Gaardsoe's late strike keeps Albion on course

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The Independent Football

A last-gasp goal from the Danish international Thomas Gaardsoe kept West Bromwich Albion level on points with Nowrich City at the top of the First Division at the expense of promotion rivals Wigan on Tuesday night.

A draw looked on the cards after two penalties inside three minutes, but Gaardsoe pounced in the dying seconds of injury time to claim only his fourth goal of the campaign and give Albion a 2-1 win.

Wigan, who have never won in five visits to the Hawthorns, broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when Bernt Haas was harshly penalised for handling a nod-down from Lee McCulloch - and Andy Liddell made no mistake from the spot.

Lee Hughes levelled the match from the penalty spot two minutes later. Hughes, awaiting trial on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving, won the penalty himself when brought down by John Filan, who was sent off.

The Baggies' victory kept them level at the top of the table with Norwich, who have a game in hand - with both teams holding an 11-point advantage over the chasing pack. The West Bromwich manager, Gary Megson, said: "I thought we were poor to say the least - we didn't pass the ball well and we didn't look cohesive."

Sheffield United are third despite being held to a 1-1 draw against South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham at Millmoor.

The FA Cup semi-finalists Sunderland were held 1-1 by Stoke at the Stadium of Light, a result which allowed Reading to move up into the play-off zone in sixth. Reading won 3-2 at Cardiff with Dean Morgan heading a last-minute winner.

Ipswich's play-off hopes were boosted by a 3-1 win at Walsall with Darren Bent scoring a hat-trick. Watford dragged themselves clear by beating fellow strugglers Derby County 2-1.