League round-up: Sinclair sparks Swans as Bluebirds falter
Early and late goals saw the Championship's match of the day end 1-1 at Carrow Road where Michael Chopra set up Jon Parkin to give Cardiff City a seventh-minute lead against Norwich City with a meaty drive. Canaries pressure on the Bluebirds' goal paid off in the final minute of normal time when Russell Martin scored at the far post.
That draw saw Swansea City grab the second automatic promotion place after they beat Crystal Palace, under their new manager, Dougie Freedman, 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium. The Swans' breakthrough came two minutes before the break, Scott Sinclair cutting the ball back for Darren Pratley to score from 14 yards. Near the hour mark two Sinclair penalties, one in each corner, sealed the win.
"I know how hard this job will be," Freedman admitted. "We are in the bottom three and have been there for most of the season. It is the most difficult challenge of my life."
In fact it was a day on which new managers in all three divisions tried to make a quick impact. Few received encouraging results, but Burnley gave Eddie Howe, whose appointment as manager is imminent, food for thought in holding leaders Queens Park Rangers to a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.
Another new manager, Ipswich Town's Paul Jewell, saw his side lead at Millwall thanks to Tamas Priskin, but goals from Danny Schofield and Steve Morison showed the Suffolk side's fragility as the Lions won 2-1.
Back in the top six, there were comfortable wins for Leeds United and Watford. The former's FA Cup replay against Arsenal on Wednesday proved no distraction to their promotion push as Sanchez Watt, Max Gradel, Bradley Johnson and Davide Somma scored in the 4-0 thrashing of Scunthorpe. The Hornets wrapped up their 3-0 win over Derby County in the first-half with goals by Will Buckley, Danny Graham and Marvin Sordell.
Nottingham Forest needed Marcus Tudgay's late headed winner to beat Portsmouth 2-1 and Reading won 3-0 at Doncaster. Coventry City and Sheffield United ended 0-0, Barnsley had Stephen Foster and Jason Shackell sent off in their 2-0 defeat at Hull City and Bristol City's goalkeeper David James was sent off at Ashton Gate where Middlesbrough led 3-0. Leroy's Lita's penalty made it 4-0 and gave him two goals against his first club.
Two new managers faced tricky first matches. Darren Ferguson's second spell at Peterborough started with a 3-1 defeat at Brighton – Posh's Grant McCann was sent off. Chris Powell takes over at Charlton tomorrow after their 2-2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday but David Penney's first game as Bristol Rovers boss ended in a 4-0 drubbing at Carlisle United.
Aldershot drew their first match under new manager Dean Holdsworth 1-1 at Bury at Gigg Lane.
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