League round-up: Church attendance ensures the Royals make their point

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The Independent Football

Three Championship clubs removed their managers during the course of last week taking the season's cull to seven. None of them reaped the immediate benefit of a win, two had encouraging results, but at Hillsborough it was bad business as usual when Sheffield Wednesday, under caretaker Sean McAuley, lost 2-0 to Swansea City, midfielder Darren Pratley scoring after five and 36 minutes to move the Swans up to fifth. The Owls stay in the bottom three. "There is a fear and a lack of belief," McAuley said of his squad. "The ability is quite good but they are definitely not playing to their potential levels."

Brian McDermott's tenure as caretaker manager at Reading seemed to be heading in a similar direction in his first match in charge, Paul Hartley's penalty giving Bristol City an early lead. But in injury time substitute Simon Church nipped in at the near post to poach an equaliser. He was sent off for exuberant celebrations, but Reading had a 1-1 draw.

The week's third new incumbent, Paul Hart, in charge at Queens Park Rangers until the end of the season, saw his first selection prove the equal of Sheffield United at Loftus Road. Mikele Leigertwood gave Rangers a second-minute lead, Richard Cresswell levelled for the Blades six minutes later, and it stayed 1-1. Paul Mariner has had only a few days longer as Plymouth Argyle manager but that club's problems seem no better. Freddy Eastwood headed his fourth goal in two games as Coventry beat Argyle 1-0.

Plymouth slip to the bottom because another side who have changed manager recently, Peterborough United, won their first match under Mark Cooper, at the sixth attempt. Exodus Geohaghon, the centre-back who followed Cooper from non-league Kettering Town, grabbed a late winner in the 2-1 home win over Watford. The Hornets were saved from a worse fate, administration, on Friday night.

The most effective managerial change so far has been the first, Mark Robins having steered Barnsley from bottom to mid-table, a trajectory continued by a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Daniel Bogdanovich gave the Tykes the lead after Darren Ambrose had missed a Palace penalty. But Victor Moses' spectacular overhead kick earned Palace's draw. "I look at the results of the top lads in the Premiership and you cannot tell me he would not get in their sides," Palace manager Neil Warnock said of his starlet.

At Pride Park Doncaster Rovers' Billy Sharp scored for the sixth consecutive match and James Coppinger added the second as Rovers beat Derby County 2-0. Paul McKenna, Dele Adebola and Lewis McGugan scored as Nottingham Forest moved up to third after a 3-0 home win over Preston.

League One

Southampton gave Leeds United one of their stiffest tests so far but Robert Snodgrass's goal saw the leaders win 1-0. Second-placed Charlton Athletic were involved in a mighty south-east London derby with Millwall that ended 4-4 at The Valley. Third-placed Norwich City beat Huddersfield 3-0.

League Two

Only one match survived the ice and snow, Chris O'Grady and Craig Dawson scoring two apiece as leaders Rochdale beat Shrewsbury 4-0.

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