Championship Round-Up: West Brom climb to the top after Leeds slip up

EFL Championship

Written by Samuel Goodwin

This week saw an entertaining round of fixtures with 37 goals scored in the 12 Championship games. After Leeds and Middlesbrough both dropped points away from home, West Brom took advantage over a struggling Preston to climb to the top of the league. Derby had a shock defeat after winning away at Manchester United mid-week and Brentford dropped points again.

Stoke have had a surprisingly slow start to the season, languishing down in 17th after their relegation last season.

One of their summer signings, Ashley Williams, bought down Rotherham‘s Ryan Williams in the box just after half time which gave Ryan Manning the chance to score the resulting penalty, which he tucked home confidently past Jack Butland. Three minutes later the Millers doubled their lead from a corner after centre back Richard Wood headed back across goal for Richie Towell to tap in easily.

Stoke’s comeback started with some great football after Erik Pieters passed into Tom Ince who scored confidently into the bottom corner. The equaliser came late on after the 5ft 6 Bojan scored an emphatic header past the Millers’ keeper.

After a fantastic win mid-week in the Carabao Cup, Frank Lampard was hoping that his team could keep the momentum going over mid-table Bolton. This however wasn’t the case as Bolton scored early on when Will Buckley’s cross was met by Craig Noone to give them the lead. The Bolton defence held strong giving the Derby attack no clear-cut chances.

Norwich won their fifth game in a row, continuing their strong start to the season after a win against Wigan. The Wigan keeper Christian Walton had a great game, keeping Norwich at bay until the 86th minute when star man Teemu Pukki was pulled back in the box. Canaries midfielder Mario Vrancic converted the spot kick, pushing Norwich up to 5th.

West Brom were looking to capitalise on Leeds dropping points on Friday night as they made the trip to struggling Preston.

Jay Rodriguez’s header started a very entertaining second half. Preston equalised when Andrew Hughes wrong footed Sam Johnstone with a well-placed free kick. West Brom regained the lead after Ben Davies’ attempted clearance landed in his own net. Dwight Gale then topped Hughes’ free kick with a great strike into the top corner. Preston scored a late consolation but West Brom held on to climb to the top of the league.

Middlesbrough wanted to recapture top spot in the Championship after seeing Leeds drop points away at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.  Jonny Howson’s wonderful cross fell into the path of Britt Assombalonga as he tapped in his fourth goal of the season. But it was cancelled out after Chris Martin’s clever play won Hull a penalty which Jarred Bowen converted. David Marshall kept Hull in the game, making some great saves late on.

Coming into this game Brentford had the only 100% home record in the league, and with Reading down in 20th it looked like it could be an easy ride for the Bees after the Championship top scorer Neal Maupay scored his ninth goal of the season early on.

That was until Brentford’s goalkeeper David Bentley gifted Reading the equaliser after fumbling the ball into Jon Dadi Bodvardson’s path. Bentley then gifted Reading a second after failing to deal with man of the match John Swift’s free kick, causing it again to fall to Bodvardson for his sixth of the season. The game looked dead and buried after Said Benrahma received a second yellow card late on. But some lazy Reading defending helped Yoann Barbet to snatch an equaliser for the Bees.

An entertaining game at Ewood park saw Nottingham Forest miss the chance to move into the play offs. Blackburn’s 25 match unbeaten run at home look threatened when Forest were awarded a penalty early on but Lewis Grabban couldn’t convert. He gave Forest the lead in the second half though, tapping home from close range. But two goals in ten minutes from Blackburn looked to have given them all three points. Forest were awarded another penalty in the 80th minute and this time Grabban scored to give Forest a point.

Sheffield United continued their promotion push with a victory over Millwall at the Den. Billy Sharp’s penalty was saved mid-way through the first half, but he managed to give the away side the lead with a glancing header on the stroke of half time.

A quick double from Millwall saw them take the lead after half time through a powerful Jake Cooper header and Gregory slotting home. Sheffield United were given another penalty on the 79th minute and, wanting to avoid a repeat of the earlier penalty, David McGoldrick took it and scored convincingly. He then tapped home late on to give the Blades all three points.

Ipswich looked like they were going to get a much-needed win at St Andrews after going 2-0 up at St Andrews. John Nolan scored a great goal and Mathew Pennington scored just his seconf league goal in 5 years. But a brace from Birmingham striker Lukas Jutkiewicz snatched the three points away from the Tractor Boys.

Swansea went into this game as the joint lowest scorers in the league but that soon changed after a convincing 3-0 win over struggling QPR. Baker-Richardson opened the scoring on his return to the side from suspension. Connor Roberts then followed up from his goal for Wales in the UEFA Nations League with his first goal for the club. Jay Fulton’s deflected strike finished the scoring, giving Swansea a much-needed victory.

Bristol City had their biggest crowd of the season on Friday night, hoping they could return to form after back to back defeats. Josh Brownhill’s shot gave them the lead early on but a Birkir Bjarnason header on the stroke of half time helped Aston Villa earn a draw.