League round-up: Moore the merrier as Albion respond to Di Matteo rant
Sunday 27 December 2009
On a day when most of the top six sides in the Championship faced teams in the relegation dogfight, West Bromwich Albion seemed least affected by any Boxing Day lassitude, beating Peterborough United 2-0 at the Hawthorns to cut Newcastle United's lead to eight points. Posh started well but Albion took control in the second half, and just after the hour Luke Moore's left-footed shot and Ryan Bennett's header into his own net set up West Brom's win. Posh slip to the bottom of the pile.
"I had to raise my voice a little bit," Roberto Di Matteo, the West Brom manager, said of his stern half-time team talk. "We did increase the tempo in the second half and I think we deserved to win."
A hotly disputed equaliser saw managerless relegation candidates Sheffield Wednesday rescue a point in a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle. The Owls led after 14 minutes through Luke Varney, but soon after goals by Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi saw the Magpies ahead. Then, just before the hour, Varney challenged United goalkeeper James Harper, heading the ball against the bar and James O'Connor turned in the rebound. "It was most definitely a foul for their equaliser, but it wasn't one of our better performances," Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said.
There was a heartening first win for Paul Mariner as Plymouth Argyle manager when Gary Sawyer's deflected drive inflicted a 1-0 home defeat on play-off contenders Cardiff City. It was Argyle's first goal since 7 November. "We knew we would get a resilient performance but three points is a wonderful result," Argyle manager Paul Mariner admitted.
Nottingham Forest's record as the only unbeaten away side in England this season stayed intact after a 0-0 stalemate at Watford. But their ninth draw in 12 away games this season needed the help of referee Andy D'Urso who denied the Hornets a late penalty after Nick Shorey appeared to stop Tom Cleverley's shot with his arm. "Myself, the fourth official, their bench, 15,000 people and the boy himself [Shorey] - who admitted it to one of the players afterwards - saw the hand go from down by his side to up near there [indicating his head] and stopped the ball going into an empty net," Hornets manager Malky Mackay said.
Swansea City stay in the play-off frame after a 1-1 draw at Reading, and Queens Park Rangers moved above Bristol City after beating them 2-1 at Loftus Road. Blackpool were impressive 2-0 winners at Derby County, who were booed off, and Crystal Palace beat Ipswich Town 3-1 at Selhurst Park, the turning point being Jon Stead's harsh dismissal with the score at 1-1. Coventry City beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0 at the Ricoh Arena thanks to late substitute Clinton Morrison's penalty, Leon Best had missed one, and Middlesbrough at last won at home under Gordon Strachan, beating Scunthorpe United 3-0 after the Iron's Cliff Byrne was sent off in the ninth minute.
Not much seasonal goodwill at the Valley where Charlton Athletic had Sam Sodje (19 minutes) and Deon Burton (41) sent off. Jonjo Shelvey gave them a 1-0 lead over Swindon Town between those reds. Charlie Austin's sixth goal in six games made it 1-1 and he set up Billy Paynter to make it 2-1. But the nine men battled on to earn a point when Miguel Angel Llera made it 2-2 in the 93rd minute. Leaders Leeds United beat Hartlepool United 3-1.
Mark Yates' first match as manager of Cheltenham Town ended in a home defeat, Liam Feeney scoring in second-placed Bournemouth's 1-0 win.
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