League round-up: Lita torments Royals as Boro bounce back

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The Independent Football

Leroy Lita returned to Reading, where he spent four seasons before joining Middlesbrough, and rekindled Boro's hopes of a swift return to the Premiership by scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win. After 12 minutes Sean St Ledger headed in Adam Johnson's corner, but Lita's 55th-minute solo effort was more spectacular. Gathering a pass on halfway, he outpaced Darren O'Dea and Ivar Ingimarsson and ran on to beat Adam Federici in the Reading goal. Boro moved up to third.

"I selected Leroy Lita to play against his old club because you just knew what was going to happen," Boro manager Gareth Southgate said. "He missed pre-season so he is still coming back to sharpness but he was terrific." And the recent flak? "Some supporters have expressed their displeasure. Our job is to manage through difficult times."

Following Tuesday's 6-1 thrashing of Derby County, Cardiff City made it 10 goals in five days when Peter Whittingham scored twice as the Bluebirds won 4-0 at Watford to go fourth.

The Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane between Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers ended all square, Richard Cresswell's diving header saving the Blades after Rovers led. Another derby, in the Midlands, also ended 1-1 when Sammy Clingan's fierce 38th-minute free-kick gave Coventry City the lead against Leicester City at the Ricoh Arena, but the substitute Martyn Waghorn, on loan from Sunderland, fired in a 25-yard drive to earn the visitors' point.

Paulo Sousa, the Swansea City manager, is still in a legal debate with former employers Queens Park Rangers over his dismissal which made the double dismissal of Rangers midfielders Martin Rowlands and Ben Watson oddly poetic. Mark Gower put Swans ahead between the red cards, Lee Trundle wrapped up Swansea's 2-0 win.

Crystal Palace had not managed a goal in the first half at all this season until Alan Lee's fourth-minute header against Blackpool at Selhurst Park. It sparked a 4-1 win.

At the bottom, Rory Fallon and Alan Judge scored as Plymouth Argyle beat Scunthorpe United 2-1, and Derby recovered from the hammering mentioned earlier with a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, but Peterborough United still struggle to adjust after promotion. Posh led for 60 seconds, but then two goals in five minutes saw Nottingham Forest win 2-1.

League One

Leaders Leeds United were held to a goalless draw by second-placed Charlton Athletic at Elland Road. Third-placed Bristol Rovers could not take advantage, they lost 5-1 at Norwich City. James Henry scored a hat-trick as Millwall humbled John Barnes's troubled Tranmere Rovers 5-0.

League Two

Dario Gradi's second spell as caretaker manager at Crewe after the sacking of Gudjon Thordarson began with a 3-2 home defeat by Rotherham.