After a fortnight off, the Sky Bet Championship returned with a bang as the promotion race heated up.
The action began on Friday night as Middlesbrough moved top of table after a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday.Embed from Getty Images
Early second half goals from Mohamed Besic and Britt Assombalonga proved key after the Owls threatened a late comeback, when Adam Reach produced another epic volley with less than ten minutes remaining to make it three consecutive home goals of that type in front of the Sky cameras.
The result meant that Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds all had to win their away trips if were to leapfrog Boro and retain the same order as before the international break.Embed from Getty Images
Leeds visited Blackburn Rovers on Saturday lunchtime but could only come away with nothing, after goals from Danny Graham and Darragh Lenihan were enough to give Rovers victory despite scoring either side of a Mateusz Klich equaliser.
That meant that a win over Wigan would send West Brom to top spot but the Latics snatched a 1-0 win through Josh Windass, leaving Sheffield United as the last team capable of displacing Boro as they visited Derby County.
Things got off to a horrendous start after Craig Bryson opened the scoring in just 19 seconds when he lashed in a play back from Jack Marriott, who had collected Harry Wilson’s cross.
A frantic first half battle then endured till Chris Basham curled in a cross from John Fleck just minutes before the break.
Marriott then struck a late winner to send the Rams up into fifth, above Norwich who complete the top six following a comeback victory through Timm Klose against Nottingham Forest.
Sheffield United meanwhile sit below Boro on goal difference on 25 points apiece.
Elsewhere, Birmingham City condemned former boss, Gary Rowett to defeat as they beat his Stoke City side through a Che Adams smash.
New Aston Villa boss, Dean Smith got his reign off to a flier after Tammy Abraham’s eighth minute header was enough to see off Swansea. Smith’s former side, Brentford meanwhile fell to a late home defeat against Bristol City and had Chris Mepham sent off.
Rotherham meanwhile were held to a 1-1 draw by Bolton Wanderers after Will Vaulks’ opener was cancelled out by Christian Doidge.
Finally, Ipswich occupy bottom spot after defeat to QPR whilst Preston moved out of relegation zone following their draw with second bottom placed Hull. Millwall replace the Lilywhites in the final relegation spot after suffering a 3-1 beating at Reading.