Delayed by seven days because of last week's heavy frost, new Derby County manager Nigel Clough at last saw his Rams side perform in the Championship and was not impressed as Wayne Routledge scored one and made the second for Mikele Leigertwood in Queens Park Rangers' 2-0 win at Pride Park. It is only Rangers' second away win.
"You can only do so much to get a positive feeling around the place," Clough admitted, "but when that first goal goes in everything reverts to type. Not too many positives come out of this apart from to highlight and emphasise the problems."
None of the top three won. In a gale at Ashton Gate, leaders Wolves built up a two-goal lead but Bristol City substitute Dele Adebola turned the match, scoring one and making the equaliser for Nicky Maynard in a 2-2 draw. At St Andrew's, Lee Bowyer, on loan from West Ham, scored in the fourth minute of added time at the end of his debut as third-placed Birmingham City salvaged at 1-1 draw with Cardiff City. The Welsh side led from just after the hour through Joe Ledley's fine left-foot finish. And Jason Scotland's 12th goal of the season set up Swansea City's 2-0 win over second-placed Reading. The Royals had Leroy Rosenior sent off before Scotland teed up Andrea Orlandi to add the second goal.
Two former Hornets, Danny Webber and Darius Henderson, scored as fourth-placed Sheffield United beat Watford 2-0 at Vicarage Road. Level on points with them are Preston North End who won the north-west derby with Burnley at Deepdale thanks to two penalties – a foul by Clarets goalkeeper Brian Jensen and handball against defender Steven Caldwell – scored by Preston defender Callum Davidson and substitute Neil Mellor with his first touch in a 2-1 win. "To be treated in that manner is so wrong," was the verdict of Clarets manager Owen Coyle on the contentious penalty decisions. Ipswich Town halted Crystal Palace's charge with a 4-1 win at Selhurst Park. Managerless Norwich City's caretaker boss Bryan Gunn passed on to his players the advice of one of his former managers, Sir Alex Ferguson. "He said I should stress the importance of togetherness and playing as a team." Gunn did and enhanced his own credentials as the Canaries thrashed Barnsley 4-0.
In the relegation six-pointer at Southampton, Doncaster Rovers won 2-1, but bottom club Charlton Athletic were humbled again, 4-1 at Sheffield Wednesday. New Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies took charge of his first home match and saw Robert Earnshaw and Paul Anderson score in their 2-0 defeat of Plymouth Argyle while at the Ricoh, goals by Guillaume Beuzelin and Michael Mifsud in four minutes early in the second half saw Coventry City beat Blackpool 2-1.Reuse content