Round-up: Bednar pounces at death to break Colchester hearts

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The Independent Football

Free-scoring West Bromwich Albion kept alive their hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship when they won an extraordinary match at the Hawthorns, 4-3 against bottom side Colchester United. But Stoke City were held 1-1 by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and lost top spot.

Albion trailed 2-0 before 20 minutes had been played, but goals by Kevin Phillips, his 20th in the League this season, and Chris Brunt had Albion level before half-time. With 14 minutes left, and against the run of play, Kevin Lisbie put Colchester back in front at 3-2. But in time added on James Morrison and Roman Bednar struck to wrap up a remarkable win for West Brom, who go fourth, three points off automatic promotion.

Albion manager Tony Mowbray was relieved, but not pleased. "The way we are defending at the moment is a huge disappointment," he said. "We can't get where we want to go if we defend like that. If we don't find the improvement it may well be our Achilles heel at the end of the season."

Meanwhile, the Potters looked on course to maintain the pace when Richard Cresswell deflected in the on-loan Derby midfielder Stephen Pearson's 21st-minute shot for his 11th goal of the season. The striker had another chance with a close-range header.

"If he scores there then we go on and win the game comfortably," Potters manager Tony Pulis said. He didn't, the Owls battled back and got their reward eight minutes from time when winger Franck Songo'o equalised.

In the other play-off places, Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scored twice and Karl Henry grabbed a dramatic 95th-minute winner in the 3-2 win at Charlton Athletic and move up to sixth because Michael Doyle scored twice as Coventry City put the brakes on Plymouth Argyle's charge with a 3-1 win at the Ricoh Stadium. "I got it wrong," Argyle boss Paul Sturrock admitted. "I should have made changes."

A point outside the play-offs come Ipswich Town who drew 0-0 with visitors Queens Park Rangers. Ipswich were aggrieved that QPR's Matthew Connolly had handled on the goal line, and Crystal Palace thought they should have had two penalties in their 0-0 draw with Blackpool. Palace are a point behind Ipswich in the tight play-off race.

And one more point adrift and not out of the equation come Burnley, who beat Barnsley 2-1 at Turf Moor. The Tykes' defeat left them a point above the bottom three, as are Southampton. Paul Parry's first-half volley from 12 yards saw the Saints lose 1-0 at Cardiff City, who next weekend meet Barnsley in an FA Cup semi-final. "I would have swapped three points today for a win at Wembley next week," Simon Davey, the Barnsley manager, said.

But Leicester City took a firm stride toward safety when Lee Hendrie's first goal for the Foxes was enough to beat Scunthorpe United 1-0. "There are other teams in massive trouble," Ian Holloway, the Leicester boss said. One of them being Scunthorpe, who look destined for League One. Elsewhere, Neil Mellor scored twice as Preston North End beat Sheffield United 3-1.

In Scotland, Gretna's relegation from the Scottish Premier was confirmed by a 2-0 defeat at St Mirren, and in the Second Division Berwick could only draw 2-2 with Peterhead and are relegated to the Third.