2018-19 Sky Bet Championship: Week 31 Roundup

Norwich City extended their lead at top of Sky Bet Championship after a potentially defining weekend, featuring three derbies and a dramatic battle to go top. 

Billy Sharp’s hat-trick had looked to send Sheffield United top entering the weekend but Aston Villa weren’t sticking to script, when Tyrone Mings headed in on his home debut in 82nd minute to spark a dramatic finish. 

Tammy Abraham then put away a Dean Henderson deflection from Glenn Whelan’s shot four minutes later, before Andre Green headed in John McGinn’s cross to clinch a 3-3 draw and deny the Blades top spot. 

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Leeds soon proceeded to move top for nearly 24 hours after Kalvin Phillips’ 101st minute header secured a 1-1 draw at fifth-placed Middlesbrough, only for Norwich to emerge victorious over Ipswich in the East Anglian derby with a 3-0 victory through Onel Hernandez and a brace from Teemu Pukki.

That result leaves the Tractor Boys rock bottom with Bolton five points clear after a 2-1 home defeat by Preston North End in the Lancashire derby.

Reading complete the bottom three after holding Sheffield Wednesday to a goalless draw at Hillsborough. 

Rotherham occupy the last safety spot after Josh Windass’ strike claimed a point for Wigan, after Clark Robertson’s header had initially given the Millers the lead just three minutes earlier. 

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Elsewhere, West Brom remain fourth after edging out Stoke through a Dwight Gayle bullet header, as a late Eros Pisano flick saw Bristol City remain sixth as they beat Blackburn Rovers. 

Derby remain seventh after beating Hull as Nottingham Forest moved ninth after a win over Brentford, whilst Birmingham City really had to work for their rise to eighth as they visited QPR. 

Wells penalty saved
Nakhi Wells’ late penalty is saved by Lee Camp.  (EMPICS Sport)

A first half hatrick from Che Adams alongside Harlee Dean’s header had the Brummies four goals to the good after 42 minutes.

QPR however came back fighting after Matt Smith scored either side of the break to half their deflict, setting up an edgy second half as Jordan Cousins’ volley 10 minutes from time created a grandstand finish.

Craig Gardner then committed a foul on Luke Freeman to give the home side a penalty as they looked to complete their comeback. Nakhi Wells stepped up and could only find Lee Camp who saved the spot kick as Birmingham held on for a 4-3 win.

Finally, Swansea saw off Millwall through George Byers’ strike as they look to keep pace in the race for a play-off spot.

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