On a day when Queens Park Rangers announced a takeover of the Championship club by the head of Renault's formula one team, Flavio Briatore, and F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone, Southampton and Watford illustrated how the purchase of a striker as the transfer window swung shut could be a powerful incentive to the incumbents under threat. At Loftus Road, Saints' Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak responded to this week's arrival of Jason Euell and Stern John by scoring two first-half goals as QPR lost 3-0 at home.
Their new owners need to move through the gears quickly. "Bernie and I were delighted to receive a recommendation from the board of QPR for our bid for the club and we look forward to working alongside [chairman] Gianni Paladini and his team," Briatore said. "Gianni, Bernie and I are determined to see the club return to the Premiership as soon as possible." QPR are in the bottom three with one point from three matches.
The manager John Gregory did not appear post-match; captain Adam Bolder did. "It has been a difficult week [young striker Ray Jones died in a car crash last weekend], and one of the worst games I have played in," he said, "but the events of the week are no excuse for our performance. What happened should have spurred us on, but it didn't."
At Vicarage Road, Nathan Ellington's appearance on the Watford bench after his move from West Bromwich Albion had an immediate effect, Darius Henderson putting the home side ahead after six minutes against Ipswich Town. Tommy Smith's curling shot wrapped up a 2-0 win to lift the Hornets to second. "I've got five strikers all pushing for a place," Watford manager, Adrian Boothroyd, said. "Nobody can be complacent."
Nor did Albion miss their former striker. "The balance of the team is better this year," their manager Tony Mowbray said after his side had proved as much with first-half goals by Felipe Teixeira and Craig Beattie sufficient to beat Barnsley 2-0.
Bristol City briefly topped the table when Brian Wilson's fourth-minute left-foot shot earned a 1-0 win at bottom club Sheffield Wednesday in the lunchtime kick-off. By 7.15pm, Coventry were back on top, Dele Adebola and Michael Doyle scoring in the final 10 minutes as the Sky Blues beat Preston 2-1.
Scunthorpe go fourth after beating Sheffield United 3-2. They led 2-0, Andy Crosby and Martin Paterson on target, but two Danny Webber goals pulled the Blades level. A late Matthew Sparrow goal won it. Stoke City and Wolves drew 0-0 and it also ended goalless at Home Park between Plymouth Argyle and managerless Leicester City. A second-half rally saw Cardiff City win 2-1 at Norwich City, and Andy Gray scored twice as Burnley won 3-2 at Colchester.Reuse content