League round-up: Gera the hero as Baggies close in on promised land

On a day when nerves at the top and bottom of the Championship appeared to get the better of contenders and strugglers alike, West Bromwich Albion emerged as the calmest. Their 2-1 win at Norwich City opened up a five-point lead over third-placed Hull City.

Albion got off to the best possible start. Kevin Phillips' second-minute shot was parried by David Marshall, which set up a tap-in for Robert Koren. Zoltan Gera had already hit the bar when, in the 71st minute, he fired in the Baggies' second. A Ched Evans penalty was the cue for a frantic finish as the Canaries pushed for an equaliser.

"In this game you are never there until you are there. There's still a job to be done and we haven't done it yet," the cautious Albion manager, Tony Mowbray, said. "But all credit to the players because they've had to play six games in the space of 18 days and it hasn't been easy."

Mamady Sidibe scored two first-half goals as Stoke City beat Bristol City 2-1 to move above Hull City into second place after the Tigers lost 2-0 at 10-man Sheffield United. The Blades had Chris Morgan sent off for a second yellow card on the stroke of half-time, but goals by Stephen Quinn and James Beattie, from a penalty, saw Hull's promotion plans upset. "We didn't perform," the disappointed Hull manager,Phil Brown, said.

Fifth entertained sixth at Vicarage Road, where the hosts Watford's experience and strength was undone by Crystal Palace's youth and pace. Substitute Paul Ifill fired in left-footed after 71 minutes and four minutes later Palace's exciting young winger Victor Moses made it 2-0.

But the sides just outside the top six are beginning to fall away. Only Tommy Miller's late strike for Ipswich Town that earned a point from a 1-1 draw at Wolves was of real use. Ipswich are three points off a play-off place. Wolves are another two adrift but do have a game more to play.

Charlton Athletic's hopes were extinguished by a 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers, and Plymouth Argyle's dream ended when Richard Chaplow's 90th-minute strike saw Preston North End draw 2-2 at Home Park. Cardiff City stalled, too, beaten 3-2 at relegated Scunthorpe United; they can now focus on their FA Cup Final preparations.

Seven teams are in danger of filling the final relegation berth. A 2-1 defeat at Blackpool saw Sheffield Wednesday drop back into the bottom three. Southampton are just a point ahead of the Owls after they lost 1-0 at home to Burnley. Saints go to West Bromwich next. But there were wins for Leicester City, 1-0 at Barnsley, and Coventry City, who won 5-1 at relegated Colchester United after trailing at half-time.

Swansea City claimed the League One title despite losing 2-1 at home to Yeovil because Southend United won 2-1 at Carlisle United. In League Two, Milton Keynes Dons and Peterborough United both won promotion after wins at Stockport County and Hereford respectively. Finally, Hamilton's 2-0 win over Clyde sealed their promotion to the Scottish Premier.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat