It was a weekend of busy football as Millwall continued their fantastic run of form which saw them edge into the play-off zone. Of the top six sides going into the weekend’s fixtures, only Cardiff City and Leicester City won – proving that few sides are capable of runaway form. Meanwhile for the bottom sides, only Bristol City collected a win – end-to-end action, then.
It is Millwall that the focus of this weekend deserves to be on. The South London side haven’t lost since they fell to Brighton & Hove Albion in late September and their rich vein of form continued as they defeated Blackburn Rovers with goals from Chris Wood and James Henry. Woods has been an outstanding signing for the Lions – scoring eight goals in his 13 appearances since he arrived on loan from West Brom – and has helped propel Kenny Jackett’s side to sixth place.
Of all this weekend’s scorelines, perhaps the least expected one was that of Bristol City’s impressive 3-1 win at Middlesbrough. City took the lead on 13-minutes through winger Albert Adomah, only for Middlesbrough to equalize with a Ismael Miller goal 20-minutes later. As conditions worsened with heavy fog, so did Boro’s luck – Tony Mowbray’s side had a shot cleared off the line when it looked like it might have been a goal. The Robins took an unlikely lead thanks to some good work from loan signing Neil Danns to set up Stephen Pearson, and then confirmed the win with a fantastic turn and shot from striker Steven Davies. The defeat was Boro’s second in a row; it was also City’s first win in 12 games.
Of the sides in poor form, perhaps the most surprising is the form of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have gone eight games since their last win and have dropped to 17th in the table as a result. Having taken an early lead against Nottingham Forest thanks to Bjorn Sigurdarson, Wolves struggled to contain Forest’s pacey front-line and allowed Billy Sharpe to fire past keeper Carl Ikeme following a wonderful diagonal pass from Henry Lansbury. Forest’s second goal was the result of a stunning long-range shot from former Wolves midfielder Adlene Guedioura in the 56th minute. Forest now sit just below Millwall in the table.
Cardiff City returned to the summit of the Football League by beating Barnsley at Oakwell. Cardiff took the lead through a header from teenage defender Ben Nugent and extended their lead with another header from Aaron Gunnarsson – with both goals the result of Peter Whittingham corners. Barnsley provided a late scare when Jacob Mellis scored for Barnsley with 15 minutes remaining, but despite the Bluebirds having recent loan signing Simon Lappin dismissed late in the game, Barnsley couldn’t find the equalizer.
Crystal Palace fell to their first defeat in 15 games as Leeds United celebrated their take-over with their first win this month with goals from Luciano Becchio and Paul Green. Peter Ramage scored a late goal for Palace and the Eagles had another chance cleared off the line in stoppage time – but Ian Holloway’s men couldn’t find a leveler.
Meanwhile, Leicester City continued their resurgence with a 2-0 win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsbrough. Danny Drinkwater scored the first for the Foxes and Ben Marshall got the second – confining the Owls to their fourth defeat in a row; a result which once again leaves them in the relegation zone.
Draws and late equalizers also seemed to be the order of the day as Blackpool, Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town all drew their home fixtures – with three of those seeing late equalizers.
Blackpool fought back from a two goal deficit against Watford to draw 2-2 – the equalizer coming in the 90th minute with a goal from Isaiah Osbourne, and Brighton also fell to a late goal when David Ngog scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time to win a 1-1 draw for Bolton Wanderers.
Charlton Athletic’s good run of form looked to be continuing thanks to a Rob Hulse goal, but Huddersfield won a late penalty which was converted by Adam Clayton to win a share of the spoils. In the battle of the bottom teams, Ipswich Town’s DJ Campbell scored a 60th minute penalty to tie their match with Peterborough United who took an early lead with a Lee Tomlin goal.
Finally, mid-table sides Derby County and Burnley both collected wins to keep them in the hunt for a play-off spot. Burnley defeated Hull City at the KC Stadium with a Dean Marney goal the difference, while Derby County won a tough encounter with Birmingham City 3-2 thanks to a late Nathan Tyson strike.