Bristol City surged up to third in the Championship with a win over Middlesbrough as they took advantage of promotion rivals Sheffield United’s defeat to Millwall.
The 2-1 home win for Lee Johnson’s men in Saturday’s late game meant they were the big movers near the top of the table as they jumped up three places while the league’s top two teams, Wolves and Cardiff City, were not in action.
That came after United lost 3-1 away to struggling Millwall, meaning they failed to gain ground on the top two and ultimately lost a place to City, while Bolton Wanderers were the big movers at the other end of the division, beating Barnsley by the same scoreline to move from bottom spot up to 21st.
ROBINS FINDING FESTIVE FORM
All of the goals came in the second half at Ashton Gate, with Joe Bryan’s header and Jamie Paterson’s strike putting the hosts two to the good against Boro before Hordur Magnusson’s late own goal did not prove costly.
Bristol City have now won five of their last seven league games and sit only six points behind Cardiff – who beat Norwich City on Friday – in second and seven adrift of leaders Wolves, who are away at Birmingham City on Monday.
Garry Monk’s Boro, meanwhile, are down in ninth, a run of only four wins from their last 11 games having damaged their promotion challenge.
Sheffield United could have moved to within three points of Cardiff only to suffer a poor defeat to Millwall.
The match was level at half-time after David Brooks impressively cancelled out Lee Gregory’s opener, but second-half strikes from Mahlon Romeo and Jake Cooper gave the hosts a first win in seven and left the Blades with only one point to show from their last three outings.
That puts the pressure on United for when they host City in a crunch Friday clash, with those two sides, Aston Villa and Derby County currently occupying the play-off positions.
BOLTON OFF BOTTOM AS COLEMAN LOSES FIRST HOME GAME
Bolton’s third win of the season was enough to see them move out of the bottom three, their 3-1 home triumph over Barnsley coming courtesy of Gary Madine’s first-half double and giving them a welcome response to last week’s thrashing at the hands of Wolves.
Sunderland were one of the teams they moved above after Chris Coleman’s first home game in charge ended in a disappointing 3-1 loss against Reading, Callum McManaman’s first-half red card proving costly as Modou Barrow netted twice after the break.
Hull City are only three points clear of the bottom three despite Michael Dawson heading in an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time in a thrilling 2-2 away draw with mid-table Sheffield Wednesday, who had looked destined for victory after Gary Hooper’s late double.
DERBY AND IPSWICH GAIN GROUND
Derby moved up to sixth after Johnny Russell’s volley nine minutes from the time sealed a narrow 1-0 win over Burton Albion, a result which, along with Bolton’s victory, dropped the visitors to the bottom of the table.
Ipswich Town are only one place and three points behind Derby after they moved above Leeds United and Boro with an entertaining 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest at Portman Road.
The match was level at two apiece at half-time before Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina struck in the second half to give Mick McCarthy’s men a second straight victory, having beaten the Rams on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Brentford recorded an impressive 3-1 home win over 10-man Fulham, while Preston North End defeated QPR 1-0 at Deepdale, the visitors having Jamie Mackie sent off in the first half before Alex Baptiste saw red after the final whistle in a fiery affair.