Helguson puts Rangers in higher gear

Football League Round-up
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The Independent Football

Three goals in 10 minutes at the start of the second half at Loftus Road saw Queens Park Rangers extend their goal-difference lead at the top of the Championship with a 3-0 defeat of Middlesbrough. Boro won this fixture 5-1 last season and had the better of the first half. But the QPR manager Neil Warnock's half-time pep talk saw goals by Heidar Helguson, from the penalty spot after he ha been fouled by Barry Robson, Hogan Ephraim and James Mackie maintain their 100 per cent home record.

"It was up to us to step it up a gear," Warnock said. "For 25 minutes I thought we were superb. We are enjoying ourselves and playing good football. But we don't roll over either."

When Hull City let Seyi Olofinjana, on loan to Cardiff City, play against them he was surely destined to make them rue the decision and thus, after a mere 20 minutes, the striker headed in Peter Whittingham's cross. Gavin Rae's 81st-minute flick sealed second-placed Bluebirds' 2-0 win.

Ipswich stay third after being held to a goalless draw at bottom club Portsmouth, and fourth-placed Millwall's encouraging start after promotion continued with a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest. Steve Morison headed in Danny Schofield's centre as the Lions led from the fifth minute, but Dexter Blackstock, who earlier sent a penalty sailing over the bar, equalised with 10 minutes left.

A Chris Iwelumo hat-trick allowed Burnley to come back from 3-1 down to beat Preston North End 4-3 at Turf Moor. Preston had Billy Jones sent off.

Scunthorpe United's preparation for Bristol City's visit was overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding manager Nigel Adkins, a target for Southampton, and they duly lost 2-0, the Robins' first League win this season. "This speculation cannot go on forever," Adkins said. "Something needs resolving this weekend. I do know there was a big discrepancy between the amount [of compensation] Southampton were offering and the figure Scunthorpe were wanting."

Jay McEveley's header gave Barnsley the half-time lead at Carrow Road but a Stephen Foster own goal and Chris Martin's late strike earned Norwich City a 2-1 win, while substitute Marvin Sordell scored both Watford goals in the Hornets' 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers.

In the early kick-offs in the Midlands, Clive Platt's header from a cross by substitute Michael McIndoe five minutes before the break saw Coventry City lead Leicester City at the Ricoh Stadium. But in the 76th minute, Andy King fired in the equaliser.

Reading scored two penalties in their 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace, while Derby County lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield United when Jean Calve's ball into the six-yard box was turned in by Richard Cresswell.

League One

Trailing 2-0 at home to Oldham Athletic, Peterborough United staged a storming recovery, James Weslowski, Aaron McLean, George Boyd, Dave Hibbert and Grant McCann all scoring in a 5-2 rout. Posh leap from fourth to top.

Carlisle won 1-0 at former leaders Sheffield Wednesday to go second. Managerless Southampton lost 1-0 at Swindon and drop into the bottom four.

League Two

Torquay United were held 0-0 at home by Accrington Stanley but the point took them back to the top because Shrewsbury lost 2-0 at Gillingham. Trailing 3-0 at Rotherham at half-time, Shaun Harrad scored a hat-trick in 37 second-half minutes as Burton Albion forced a 3-3 draw.