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Championship Review: Snodgrass strikes late for Villa, Derby held in stalemate

Robert Snodgrass - cropped Aston Villa's Robert Snodgrass (source: Getty Images)

Aston Villa moved up to third in the Championship as a late Robert Snodgrass goal secured a slender 1-0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Steve Bruce’s side are now just one point behind Derby County, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Millwall, where Tim Cahill was watching after re-signing for the Lions.

Birmingham City moved out of the bottom three with a resounding 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Sunderland, while Reading and Preston North End both enjoyed wins over Burton Albion and Nottingham Forest respectively.

 

VILLA SURGE CONTINUES

Sheffield United dominated for long spells against Villa, but it was their visitors who had the last laugh thanks to Snodgrass’ stunning late goal.

The Scotland international whipped a superb left-foot strike past Simon Moore to snatch all three points and secure a fifth straight win for his resurgent side.

Jack O’Connell had earlier sent a header against the Villa crossbar, while goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made smart saves to deny Leon Clarke, George Baldock and John Fleck.

SUNDERLAND WOE DEEPENS

Sunderland’s miserable season shows no signs of abating after yet another meek surrender against Birmingham at St Andrew’s.

The hosts went into the game as the lowest scorers in the entire Football League, but enjoyed themselves against a defence devoid of confidence and organisation.

David Davis and Jeremie Boga handed the Blues a two-goal half-time lead before Sam Gallagher added a third shortly after the interval. Bryan Oviedo struck a late consolation for Chris Coleman’s side, who drop down to 23rd in the table.

PRESTON EYE PLAY-OFF BERTH

Preston are now just three points away from the top six after a convincing win over Nottingham Forest.

Billy Bodin’s first goal for the club set them on their way before Tom Barkhuizen doubled their advantage.

Alex Neil dropped striker Jordan Hugill amid interest from Premier League clubs ahead of deadline day, but North End made light work of his absence as Daniel Johnson added a third from the penalty spot.

Derby could only cut Wolves’ sizeable lead at the summit by one point after being held by Millwall, while the pressure on Jaap Stam eased after his Reading side cruised past rock-bottom Burton Albion 3-1.

In Tuesday’s other two games, Hull City and Leeds United played out a 0-0 draw, while Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday were unable to find the net in another goalless game.

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