Championship round-up: Morrison in luck as Palace guard hold firm again

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The Independent Football

The Championship's form team, Crystal Palace, maintained the power surge that has seen them drive into the top six from second bottom in just over two months with an impressive2-0 defeat of Bristol City at Selhurst Park. Palace took the lead in the sixth minute when Clinton Morrison was lucky to deflect in Jamie McAllister's attempted clearance for his 11th goal in 13 games. They withstood City's second-half onslaught and wrapped up the win when Mark Hudson headed in with five minutes left.

How has their manager, Neil Warnock, improved Palace so quickly? "The formula is hard work," he said. "It isn't rocket science. But there is a lot of ability in the team as well."

In a thriller at the Hawthorns, Cardiff City led leaders West Bromwich Albion 2-0 and 3-1 but goals by Roman Bednar, Martin Albrechtsen and a Roger Johnson own goal saw Albion draw 3-3 to stay top. "It was a fabulous effort to muster such a drive in the second half," their manager, Tony Mowbray, said in tribute to Albion's revival.

At Vicarage Road, Watford and Charlton Athletic shared a 1-1 draw. Nathan Ellington put the Hornets ahead but Richard Lee's error in goal saw Darren Ambrose equalise. Watford go second on goal difference.

Meanwhile, the defender Leon Cort, signed from Palace for £1.2 million, scored with two headers as fourth-placed Stoke City ran out 3-1 winners over Preston North End, who remain mired in the relegation places along with Scunthorpe United, who lost 2-0 at home to Wolves. David Edwards, late of Luton, scored from midfield and set up Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's goal.

"Him and Karl Henry were fantastic in midfield," the Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy, said of the former Hatter. "They enabled me to play two wingers and gave us good balance."

In the Sheffield derby at Hillsborough, Akpo Sodje's 25th-minute goal, created on the right wing by Jermaine Johnson, saw Wednesday draw first blood against Sheffield United. With 14 minutes to play, substitute Leon Clarke's overhead kick was volleyed in by Marcus Tudgay to wrap up the 2-0 win.

"It was not about football today," the Owls manager, Brian Laws, said, "it was about commitment and desire." And the Blades had too little of both.

Ipswich Town, the only side in the League without an away win, at least took a point at Blackpool despite having Luis Cristo Sito sent off when they were trailing to Claus Jorgensen's first-half strike. Jonathan Walters' goal earned a 1-1 draw.

Burnley seemed not affected by the loss of striker Andy Gray to Charlton when they won their seventh away match this term, 2-1 at Coventry City, who had Kevin Kyle sent off shortly after Michael Doyle had drawn them level. Ade Akinbiyi had put the Clarets ahead, Robbie Blake netted their winner.

Elsewhere, Plymouth and Southampton drew 1-1 at Home Park, and Queens Park Rangers' new signings Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine scored in the 2-0 defeat of Barnsley, while Norwich City and Leicester City drew 0-0 at Carrow Road.

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