Championship round-up: Ephraim gives Rangers' Italian job perfect start

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The Independent Online

Queens Park Rangers' new first-team coach, Luigi de Canio, began life at Loftus Road with a 2-0 win over Hull City that liftedthe west London club out of the bottom three. Rangers, playing with a confidence that belied their lowly position, but owed a lot to the belief instilled during Mick Harford's caretakership, led from the 26th minute. Hogan Ephraim, the on-loan West Ham winger, cut in from the left, skipped by two poor Hull tackles and fired a 25-yard shot into the right-hand corner.

The former Serie A coach saw Mikele Leigertwood wrap up the win 11 minutes into the second half with a fine drive. "I want to work with this group of players," De Canio promised. "There will be no revolution."

Neil Warnock, the manager of London's other struggling side, Crystal Palace, has had a little longer to settle in and is not so happy with his group, suggesting there will soon be loan signings after a dire 0-0 draw at Scunthorpe United.

Warnock's previous club, Sheffield United, also contesteda goalless draw, with Burnley at Bramall Lane, but their manager,Bryan Robson, was furious with Richard Beeby. "The ref has robbed us of a perfectly good goal right in the last minute," he said after Danny Webber's effort was disallowed.

The Blades' city neighbours, Sheffield Wednesday, have been on a steeper recovery path and inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Plymouth Argyle, Akpo Sodje and Burton O'Brien scoring in the Owls' 2-1 win.

Michael Mifsud, Coventry City's Maltese striker, helped the Sky Blues to get over their midweek Carling Cup defeat by West Ham by scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Stoke City. Mifsud opened the scoring early in the second half and Dele Adebola added the second before Liam Lawrence replied for the Potterswith a penalty.

But Mifsud's 10th goal of the season eased Coventry home. "Michael has what defenders hate," the club's assistant manager, Tim Flowers, said, "raw blistering pace. And Dele is a major handful, a big, mobile lad."

Charlton Athletic's barren spell ended at Southampton when Chris Iwelumo's injury-time winner broke the Saints' resistance. Charlton had played for nearly an hour with 10 men; Jose Semedo's second yellow card came after 36 minutes.

"Of all the matches in my managerial career this win has got to be in my top five," Charlton's manager, Alan Pardew, said. "This was a massive win for us after the three defeats."

Preston North End lost 1-0 at Barnsley, an Istvan Ferenczi header winning the match. Heinz Muller saved a late penalty by Preston's Neil Mellor. Leicester drew 1-1 at Colchester.

It has been a bad week for Leeds United. They lost their assistant coach, Gus Poyet, to Spurs, then lost their unbeaten start to the season, 3-1 to Carlisle, who went back to the top of League One. And the former England Under-21 and much-travelled League manager Peter Taylor started at Stevenage Borough in the Conference with a 2-0 win at Northwich Victoria.

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