League round-up: Dorrans gives Albion an advantage but Forest falter

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The Independent Football

Doggedly contesting the Championship's second automatic promotion place, both West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest were involved in matches that ended 3-2 yesterday, positively for second-placed Albion, not so for Forest.

At the Hawthorns, Albion trailed Blackpool, a side keen on a play-off place, when Charlie Adam's 30-yard left-foot shot gave Pool a sixth-minute lead. A composed 13th-minute finish by Ishmael Miller in his first start for 15 months brought Albion level, Robert Koren put them ahead, the Seasiders substitute Brett Ormerod made it 2-2, but a debatable penalty saw a cool Graham Dorrans, and Albion, have the last word from 12 yards.

"We looked at the fixture list and knew we had seven of the final 12 games at home," Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo said of his side's run-in. "I am very pleased we have managed to win the first two."

Billy Davies' Forest returned to one of his former clubs, Preston North End, and were 3-0 down by half-time. Goals from Dexter Blackstock and Rob Earnshaw gave false hope, as it ended 3-2. In fact of the play-off placed sides only Leicester City, fifth, won, Martyn Waghorn's 29th-minute shot accounting for sixth-placed Cardiff City 1-0 at the Walkers Stadium. Fourth-placed Swansea City were held to a goalless home draw by Sheffield Wednesday, who remain in relegation peril.

Few of the sides hoping to gatecrash the top six took advantage. Coventry City needed Michael McIndoe's equaliser in a 1-1 draw with lowly Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield United were also held 1-1 by former manager Neil Warnock's Queens Park Rangers.

In the scrap to avoid relegation, Crystal Palace picked up a point from the goalless draw at Barnsley, but Liam Dickinson's 51st-minute goal earned bottom club Peterborough United their first away win of the season, 1-0 at Watford. Ipswich Town, though, are edging away from danger after 16-year-old prodigy Connor Wickham's classy strike earned a 1-0 win over Scunthorpe United, both sides ending with 10 men. Iron drop into the bottom three.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's two first-half goals set up form team Reading's seventh win in eight matches, a 2-0 defeat of Bristol City, while Billy Sharp and a wonder strike by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas saw Doncaster beat Derby 2-1.

League One

Stephen Elliott scored twice as leaders Norwich City went 12 points clear of third place, coming from behind to win 3-1 at Huddersfield Town, while second-placed Leeds United lost 1-0 at Southampton and third-placed Charlton Athletic lost 4-0 in the south London derby at Millwall, Steve Morison scoring twice for the Lions, who are fourth.

League Two

Rochdale's 1-0 win at Shrewsbury Town opened up a nine-point lead at the top, third-placed Bury lost 2-0 and had leading scorer Ryan Lowe sent off at Macclesfield, playing their first home match since the death of their manager Keith Alexander. Goal madness at the Pirelli Stadium, where Burton led visitors Cheltenham 2-0, 4-2 and, with five minutes left, 5-3 but still lost 6-5 to the Robins.

Scottish Cup

Robbie Keane scored a second-half hat-trick as Celtic eased into the Scottish Cup semi-finals with a 3-0 win at Kilmarnock, but Premier side Hibernian, well held to a 2-2 draw at Easter Road by Ross County, while Raith Rovers turned First Division form on its head beating the leaders Dundee 2-1.

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