Championship round-up: Johnson magic keeps Watford ahead of pack

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The Independent Football

Championship leaders Watford were held to a 1-1 draw at Queen's Park Rangers, where the presence of unemployed managers Gianluca Vialli and Martin Allen in the directors' box might have unsettled men less self-possessed than Rangers' boss John Gregory. Adam Johnson gave Watford the lead four minutes into the second half, but Rangers levelled just before the hour, Stefan Moore was first to the ball after Dexter Blackstock's effort came back off the crossbar, and held on when Mikele Leigertwood was sent off.

Gregory was sanguine about his future; Adrian Boothroyd was philosophical about the match: "You probably would not know which team was top of the table and which was near the bottom. That's the nature of the Championship."

Charlton moved up to second after a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester City, whose defence never got to grips with Chris Iwelumo. The striker scored the first in the 18th minute and five minutes later headed on for Luke Varney to make it 2-0.

Goals by Leon Barnett, Chris Brunt and Felipe Teixeira saw West Bromwich Albion win 3-2 at Scunthorpe United and move up to third, deposing Bristol City, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Ashton Gate by Burnley. Darren Byfield scored twice but goals by Andy Gray and Clark Carlisle earned Burnley a point. "We have been second best today," Clarets manager Steve Cotterill admitted, "so it's a great draw for us."

Gallows humour was in evidence nearer the bottom of the table as Sheffield Wednesday at last earned some points. Francis Jeffers scored five minutes before half-time, sufficient to beat Hull City 1-0. "I'm emotionally drained and gave my players a right rollicking after the game for putting me through this agony," Owls manager Brian Laws joked. They stay bottom.

Peter Taylor of Crystal Palace, another manager said to be on the critical list, saw a late Ben Watson penalty earn a 3-2 win over Sheffield United. What did he need to ease the pressure? "About 14 wins on the spin," Taylor said, possibly not joking.

There were also 3-2 wins for Stoke City, over Plymouth Argyle, and Barnsley, at Southampton, Martin Devaney winning the match for the Tykes in injury time.

Robbie Fowler's first two goals for Cardiff City were upstaged by a couple of stunning left-foot drives by the Preston North End midfielder Callum Davidson that earned a 2-2 draw. Preston stay in the bottom three; the Bluebirds have yet to win at home in the League this season.

Blackpool were held to a 2-2 home draw by Colchester, impressive Mark Yeates scoring twice for the visitors, and Pablo Counago scored two as Ipswich Town beat Coventry City 4-1. Wolves beat Norwich City 2-0, Kevin Foley and Andy Keogh scoring before the Canaries had Jason Shackell and Julien Breller sent off. "Our best performance of the season," Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said. "The worst performance I have had as a manager," Canaries' Peter Grant said.

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