Chopra's hat-trick has Bluebirds flying high again

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The Independent Online

Michael Chopra scored a hat-trick as Cardiff City beat Leicester City 3-2 at Ninian Park to move back into the Championship play-off places and celebrate Dave Jones's 500th match as a manager in some style.

The Bluebirds dominated the early exchanges and took a 21st-minute lead when a clash of heads between Leicester's Stephen Hughes and the Cardiff midfielder Riccardo Scimeca earned the hosts a free-kick. Up stepped Chopra to curl his 14th goal of the season into the top corner of Paul Henderson's net.

The striker had scored only twice in his 16 previous games, but having broken the drought a second goal soon came when a Joe Ledley's 57th-minute pass split the Foxes defence and Chopra chipped over Henderson. Twelve minutes later the striker made it 3-0 with his 16th goal of the season, set up by Steve Thompson's pass. Pat Kisnorbo's header and a late Elvis Hammond strike gave the scoreline respectability for Leicester.

The League One leaders, Scunthorpe United, showed few effects of the sale of their prized striker, Andy Keogh, to Wolves, as second-half goals by Jim Goodwin, Andy Crosby and Jermaine Beckford earned a 3-0 win over Millwall. Yeovil moved up one place to fourth after Arron Davies scored both goals in the Glovers' 2-0 win over Bradford City at Valley Parade.

The bottom side Brentford welcomed their new striker from Sheffield United, Neil Shipperley, but he couldn't find the target as the Bees drew 0-0 with Carlisle United. A place above them, Rotherham United lost their Yorkshire derby with Doncaster at Belle Vue 3-2, Paul Heffernan scoring twice for Rovers. Elsewhere, Leyton Orient won 4-0 at Crewe Alexandra.

Walsall's lead at the top of League Two was cut to a point when they were held to a 1-1 draw by visitors Boston United. Martin Butler put the Saddlers ahead after 19 minutes but the lead lasted only six minutes before Scott Dann put through his own net. That enabled second-placed Swindon Town to move closer after they beat Macclesfield 2-0, Ricky Shakes and Lee Peacock the scorers. But Milton Keynes Dons slipped from third to fifth after they were humbled 5-0 at Rochdale, who move out of the relegation places. Adam Le Fondre, on loan from Stockport, scored twice while his parent club County were beating Wycombe Wanderers 2-0, thanks to a 21st-minute far-post header by Anthony Elding and Stephen Gleeson's second-half tap-in from four yards.

James Brown and Anthony Sweeney scored as Hartlepool beat Bury 2-0 to move up to fourth, a point outside the automatic promotion places.

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