League round-up: Thomas quells Albion doubt

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The Independent Football

Jerome Thomas scored twice as West Bromwich Albion, second in the Championship, recovered from the early setback of Matt Mills' goal for Reading to win 3-1 at the Hawthorns and keep the pressure on leaders Newcastle United. "A threat all day," Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo said of Thomas, signed this summer after Portsmouth released him.

Middlesbrough slipped to fourth after they lost 1-0 at home to Watford, Tom Cleverly, on loan from Manchester United, firing in after 26 minutes. Cardiff City, third, were held to a 1-1 home draw by Crystal Palace. Mark Hudson, late of Palace, put through his own net to give the south London side an early lead but Peter Whittingham's fifth goal in four matches earned City's point. Players tussled after the final whistle and in the tunnel. "They didn't deserve to beat us and if any were punches were thrown they would probably have missed," the Palace manager, Neil Warnock, said.

Blackpool went fifth after a 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle. Defender Marcel Seip, on loan from Argyle after falling out with manager Paul Sturrock, inevitably scored the first. "I will never play for that man again and he will never pick me," Seip said after a David Vaughan drive had made it safe.

Equally impressive were Queen's Park Rangers who beat Preston North End as comprehensively as the 4-0 scoreline suggests, Adel Taraabt, Akos Buzsaky, Jay Simpson and Wayne Routledge scoring. "Our best performance since I've been here," QPR manager Jim Magilton said.

Sheffield United slipped out of the top six when Grant McCann was too sharp for the Blades, scoring twice, the first a superb 30-yard volley, in Scunthorpe United's 3-1 win.

Leicester City's Midlands derby with Derby County ended goalless. George Boyd's late goal earned struggling Peterborough United a point from a 1-1 draw at Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday beat Coventry City 2-0 and Adam Hammill fired in a late goal from an acute angle to seal Barnsley's Yorkshire derby win at Doncaster 1-0.

League One

Charlton Athletic went top when goals by Sam Sodje and Izale McLeod earned a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town. Jon-Paul Pittman's late goal saw Wycombe earn a point from a 1-1 draw with Colchester United in Gary Waddock's first match as Chairboys manager, but they still slipped to the bottom after Southampton's 3-1 win at Oldham. Neil Harris scored a hat-trick as Millwall won 4-0 at Gary Ablett's Stockport.

League Two

In Steve Staunton's first home match as Darlington manager, the bottom club won for the first time this season, at the 13th attempt, Jamie Devitt and Simon Thomas the scorers in the 2-1 defeat of Shrewsbury Town.

Scotland

Rangers took over at the top of the Scottish Premier when goals from Kris Boyd and Sasa Papac saw them come from behind to win 2-1 at St Johnstone while Celtic were held to a goalless draw at home by Motherwell.

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