Championship round-up: Folan strike gives Tigers teeth as contenders stumble

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The Independent Football

They have yet to appear in the top flight in their 103-year history, but Hull City, the only side in the top six of the Championship to win yesterday, might break that mould as they moved to within two points of the automatic promotion places with a 2-0 win at hapless Leicester City.

The Tigers took the lead in first-half time added on, Dean Marney meeting Fraizer Campbell's right-wing cross on the half-volley. Marney might have wrapped it up in the second-half, but Paul Henderson saved his penalty. Leicester's reprieve was short-lived, Caleb Folan adding Hull's second in the 76th minute.

So, automatic promotion? "What's coming into my thoughts is just winning the next game," Hull's manager, Phil Brown, said, which happens to be against Watford, level on 65 points with the Tigers, next Saturday. "These players seem to be totally focused on the job in hand, so full credit to them," Brown added.

Leicester stay out of the bottom three on goal difference but the Tigers go third while all around them seemed toothless. Leaders Stoke City drew 1-1 at home to Blackpool and second-placed Bristol City lost 2-1 at Ninian Park as Cardiff City celebrated their High Court reprieve. A traffic accident on the M6 had delayed Pool's arrival at the Britannia Stadium but they led at half-time through Ben Burgess. Two minutes into the second-half Leon Cort's goal earned the Potters a point.

Peter Whittingham was the architect of Bristol City's downfall. He centred for Cardiff's first goal, headed in by defender Roger Johnson, and after Dele Adebola had equalised he scored the winner when Marvin Elliott gave away an 81st-minute penalty.

"We have to get over it," Gary Johnson, Bristol's manager, said. "There are six games to get the points we need for promotion."

Watford slipped from third after being held to a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle, who cling on to the final play-off place. Jermaine Easter gave a seasonal ring to the scoresheet as Argyle led in the 34th minute, but Watford levelled through Lee Williamson. Peter Halmosi was sent off, but Watford couldn't take advantage.

Level with Argyle on 59 points, Ipswich Town won 2-1 at Scunthorpe United, Pablo Couñago scoring the Suffolk side's first and then being sent off with Jack Cork, a squabble started by the Spaniard's alleged spitting.

A point behind come Crystal Palace and Wolves, who both needed late goals to draw. Matt Lawrence's 93rd-minute goal earned Palace a 2-2 draw at Hillsborough. The Owls stay in the bottom three. And Andy Keogh scored twice as Wolves came back three times for a 3-3 draw with Queen's Park Rangers.

Jamie Cureton scored a hat-trick as Norwich City thrashed bottom side Colchester United 5-1 while Southampton and Coventry City kept above the relegation places with a 0-0 draw. Preston North End dented Burnley's play-off hopes with a 2-1 win in the north-west derby at Deepdale. In the Yorkshire derby at Oakwell, Billy Sharp's goal saw Sheffield United beat Barnsley 1-0.

In League One, Carlisle won 3-0 at Leyton Orient to move into the automatic promotion places.

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