Championship Round-Up

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The Independent Football

Having sold leading scorer Ade Akinbiyi to Sheffield United, Clarets' fans must have wondered where the goals were coming from in a side struggling to win. Michael Ricketts, on loan from Leeds until the end of the season, provided the answer, and the winner, after 24 minutes, firing in right-footed to give Steve Cotterill's side their first win in seven matches. "A great lad who maybe lost his way for whatever reason," Cotterill said, "but he has come and given his all."

Coventry City 2 Brighton 0

Energised by the presence of Dennis Wise, who scored twice to take his goal tally to four in three games, the Sky Blues made it three consecutive wins since the 39-year-old midfielder arrived and are now eyeing the play-offs. Wise glanced in a header two minutes after the break to give Coventry the lead against the run of play and added the second in the 68th minute. "If we can keep the run going then maybe we can look at that sixth spot," assistant manager Adrian Heath said.

Crystal Palace 1 Cardiff City 0

Aki Riihilahti, back in the Palace starting line-up for the first time since September, scored the game's only goal, a close-range effort after excellent work by Andrew Johnson, to revive Palace's play-off challenge. Cameron Jerome had a first-half goal disallowed for the Bluebirds and Palace's former Cardiff midfielder Jobi McAnuff hit the bar. The south Londoners had Fitz Hall sent off after an off-the-ball incident with Joe Ledley, but Palace's 10 men held on.

Leicester City 1 Wolves 0

Matt Fryatt's third goal since his move from Walsall gave Leicester a second win of the week and further dented the play-off hopes of Wolves, whose manager, Glenn Hoddle, was barracked by travelling fans chanting "Hoddle for Leicester". A fumble by Stefan Postma and Fryatt, Craig Levein's last signing before he was sacked, netted. Can stand-in Leicester boss Rob Kelly do the job? "There's no point banging on doors to get them opened - they'll either open up for you or they won't."

Luton Town 2 Hull City 3

Peter Taylor's dealings in the transfer window paid off as the Tigers' new signings, Jon Parkin and Darryl Duffy, scored in a rare away win. Keith Keane headed Luton in front after nine minutes, but Hull replied through Stuart Elliott and Duffy. Parkin made it 3-1, and Chris Coyne pulled one back, but it was too late for Luton, whose manager, Mike Newell, is a Leicester target. "They've not offered me the job, until that happens there's nothing to talk about," he said.

Millwall 0 Sheffield Wed 1

This fierce relegation tussle was settled by a controversial first goal for Owls full-back Frank Simek. Millwall thought they had scored when Tony Craig's corner beat stand-in goalie Lee Bullen - David Lucas was injured just before half-time and the Owls had no keeper on the bench - but a foul was given. While some of the Lions' players were still celebrating, Bullen took the free-kick, Wednesday quickly broke upfield and in a goalmouth scramble, Simek fired the ball in.

Stoke City 0 Preston NE 0

Preston stretched their unbeaten run to 22 games but were unable to break down a Stoke side reduced to 10 men for the final 35 minutes when Darel Russell was sent off for violent conduct. Steve Simonsen in the Potters' goal saved Paul McKenna's late penalty after Carl Hoefkens had felled Tyrone Mears. "It was a pity Graham Alexander was off injured because he has been Mr Reliable from the spot for the past four years," Preston manager Billy Davies lamented.