Championship: Norwich 10 points clear, Pearson pep talk inspires Bristol City | Championship

Teemu Pukki scored twice to put Norwich 10 points clear at the top of the Championship and earned the praise of manager Daniel Farke as the leaders beat struggling Birmingham 3-1 at St Andrew’s.

Pukki also missed a penalty before Iván Sánchez’s equaliser for the home side. The Finnish striker had the last laugh with a second – his 17th goal of the season and sixth in his last four games – to send the Canaries 10 points clear of Brentford and Watford, who both play on Wednesday.

“Teemu Pukki was unplayable,” said Farke. “Teemu for me is the best player and the best striker in this league. He is always there with a crucial goal.” Oliver Skipp made it 3-1 with virtually the last kick of the game as Norwich punished Birmingham, who had plenty of chances to take something from the match.

“[Norwich] are the best team in the league by far,” Blues manager Aitor Karanka said afterwards. “In the first half we were as good, if not better than them. Once again this season, it is the same story every single game.”

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League One: Barton’s Rovers sunk by late Wigan winner


Joey Barton’s first game in charge of Bristol Rovers ended in a painful home defeat as Scott Wootton snatched victory for relegation rivals Wigan. Wootton’s 90th-minute winner moved the Latics level on points with Rovers, who levelled through Luke McCormick after Callum Lang put the visitors ahead early in the second half.

The result leaves Barton’s side in the relegation zone after Jack Rudoni’s late goal earned Wimbledon a 1-0 win over Gillingham, and Swindon picked up an unexpected point at high-flying Lincoln. The Robins twice led 2-1 at half-time thanks to Brett Pitman’s strike, but the former leaders hit back through Morgan Rogers. 

Peterborough moved to the top of the table with a 3-0 win at Plymouth. Sammie Szmodics, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jack Taylor got the second-half goals for Darren Ferguson’s side at Home Park. Third-placed Hull were beaten at home by Ipswich thanks to James Norwood’s goal in the 15th minute, while Doncaster‘s trip to Blackpool was rained off.

Sunderland and Portsmouth boosted their promotion hopes with wins over Fleetwood and Oxford respectively. Aiden O’Brien and Max Power earned the Black Cats a 2-0 win, while Harvey White got the only goal for Pompey at the Kassam Stadium. Play-off chasers Accrington lost 2-0 at Crewe, while Ben Watson’s own goal earned bottom club Burton a shock win over Charlton at the Valley.

Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/Rex Features

Nigel Pearson’s Bristol City reign does not officially start until Wednesday morning but the new Robins manager made an early impact as a pre-game pep talk helped inspire his new side to a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough. City ended a seven-game losing run as they tore the promotion-hunting Teessiders apart, with all three of their goals coming in a 16-minute period in the first half.

Famara Diedhiou scored the first two, heading in Adam Nagy’s cross and firing home a shot from just inside the area, and then set up the third for Nakhi Wells. That allowed caretaker managers Paul Simpson and Keith Downing to sign off in style despite Dael Fry’s consolation goal for Boro.

“[Nigel] was introduced to the players this afternoon at the hotel. He obviously spoke some wise words and wanted the players to show the abilities that they’ve got,” Downing said afterwards. “That’s obviously a fresh pair of eyes and the players have responded. He came down at half-time and gave some advice to the players as well.”

Nigel Pearson watched on from the stands as Bristol City beat Middlesbrough.
Nigel Pearson watched on from the stands as Bristol City beat Middlesbrough. Photograph: Rogan/JMP/Shutterstock

Derby eased past Huddersfield 2-0 to move further away from relegation danger, but manager Wayne Rooney said afterwards he got his tactics wrong after George Edmundson’s opener. “I said to the players at half-time, tactically I got it wrong,” Rooney said after Martyn Waghorn’s second-half goal sealed victory.

“I changed the shape because I felt we could cause Huddersfield more problems, but it actually went the other way and they caused us more problems,” Rooney said. “I’ve no shame in saying I got it wrong, that will happen.” Huddersfield substitute Jaden Brown was sent off to complete a difficult evening for the visitors.

Wycombe kept their faint hopes of escaping relegation alive with a surprise 1-0 home win over play-off chasers Reading. Fred Onyedinma’s close-range header earned victory despite a red card for Chairboys defender Ryan Tafazolli.

The match also saw two missed penalties, with Lucas João missing from 12 yards after Tafazolli was sent off for a foul on Andy Rinomhota. Uche Ikpeazu missed the chance to double the hosts’ lead from the spot late on, but Gareth Ainsworth’s side held on for just their fifth league win of the season.

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League Two: Morecambe stun Salford with late turnaround


Fourth-placed Morecambe claimed a dramatic 2-1 win over fellow promotion hopefuls after grabbing two goals in stoppage time. Brandon Thomas-Asante put Salford ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Carlos Mendes Gomes and Aaron Wildig turned the game around in stoppage time to earn the hosts a dramatic win.

Sean Long’s header got Cheltenham‘s promotion hopes back on track as they won at leaders Cambridge to narrow the gap to two points. Second-placed Forest Green play bottom club Southend on Wednesday. Tranmere twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Carlisle, with James Vaughan getting the winner two minutes from time.

Southend fell to the foot of the table after Grimsby and Barrow earned priceless victories. Ten-man Grimsby held off Crawley after Joe Adams’ 79th-minute goal for their first win in 10 league games, while Scott Quigley’s late goal earned Barrow a priceless victory over Oldham at Boundary Park.

Elsewhere, Colchester are now winless in 13 league games after a 2-1 home defeat to Exeter, while Bolton won their fourth in a row after seeing off Scunthorpe at home. A late Callum Cooke penalty saw Bradford beat Leyton Orient 1-0, and Aaron Martin scored the only goal as Harrogate edged past Mansfield.

Nottingham Forest eased their relegation fears with a scrappy 1-0 win at Rotherham. Ryan Yates’ second-half winner moves Forest 10 points clear of the Millers, who currently occupy the third relegation spot. “Sometimes these kind of wins can be the most pleasing ones,” said the Forest manager, Chris Hughton.

George Evans scored an injury-time equaliser to extend Millwall’s unbeaten league run to nine games with a 1-1 draw at Luton. Evans’ first goal for the club since arriving from Derby in January cancelled out Elijah Adebayo’s 55th-minute opener.

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