Sport Djamel Abdoun of Nottingham Forest, centre, takes on Paul Gallagher, left, and David Buchanan of Preston North End

Nottingham Forest may have swept aside Sam Allardyce’s beleaguered West Ham to claim a Premier League scalp in the third round but Preston of League One proved an altogether tougher nut to crack in last night’s FA Cup fourth-round tie her.

Preston North End 2 Charlton Athletic 1: Beauty of Beast's bow for Preston has Irvine on a high

Jon Parkin proved too hot to handle for Charlton as Preston moved into second spot in the Championship.

Championship round-up: Phillips switched on to put McLeish in blue heaven

Birmingham City striker Kevin Phillips scored late winners as a substitute in his side's first two Championship matches and was rewarded with a start against Barnsley. By the 12th minute he had repaid manager Alex McLeish's faith when the Tykes left him unmarked to head in Stuart Parnaby's cross, Phillips's third goal in three games.

Championship round-up: Sharp's the word as Blades cut loose on QPR

Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp struggled to make an impact at Bramall Lane last season after moving from Scunthorpe United, but his hat-trick in the 3-0 defeat of Queens Park Rangers will have silenced the doubters. His goals came from a close-range header (three minutes), a perceptive pass from Gary Speed and pacy break (10), and a scrambled prod (51).

Old enemy Diouf hopes to be vital cog in Keane machine

Once when Roy Keane and El Hadji Diouf looked at each other, it was with menace in their eyes. Competitive, combustible and controversial, each recognised something familiar in the other and did not like it too much. Not until last week, though, did we discover those glares also included admiration.

David Moyes: Keegan is right in a lot of ways – but I'm not going to accept it

Brian Viner Interviews: As the Premier League season draws to a close, the manager who has come closest to breaking into the top four talks about the frustrations of his job – and why it may actually be a help not having a billionaire owner

Bristol City 3 Preston North End 0: Trundle finds form at perfect time for City

Lee Trundle has started justifying his £1m transfer fee at just the right time as Bristol City continue their remarkable surge toward the Premier League.

League round-up: Gera the hero as Baggies close in on promised land

On a day when nerves at the top and bottom of the Championship appeared to get the better of contenders and strugglers alike, West Bromwich Albion emerged as the calmest. Their 2-1 win at Norwich City opened up a five-point lead over third-placed Hull City.

Charlton Athletic 1 Preston North End 2: Brown goals are a Ruud awakening for Charlton

Ruud van Nistelrooy is not someone you would expect to affect the outcome of the Championship relegation battle, but should Preston North End stay in the division the Real Madrid player may be owed a debt of gratitude by a fellow centre-forward, Chris Brown.

Charlton Athletic 1 Preston North End 2: Brown puts Charlton's Premier ideas in perspective

To print arrangements for the Championship play-offs, as Charlton did in yesterday's programme, turned out to be embarrassingly premature. They remain among the contenders for that end-of-season dogfight but this deserved defeat, in which they were resoundingly booed from very early on until the final whistle, puts a dent in their ambitions of getting straight back into the Premier League.

Today in the Football League

The Championship

Preston North End 2 Stoke City 0: Stoke show checked by Chaplow's double bill

Stoke City stay top of the Championship but missed an opportunity to extend their lead to four points last night as a spirited Preston secured a victory that takes them out of the bottom three.

Watford 0 Preston North End 0: Mawene finds mindset to blunt Watford attack

After this tough draw against Preston North End, the Watford manager, Adrian Boothroyd, took his players off for a four-day trip to the sunshine of Dubai to prepare themselves for the remaining games of the season.

Championship round-up: Lawrence stuns Ipswich to keep Potters on track

A stunning 42nd-minute drive by Liam Lawrence saw Stoke City beat Ipswich Town at the Britannia Stadium and open a one-point lead in this tightest of Championship title races, while Watford were held to a goalless draw by Preston North End and fell out of the automatic promotion places to be replaced by Bristol City, 2-1 winners at Colchester United.

Preston North End 0 Portsmouth 1: Carter's gaffe lets Pompey off hook

If Portsmouth are the team to break the big four monopoly of the FA Cup's recent history then they may well look back on yesterday's scrambled win at Deepdale as the moment fate seemed to be on their side, when a stoppage-time own goal provided their passport to the last eight after David James had saved a penalty.

Preston North End 2 West Bromwich Albion 1: Hawley carries on Cup heroics to stun leaders

Tony Mowbray will not have to look far to pin-point where it all went wrong if the West Bromwich Albion manager is forced to conduct an inquest at the end of the season into why his side missed out on automatic promotion.

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