoring from all three of their shots that hit the target, the Swans' suffered from dismal defending, which was lamented by the manager  Steve Cooper.

"I think the first two goals were everything I don't want the team to be. The players will know that," the manager told WalesOnline. "The first goal, it's a free cross, and he's unmarked in the box. The second goal is the first contact off a corner, which we do a lot of work on as well.

"So, if you don't do that part of the basics well enough in defending, then you run the risk of conceding soft goals, and that's what we did."

The defeat left the Swans pondering their promotion prospects, they remain in third place with a long way to go, but games like these are crucial for their run-in. 

  • Cardiff City 0-0 Stoke City

Unfortunately, there had to be some dull affairs in an action-packed game week. This was the case at the Cardiff City Stadium, where Mick McCarthy and Michael O'Neill locked horns, seemingly staying in the middle the whole time. 

There's not much between the two sides, who sit in 9th and 11th place respectively, but this gave the all-clear for a boring game that meant almost nothing for either side's future.

Though both teams are playoff outsiders, Tuesday's 'clash' hardly justifies their threat to teams in places above them. 

  • Wycombe Wanderers 1-3 Barnsley

A fairytale season, sadly with no one to support them in the stands, Barnsley are playing to the sound of Premier League murmurs as they built on their impressive season on Wednesday night. 

Several years of League One and Championship oscillation has meant Barnsley have a reputation of being easy to beat. However, they have administered a feared personality in 2020/21, and the poisoned chalice is given to each team that tries to overcome them. 

Barnsley is a steam train that can't be stopped, but sadly for Gareth Ainsworth, their visit spelt menace, and it is now only a matter of time until the Chairboys' first season in the Championship comes toppling down with relegation. 

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Alex Mowatt's truculent nature made an appearance at Adam's Park as he was sent off in the 73rd minute. Luckily for Barnsley, it was too late to have a detrimental impact on their positive result.

A Cauley Woodrow penalty and Daryl Dike double secured The Tykes' nineteenth league win of the campaign. The fairytale seems to have a neverending plotline. But, fans of the Yorkshire club will hope the novel will unravel a happy ending.  

  • Birmingham City 2-1 Reading

Birmingham City gave their survival hopes a massive boost when they stifled Reading's promotion push on Wednesday evening. It was only the fourth time that the Blues collected all three points in a game this season, elevating them to six points above the drop zone. 

The Royals' slim lead over Bournemouth tightened once more, after goals from Lucas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean condemned them to defeat, their first in five games and second at the hands of the Blues.

It was a game that was shaped by headed goals; the most crucial of the three was Dean's 12 yard, thumping winner that came about on the 71st minute. The captain found himself unmarked in the box, latching on to a second ball. 

Reading had won three of their past four away league games against Birmingham City, but they were always likely to face a fired-up Blues side on the back of a timely dose of 'new manager bounce'.

  • Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Bristol City

Tony Mowbray's Blackburn suffered a sixth winless home game following an uneventful showing when Bristol City visited. 

It was a dull encounter that was expected, considering the form of the two sides. No team had won fewer points than Blackburn in the previous 10 Championship games. Meanwhile, Bristol City have only picked up four more during that time.

A flavourless, dry and uninspiring performance from both sides came to an end without either side producing a clear-cut opportunity. 

The closest chance came in the closing minutes when Famara Diedhiou's attempt was tipped over. A winning goal from either club would have been unjust, however. 

  • QPR 3-2 Millwall

Millwall were clinical, scoring two of only four shots on target in midweek, but Queen's Park Rangers proved too hot to handle through their controlled possession strategy. 

It was a game of two halves, as Jordy De Wijs was the match-winner, securing QPR a dramatic second-half comeback. Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett opened the scoring for the Lions, but the halftime team talk from Mark Warburton must have been good, as the Rangers came out of the blocks in the second segment.

Late goals from Charlie Austin, Stefen Johansen and Jordy De Wrijs clinched a remarkable 3-2 victory for the R's.  However, the win does little to change the tide of the table, with both teams sitting comfortably in the middle of the pack. 

Millwall were not the only team from London to squander a two-goal lead, however. 

  • Derby County 2-2 Brentford

Thomas Frank has instilled a promotion mentality in his Brentford squad in the last two seasons. After narrowly missing out on Premier League emergence in last season's play-offs, The Bees are hungry for more.

The first half-hour saw two goals from the London side, as Ivan Toney's penalty and Sergi Canos' finish set the tone for the rest of the game. As the night sky cast more black, however, Brentford lost control at Pride Park.

Lee Gregory found the net just after the second-half had kicked off, leaving The Bees looking over their shoulders for the rest of the game. Wayne Rooney prowled the touchline, rallying his Rams until his passion was translated on the pitch in the 87th minute.  

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After prodding and probing the Brentford box in the final proceedings, the ball found its way to Louie Sibley who made no mistake in opening his body up, directing a shot towards goal and caressing the ball into the top left corner to complete a comeback. 

There was a suggestion of complacency in Brentford's performance in midweek, leaving fans cautious of their upcoming opponents. Frank will need to look for a solution and fast. 

  • Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Huddersfield 

Wednesday went into their first of two Yorkshire derbies in search of a first win under the helm of Darren Moore. The newly-appointed manager would have been delighted to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. 

It was a lead that failed to stand the test of time, however, when an own goal from Callum Paterson drew Huddersfield Town's first and only blood.  

Sadly, it looks as though League One is the only direction that Wednesday are headed. Despite this, fans of the Owls took to Twitter to express their admiration for Jordan Rhodes, suggesting that not all was negative for the blue and whites. 

  • Luton Town 2-0 Coventry City

The Hatters were in cruise control as they picked up their first league win in three in the form of a ten-man Coventry City team. A red card to Kyle McFadzean on the 41st minute signalled easy street for Luton Town upon the restart of the second-half.

Courtesy of James Bree and Elijah Adebayo, Luton cruised to victory, all but guaranteeing a spot in the Championship next season for the Bedfordshire side.

Nigel Pearson insisted just a week ago that Luton Town were still in the 'danger zone' as he aimed for the 50-point mark. A victory against Preston North End on Saturday would provide just that. 

  • Middlesborough 2-0 Preston North End

Middlesborough are sat only five points below the play-offs, so their home win against 16th placed Preston North End kept them in the fight for promotion.

Paddy McNair and Britt Assombalonga were absent for Neil Warnock's selection at Riverside, but their presence wasn't missed. After scoring the vital second goal, Warnock hailed Marcus Tavernier as one of his 'best players'. 

The midfielder had missed nine of Boro's previous eleven, but he proved he still has what it takes to be a real nuisance in the remainder of the season. 

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Injuries have eclipsed many teams up and down the country, something that Warnock would argue more vivaciously in regards to his disposal. However, the Englishman has a successful track record when it comes to Championship promotions, and Boro will be looking to do just that with their deflated squad.

In their next three games, Boro face Watford and Bournemouth, two crucial tie-breakers that may determine the path of the club for the rest of the 2020/21campaign. 

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