Nottingham Forest's manager, Alex McLeish, whose position has been under scrutiny after his club withdrew from the purchase of Peterborough forward George Boyd amid rumours of a rift with his chairman, Fawaz Al Hasawi, later denied, might have wished for an easier match yesterday than a trip to Birmingham City, the club he quit to take over at neighbours Aston Villa. After his predictably hostile reception, Forest went down 2-1 to two Chris Burke goals.
"I am not commenting," said McLeish after the match. "There is no meeting planned with the chairman. He was at the training ground on Friday. That [conversation] will remain private."
Hull City, third in the Championship, quickly shook off their transfer deadline day rejection by DJ Campbell, David Meyler scoring the only goal of the game at Millwall after just 45 seconds. "A terrific acquisition for us," the Tigers manager, Steve Bruce, said of the striker. "If he can stay fit, he'll be a big player for us."
Two of the other top-six sides came from behind at home to win 2-1. Matej Vydra got his 19th goal of the season and Almen Abdi scored in fourth-placed Watford's defeat of Bolton, while Glenn Murray scored two as Crystal Palace, fifth, won the south London derby with Charlton. But Middlesbrough, sixth, were hammered 4-0 at Ipswich, a win manager Mick McCarthy missed through illness.
In the bottom three, Barnsley were the only winners, 2-1 at Blackpool, who had goalkeeper Matt Gilks sent off. The Sheffield Wednesday manager, Dave Jones, and Brighton coach, Charlie Oatway, were sent to the stands at Hillsborough after a touchline fracas – "Handbags," said Jones – during the Owls' 3-1 win. Jordan Rhodes scored his 100th career goal, netting both as Blackburn beat Bristol City 2-0.
In League One, FA Cup giantkillers Oldham lost 3-1 at Walsall to raise doubts about manager Paul Dickov's tenure.
Cape Verde Islands' Africa Cup of Nations adventure ended in a quarter-final 2-0 defeat by Ghana, substitute Mubarak Wakaso scoring both goals.