RAFA’S HAPPY TO SET­TLE ON SEVEN

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John Lyons

CHAMPIONSHIP lead­ers New­cas­tle United couldn’t make it a hat-trick of away wins over pro­mo­tion ri­vals in a week but picked up a solid point at Jaap Stam’s Read­ing on Tues­day.

The goal­less result at the Made­jski Stadium came on the back on the Mag­pies win­ning at both Brighton (2-1) and Hud­der­s­field (3-1).

Boss Rafa Ben­itez said: “We have to be happy to take seven points from the past three away games.

“To­day was a pity as I think in the first half we had so many clear chances that there could have been three points.”

Brighton and Hud­der­s­field took the chance to trim New­cas­tle’s lead. The Seag­ulls got back to win­ning ways after a cou­ple of de­feats with a 2-0 win at rock-bot­tom Rother­ham. An­thony Knock­aert and sub Solly March net­ted as Chris Hughton’s men closed to within three points of New­cas­tle.

Hud­der­s­field skip­per Tommy Smith grabbed the only goal of the game as the Ter­ri­ers edged past As­ton Villa 1-0, thwart­ing Villa’s hopes of a fourth win on the spin. It left Hud­der­s­field trail­ing the Toon Army by nine points with a game in hand.

Other Championship teams who bagged mid­week wins were Wi­gan, Brent­ford and QPR. Wi­gan gave their sur­vival chances a mas­sive boost with a 1-0 win at Birm­ing­ham City. Dan Burn scored as the Lat­ics added to Blues boss Gianfranco Zola’s mis­ery.

Carved

Brent­ford brought Not­ting­ham For­est back down to earth with a bump fol­low­ing their 3-0 win against Brighton at the week­end. Lasse Vibe struck twice and Jota got the other as the Bees tri­umphed 3-2 at the City Ground.

Ben Br­ere­ton and Zach Clough scored late on for For­est after the Bees had carved out a 3-0 lead.

QPR’s re­vival un­der boss Ian Hol­loway con­tin­ued as they beat Barns­ley 2-1 at Lof­tus Road. Idrissa Sylla net­ted early on for the R’s be­fore an An­gus MacDonald own goal dou­bled the ad­van­tage. Barns­ley sub Tom Brad­shaw pulled one back.

All the re­main­ing Championship matches fin­ished in draws. Play-off chasers Sh­effield Wed­nes­day would have hoped to build on their 5-1 win against Nor­wich at the week­end, but had to set­tle for a 1-1 draw at home to Bur­ton Al­bion.

Ross Wal­lace gave the Owls a 16th-minute lead, but Hills­bor­ough was stunned eight min­utes later when Jack­son Irvine struck for the Brew­ers.

There were four more 1-1 draws. Steve McClaren’s Derby thought they were on their way to three points when Matej Vy­dra scored against Pre­ston, but Tom Barkhuizen earned North End a point with an in­jury-time equaliser.

Ful­ham’s Tom Cair­ney also nabbed a stop­page time equaliser to pre­vent his side los­ing at home to Leeds, who had taken the lead through Tim Ream’s own goal.

Black­burn con­tin­ued their fine run un­der new boss Tony Mow­bray with a 1-1 home draw against Cardiff. The vis­i­tors went ahead through the in-form Ken­neth Zo­hore, but Der­rick Wil­liams popped up in the 90th minute to earn Rovers a pre­cious point.

Nor­wich put their Sh­effield Wed­nes­day hor­ror show be­hind them by pick­ing up a point at rel­e­ga­tion-haunt- ed Bris­tol City. Yanic Wild­schut gave the Ca­naries the lead, but Bris­tol City drew level cour­tesy of Bai­ley Wright with 12 min­utes left.

Ip­swich and Wolves played out a goal­less draw at Port­man Road.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HERO AND VILLANS: Tommy Smith strikes the Hud­der­s­field win­ner against Villa

KNOCK, KNOCK: Brighton’s An­thony Knock­aert cel­e­brates scor­ing at Rother­ham. Be­low, Solly March adds their sec­ond goal

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