Championship round-up: Blades force Pardew to fall on sword

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The Independent Online

Alan Pardew last night left his role as Charlton manager by mutual consent. The board at The Valley finally lost patience with the 47-year-old following the 5-2 defeat at home to Sheffield United.

The result saw Charlton slip into the Championship relegation zone on the back of a run of eight games without a win. Pardew said: "My record coming to this club has been good, but it's been difficult here. When I arrived they were on the slide and I haven't been able to stop that. We're in a sticky situation and I have to accept whatever decision is made."

In a statement on the club's website, Charlton chairman Richard Murray said: "On reflection of results so far this season, and looking at the future challenges for the remainder of the campaign, it was agreed by both parties that Alan would leave the club with immediate effect."

Pardew, who arrived at The Valley on Christmas Eve 2006, narrowly failed to keep them in the top flight, but hopes were high of an immediate return. However, a promotion push failed to materialise and Charlton finished a lowly 11th last season. This campaign has seen the club lurch from one setback to another, with a proposed multi-million-pound takeover from Dubai falling through.

Charlton have won just six of their last 29 Championship matches and are four points off the foot of the table. Assistant manager Phil Parkinson has been placed in temporary charge for Tuesday night's trip to QPR. Alan Curbishley, who quit The Valley after 15 years in charge at the end of the 2005-06 season, will be an early contender for the vacant role.

Shock of the day in the Championship came at Reading, where Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice as Southampton inflicted a first home defeat of the season on the Royals, 2-1. "I am so very proud of what we saw," said the Saints manager, Jan van Poortvliet.

Two goals in as many minutes just before half-time at Home Park set up Plymouth Argyle's 2-1 defeat of Cardiff City. Emile Mpenza and Paul Gallagher put Argyle 2-0 up before Michael Chopra pulled a goal back. Cardiff's manager David Jones said. "We could not pass water from front to back."

Bristol City's ambitions received a jolt at Crystal Palace, where John Oster's cool finish, Sean Scannell's crisp shot, Craig Beattie's strike and Jose Fonte's header set up the Londoners' 4-2 win.

Stand-in captain Chris Iwelumo scored twice as Wolves beat Blackpool 2-0 to re-establish their six-point lead at the top. "If people want to say the armband has helped Chris get two goals, I'll happily take the credit," his manager Mick McCarthy said. Burnley had Steve Thompson sent off and slipped to fifth when they were held to a 0-0 draw at Doncaster. Ipswich beat Derby 2-0 after "the type of performance I thought we'd left behind," Rams manager Paul Jewell said. Clinton Morrison earned Coventry a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday and a late winner saw Preston beat Barnsley 2-1.

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