CHRIS­TIANSEN’S FAIRY­TALE START

The Football League Paper - - MIDWEEK ROUND-UP - By John Lyons

LETHAL Leeds United took ad­van­tage of Cardiff City’s stum­ble to cap­ture top spot in the se­cond tier – and boss Thomas Chris­tiansen couldn’t hide his de­light.

Span­ish striker Sa­muel Saiz gave the Whites a first half lead against Harry Red­knapp’s strug­gling Birm­ing­ham City, but it wasn’t un­til stop­page time that they made the game safe. Sub Stuart Dal­las bagged the se­cond to clinch the points and send most of the El­land Road crowd home happy.

While Leeds were notch­ing an­other three points, Neil Warnock’s Cardiff suc­cumbed to their first Cham­pi­onship de­feat of the sea­son. The Blue­birds were brushed aside 3-0 at im­pres­sive Pre­ston.

Suf­fer

Stun­ning strikes from Josh Har­rop and Alan Browne, plus a Sean Maguire ef­fort, earned Alex Neil’s Li­ly­whites a ma­jor scalp and lifted them to fifth.

It meant Leeds were, pre­week­end, the only club in the se­cond tier yet to suf­fer a de­feat.

Dan­ish-born for­mer Spain in­ter­na­tional Chris­tiansen, 44, who has en­joyed a bril­liant start in English man­age­ment, said: “I am a very happy coach, but I’ll be even more happy and proud if we fin­ish the sea­son in the po­si­tion we’re in now! Birm­ing­ham made it a very dif­fi­cult game for us.” Sh­effield United con­tin­ued their im­pres­sive start to life in the Cham­pi­onship with a hard­fought win at Bolton. Both sides have stepped up from League One, but the Blades have set­tled faster into their new sur­round­ings.

De­but-mak­ing on-loan Tot­ten­ham de­fender Cameron Carter-Vick­ers, 19, fired into the roof of the net at the se­cond at­tempt on 33 min­utes to seal all three points for the visi­tors, who climbed to third. Rock-bot­tom Bolton re­mained with­out a win.

Wolves slipped back to fourth place fol­low­ing a 3-3 thriller against Bris­tol City. Goals from Wolves’ Leo Bona- tini and Diogo Jota were can­celled out by the Robins’ Aden Flint and Fa­mara Died­hiou (penalty) to leave it 2-2 head­ing into the last ten min­utes.

It ap­peared as though Lee John­son’s visi­tors would take the spoils when the in-form Bobby Reid gave them an 82nd-minute lead, but skip­per Danny Batth headed home three min­utes later to earn Wolves a point. Sh­effield Wed­nes­day climbed into the play-off po­si­tions by com­ing from be­hind to beat lowly Brent­ford. A shock looked on the cards when Nico Yen­naris gave the Bees an early lead, but the Owls drew level through Gary Hooper on the stroke of half-time.

With 20 min­utes left, Ross Wal­lace notched Wed­nes­day’s win­ner to leave the sec­ond­bot­tom Lon­don­ers still search­ing for a first vic­tory. Brent­ford’s neigh­bours QPR bat­tled back from 2-0 down to earn a point from their Lon­don derby against ten-man Mill­wall.

Conor McLaugh­lin gave the Li­ons an early ad­van­tage, but striker Lee Gre­gory was sent off af­ter a crunch­ing chal­lenge on Josh Scowen shortly be­fore the break.

Haunt

De­spite be­ing a man down, Jed Wal­lace dou­bled Mill­wall’s lead five min­utes into the se­cond half. QPR piled the pres­sure on af­ter that. Mas­simo Luongo pulled one back be­fore sub­sti­tute Matt Smith cracked in an 85th-minute lev­eller. Striker Daryl Mur­phy re­turned to haunt for­mer club Sun­der­land by scor­ing four min­utes from time to earn Not­ting­ham For­est a 10 win at the Sta­dium of Light. As­ton Villa made it two 0-0 draws at home in four days when they were held by Mid­dles­brough. Boro had ex-Vil­lan Adama Traore sent off af­ter just four min­utes for foul­ing Conor Houri­hane, but the num­bers were lev­elled up when Villa’s Henri Lans­bury saw red for bring­ing down Boro’s Marvin John­son. Nor­wich and Bur­ton also played out a goal­less draw last Tues­day. The fol­low­ing night, Ful­ham over­came Hull City 2-1 at Craven Cot­tage. Floyd Ayite and Ste­fan Jo­hansen scored for the Whites, while Jar­rod Bowen replied for the Tigers.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

NO JOSHING: Josh Har­rop cel­e­brates Pre­ston’s first in their su­perb 3-0 win against Cardiff In­sets: Leeds scorer Stuart Dal­las, left, and Cameron CarterVick­ers scores Sh­effield United’s win­ner at Bolton

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