League round-up: Lambert hat-trick as Saints soar
Sunday 26 February 2012
Rickie Lambert's hat-trick at Vicarage Road took his season's Championship goal tally to 19 and saw Southampton reclaim top spot after their comfortable 3-0 defeat of Watford, who had Tomasz Kuszczak, on loan from Manchester United, in goal.
Previous leaders West Ham United, perhaps unaccustomed to playing with 11 men having seen red cards in their three previous matches, were booed off after being held to a goalless draw at Upton Park by a hard-working Crystal Palace. "It was not our best day," West Ham's manager, Sam Allardyce, agreed, "but the last three games, playing with 10 men, caught up with the lads. I might have made a mistake picking the same team. We didn't hit the heights we know we can."
A fifth consecutive win, 2-0 at Middlesbrough, Noel Hunt and Ian Harte scoring, saw Reading go third, four points behind West Ham, but Birmingham City slipped to fifth as their 11-match unbeaten run was ended by Nottingham Forest, Dexter Blackstock scoring their goals in their 2-1 away win. Fourth-placed Blackpool recovered from their midweek mauling by the Hammers, coming from behind to win 3-1 at Bristol City with Thomas Ince on target twice.
Ashley Barnes's two goals were the highlight of Brighton's 3-0 home win over Ipswich Town, taking the Seagulls to the edge of the play-offs, but Millwall dented Burnley's hopes of joining that debate when Andy Keogh, Josh Wright and Harry Kane scored in the Lions' 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.
At the bottom, Doncaster Rovers were deprived of a rare win when Peterborough United's record signing, Tyrone Barnett, late of Crawley, scored in the 90th minute to earn Posh a 1-1 draw, but Coventry City's escape is still on after Clive Platt's 90th-minute header earned a 1-0 win over Barnsley. "This could be a season-changing game for us," the Sky Blues manager, Andy Thorn, said.
Two new managers were on duty as Simon Grayson's Huddersfield Town beat Exeter City 2-0 while Jonathan Forte's late goal saw Notts County win their first match under Keith Curle, 1-0 against Chesterfield. Leaders Charlton Athletic have a 10-point lead after beating Stevenage 2-0.
Two first-half goals by Paul Benson gave leaders Swindon Town a 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley and a club record ninth consecutive victory.
Goalline technology was agqin the talking point as Juventus snatched a late goal through substitute Alessandro Matri to draw 1-1 at Milan in Serie A's top-of-the-table clash.
Milan, who went ahead through Antonio Nocerino after 14 minutes, should have quickly made it 2-0 but when Sulley Muntari's header appeared to cross the line, the referee waved play on. Television replays showed the ball was well over the line before keeper Gianluigi Buffon clawed it away.
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke