Championship Round-Up

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Brighton 1 Luton Town 1

With most of the sides around them winning, the two home points dropped by Mark McGhee's Brighton look costly. "You get to a point where you start calling games 'must win', and we are there now," he said. Striker Gifton Noel-Williams, brought on loan to the Withdean from Burnley, scored on his debut, but in torrential rain Brighton keeper Wayne Henderson weakly palmed Mark Feeney's cross and Steve Robinson equalised.

Cardiff City 0 QPR 0

Rangers' fourth consecutive draw put a brake on the Bluebirds' late charge for a play-off place. "A very tight game, there was nowhere for any one to move," Dave Jones, the Cardiff manager, said. "They kept their formation of two banks of four and we weren't good enough on the day to break them down and I do not have a big enough squad to change things around." "I was never going to approach this game in cavalier style," QPR caretaker boss Gary Waddock admitted.

Crewe Alex 4 Coventry City 1

Bottom of the table Crewe took full advantage of Coventry's atrocious away form to record this handsome win with goals by Billy Jones, Madjid Bougherra, Luke Rodgers and Gareth Taylor. Coventry manager Micky Adams was conciliatory: "We can only apologise to the fans for our away results, but I am not going to have a go at the players because they have got us into the top half of the table and got the club out of the doldrums this season."

Derby County 2 Crystal Palace 1

Two goals by Inigo Idiakez led to Palace's first defeat in 10 matches, which probably means participation in the play-offs and not automatic promotion for Iain Dowie's side. They led in the 18th-minute through Clinton Morrison's 12th League goal of the season, but 10 minutes later Idiakez equalised and scored a late winner after his penalty had been parried by Gabor Kiraly. Not a penalty, "no way," aggrieved Dowie said. "[The result] leaves us with a mountain to climb, but it's not impossible."

Ipswich Town 1 Hull City 1

Joe Royle's side remain unbeaten at home in 2006 but needed three points from this match if they were to sneak into the play-offs. A Darren Currie free-kick eluded everyone to give Ipswich a 23rd-minute lead. Hull equalised when Stuart Green crossed for Leon Cort to head in. "Symptomatic of our season," Royle surmised. "We played well but hit the bar and had shots cleared off the line. But we will keep playing our passing game and see what happens."

Preston NE 0 Plymouth 0

With Wolves and Cardiff, the sides breathing down their necks, both dropping points at home, Preston missed a chance to tighten their grip on the final play-off berth. They have forgotten how to score. "We're not getting the little breaks," their manager, Billy Davies, reckoned. "We're not getting the little ricochets to fall for us. But it's one game less for everybody else to try to catch us; we've got an important game in hand and we're looking forward to that."

Wolves 1 Sheffield Wed 3

A goal at the end of each half for Marcus Tudgay and one for strike partner Deon Burton put a large question mark over Wolves' ability to reach the play-offs but suggested that the Owls can stay up. "Millwall won, Crewe won, we won thank God, and I think it will go right down to the bitter end," Paul Sturrock, their manager, said. His opposite number, Glenn Hoddle, insisted: "We haven't blown the play-off place, certainly. We're still in a very strong position."