The man who simply can’t live without football, Neil Warnock recorded a victory in his first game in charge of Middlesborough as the North East side completed a 2-0 victory against fellow strugglers Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium and lifted Warnock’s side two points clear of the relegation places.
71-year-old Warnock- who is now in charge of his 16th club in a distinguished managerial career- has been out of work since Cardiff sacked him in November 2019, masterminded a crucial victory against Michael O’Neill’s side, who are now just a single point above the bottom three.
Goals in either half from Ashley Fletcher and substitute Marcus Taviner was sufficient enough for Boro to claim a crucial victory.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table Marcelo Bielsa’s team returned to the championship summit after defeating Fulham 3-0 at Elland Road, thanks to goals from Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski and Jack Harrison. Fulham could well suffer repercussions from the game with forward Aleksandar Mitrovic clearly smashing his elbow into the face of Ben White. Tony Harrington, the referee, totally missed the incident, but it could now be on the radar of the FA’s disciplinary department. If found guilty the Serbian international could well be facing a lengthy ban.
Derby County’s Tom Lawrence and Matt Miazga of Reading were both shown red cards in a feisty encounter at Pride Park, which Derby went on to win 2-1.
Tension had been simmering between the two players all afternoon and it exploded after the final whistle with both players squaring up to each other. Miazga appeared to swing a punch at Lawrence, who then appeared to retaliate by head butting the Reading defender. Miazga responded by slapping Lawrence across the face before other players separated the pair.
Lawrence had earlier given Derby the lead with Wayne Rooney scoring Derby’s second from the spot before Andy Rinomhota headed Reading’s consolation late on.
Luton Town took a big stride towards escaping from the bottom three after a 1-0 away win against 10-man Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Luton moved off the bottom of the table through a James Collins second half header. Swansea had substitute Jordon Garrick sent off late in the game for a punch on Collins.
Millwall and relegation threatened Barnsley had to settle for a share of the points in a stalemate encounter at Oakwell that finished 0-0.
Birmingham City salvaged a 3-3 draw at home to struggling Hull at St. Andrews.
Josh Magennis and James Scott had put Hull 2-0 up inside 16 minutes, before Gary Gardner pulled a goal back with Dan Crowley on hand to make it 2-2 at the break. On loan Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane restored Hull’s lead, but with time running out Gardner grabbed his second of the afternoon with an 88th minute leveller for the hosts.
Charlton Athletic continued their impressive form after the restart of the Championship season after Darren Pratley’s 12th minute header was sufficient enough to beat QPR 1-0 in the London Derby at the Valley.
Cardiff City leapfrogged Preston North End to move into the Championship play-off places with a 3-1 win at Deepdale.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes Cardiff’s Joe Ralls headed home in the 69th minute to give the Bluebirds the lead. Daniel Johnson’s 12th goal of the campaign drew Preston level four minutes later, but late strikes from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Robert Glatzel wrapped up victory for the Welsh side.
Wigan made it eight games unbeaten after a 2-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers at the DW Stadium.
The game exploded into life late in the match with both goals coming in the final ten minutes with Lee Evans and Michael Jacobs netting for the home side and dent Rovers chances of moving into the play-off mix.
A goal in each half from Connor Wickham and Massimo Luongo gave Sheffield Wednesday a deserved 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate against Bristol City.
The Owls took a 13th minute lead when Wickham rose unchallenged to head in Jacob Murphy’s corner. Luongo’s fine volley in the 59th minute put the visitors well on the way to winning. Despite Nahki Wells heading home for the hosts in the 68th minute, Wednesday held on for the win.
Nottingham Forest continued their push for automatic promotion with a convincing 3-1 victory against Huddersfield Town at the City Ground.
A brace from Lewis Grabban withing three minutes in the second half put Forest in control. Ryan Yates headed a third for the hosts five minutes from the end before Karlan Grant converted a penalty in the 97th minute of the game for a scant consolation for the visitors to leave Town still in the bottom three of the Championship.