West Bromwich Albion, second in the Nationwide First Division, closed the gap at the top to three points when they came from behind to win 2-1 at Sheffield United. After a drab first half, the game came to life early in the second when Nick Montgomery's cross was turned into his own net by the West Brom defender, Darren Moore.
But in the 70th minute Moore scored at the other end to equalise, heading in a Jason Koumas corner. With sour memories of the teams' previous meeting at Bramall Lane - the Blades had three sent off as Albion won 3-0 - and a simmering animosity between the respective managers, Neil Warnock and Gary Megson, adding extra piquancy, a tense finale loomed. Moore again played a pivotal role. Koumas crossed to the back post, Moore headed back across goal and Thomas Gaardsoe tapped in.
Third-placed Wigan had much the better of the game at Stoke City but trailed to Ade Akinbiyi's 45-minute goal and then had Jason Roberts sent off. They were still on top, though, and Nathan Ellington's late leveller earned a 1-1 draw.
Elsewhere in what is shaping up to be a very tight race for the play-offs, Ipswich Town, fourth, and Sunderland, seventh, both let in four goals in away defeats. Joe Royle's side trailed 3-0 at Burnley but goals by Tommy Miller and Martin Reuser got them back into the game until Robbie Blake's goal on the break made it 4-2 in the last minute.
And at Ninian Park, Sunderland defender Joachim Bjorklund felled Cardiff City's Richard Langley after 17 minutes and was sent off. Graham Kavanagh curled in the subsequent free kick and started a rout. Richard Langley, Danny Gabbidon and Alan Lee all scored, Cardiff's Robert Earnshaw, who got a hat-trick for Wales in midweek, didn't. It ended 4-0.
Reading moved to within a point of the play-off places when Shaun Goater scored the only goal of their game against Gillingham at Priestfield, while a point behind them Millwall closed in on the top six when Paul Ifill and Tim Cahill scored in the Lions' 2-1 win at Preston North End.
In the struggle to stay in the division, bottom club Wimbledon's position looks near to hopeless. Their 3-0 home defeat to Coventry City left them 16 points from safety. A place above them, Bradford City beat Crewe 2-1 to give themselves a glimmer of hope.
Eoin Jess scored a last-minute equaliser for Nottingham Forest, in the third relegation place berth, to earn a 1-1 draw at Rotherham United in their second match under Joe Kinnear. His first match also needed a last-minute goal to grab a point. Watford's position improved thanks to a 1-0 win at Walsall.
Bristol City, who took over at the top of the Second Division in midweek, beat visitors Wrexham 1-0, their 11th consecutive win. And there are new leaders in the Third Division. Doncaster Rovers won 2-1 at Mansfield Town, Gregg Blundell scoring twice, to depose Hull City, beaten 1-0 at home by Torquay United.
- More about:
- Cardiff City Fc
- Doncaster Rovers FC
- Millwall FC
- Premier League
- Sunderland FC
- The Carling Cup
- West Bromwich Albion