League leaders Leicester City scored five times to win an eight-goal thriller against Bolton Wanderers at the King Power Stadium in a bumper day of Championship action on Sunday.
Bolton were twice in the lead but goals from Danny Drinkwater, Anthony Knockaert, an own goal from Matt Mills and second-half strikes from Lloyd Dyer and Gary Taylor-Fletcher gave the Foxes a 5-3 victory and their 15th win of the season. Andre Moritz scored two goals for Bolton and Jermaine Beckford the other.
Chris Martin scored twice as in-form Derby County moved into second and an automatic promotion place with a 2-1 win at bottom club Barnsley. The former Norwich City striker struck a deflected opener before adding another early in the second half to take his tally to 15 for the season and earn Steve McClaren’s side an eighth win from nine games. Barnsley substitute Tomasz Cywka halved the deficit with 62 minutes played but Danny Wilson’s struggling side failed to find an equaliser as their run without a win stretched to five games.
Queen’s Park Rangers avoided a third consecutive defeat but lost a little more ground at the top after being held to a goalless draw at Watford. The visitors managed just one attempt on target in a game devoid of good goal-scoring chances – the best falling to Watford early in the second half when Diego Fabbrini forced Rob Green into a smart save. The draw means Giuseppe Sannino remains unbeaten after three games as Watford’s head coach with his side conceding just one goal in that time.
Managerless Millwall ended their losing run with a much improved display in a hard-fought goalless draw away to fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers.
A spectacular strike from the substitute Matt Derbyshire helped Nottingham Forest beat Leeds United 2-1 and claim back-to-back wins for the first time since August. Forest’s promotion push had stuttered recently, but Derbyshire’s 25-yard stunner secured a hard-fought victory that followed up the Boxing Day success over QPR.
Promotion rivals Leeds looked to have secured a point when Ross McCormack fired home in the 83rd minute to cancel out Greg Halford’s first-half header – but Derbyshire came up with his match-winning moment just a minute later.
Lee Novak scored twice in the first half as Birmingham City survived a stirring second-half Blackburn Rovers fightback to win at 3-2 Ewood Park for the first time since 1968.
Novak swept home from close range early on before firing in a spectacular second and, after Chris Burke made the most of a defensive blunder just before half-time, it looked as though the game was over. But Rovers fought back admirably and Jordan Rhodes struck two of his own, a close range header and a delicate lob, but Birmingham held on to stretch their unbeaten run to nine.
It was only Blackburn’s second league defeat at Ewood in 11 matches and it ended their own four-match unbeaten run.
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