Football round-up: Lucky seven as Derby join the top-two tussle

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Derby’s impressive run under Steve McClaren continued yesteday as they recorded seven consecutive league wins for the first time since 1995 by beating Doncaster 3-1 at the iPro Stadium. Paul Dickov’s side made them work for the victory that takes them into Christmas just two points outside the Championship’s automatic promotion places, but their quality in front of goal was the difference between the teams. Jamie Ward and Simon Dawkins scored either side of a missed penalty from Chris Martin before Jake Buxton’s own goal gave Doncaster hope. Craig Bryson sealed the points 13 minutes from the final whistle.

Arfield delivers Xmas No1

A stunning strike from Burnley’s Scott Arfield gave the Clarets all three points in the Lancashire derby as they won 2-1 at Turf Moor, inflicting a fourth straight defeat on Blackpool. Arfield delivered a superb curling effort into the far corner after Burnley’s leading scorer, Danny Ings, struck his 17th goal of the season to put his side in front early on. Craig Cathcart levelled with a header before Arfield raised the roof by ensuring Burnley occupied the Championship’s top spot at Christmas.

Sannino makes his point

Troy Deeney rescued a point for Watford in a 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town to ensure new manager Giuseppe Sannino did not start his reign with a defeat. A controversial penalty, stroked home by David McGoldrick in the 73rd minute, put Mick McCarthy’s side ahead. But the lead lasted only eight minutes with Deeney slidding home from Marco Cassetti’s dangerous cross.

Hope fades for Gray

Stuart Gray’s hopes of landing the Sheffield Wednesday manager’s job suffered a setback when his side were beaten 2-1 at home by Bournemouth. First-half goals from Matt Ritchie and Lewis Grabban put Eddie Howe’s side in command before Jacques Maghoma’s late consolation. Gray is in temporary charge of Wednesday following Dave Jones’s departure.

Wilson’s road to recovery

Danny Wilson made an encouraging start to his second spell in charge of Barnsley as his side kept only their second clean sheet of the season in holding out for a 0-0 draw at Leeds United. The result was impressive given that the visitors were reduced to 10 men from the 84th minute when striker Marcus Tudgay was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Marius Zaliukas. Wilson managed Barnsley into the Premier League in 1997 but his immediate priority is to steer them clear of the Championship’s relegation zone and he was delighted with the defensive effort at Elland Road.

Rhodes return for Rovers

Jordan Rhodes impressed a host of Premier League scouts with the match-winnning goal for Blackburn Rovers in their 1-0 win at Yeovil Town. The Scotland striker, who looks likely to be the subject of interest in next month’s transfer window, struck in the second half to earn Rovers a second away win of the season and end Yeovil’s four-match unbeaten run.

Boothroyd leaves Town

Aidy Boothroyd parted company with Northampton Town last night after his side’s dismal 4-1 home defeat by Wycombe Wanderers. The result leaves last season’s League Two play-off finalists bottom of the Football League, three points  from safety. A club statement read: “Manager Aidy Boothroyd has left Northampton Town.”

Klopp’s flops fail again

A staggering home attendance of 80,645 saw Borussia Dortmund lose 2-1 at home to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga yesterday. Marco Reus put Jürgen Klopp’s side in front but goals from Adrian Ramos and Sami Allagui turned the tide before half-time. Dortmund’s third straight home defeat strengthens Bayern Munich’s advantage in the title race.

Hearts broken

Celtic stretched their unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership to 16 games with a 2-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead, thanks to goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest. Neil Lennon’s side thrashed the bottom club 7-0 in their Scottish Cup clash at Tynecastle at the beginning of the month, but had to be more patient yesterday. Commons scored in the 63rd minute with a powerful drive before Forrest snatched a second close to the end.