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Championship Round-up: Week 9

An overview of the action from this weekend's Championship clashes, as Middlesbrough closed the gap on leaders Brighton

David Nugent opened the scoring as Middlesbrough moved to within one point of leaders Brighton yesterday
David Nugent opened the scoring as Middlesbrough moved to within one point of leaders Brighton yesterday
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Middlesbrough reduced Brighton & Hove Albion's lead at the top of the Championship to just one point with a dominant victory over Leeds United on Sunday, after the leaders had been held to a point at Bolton Wanderers 24 hours earlier.

Brighton maintained their unbeaten start to the league campaign despite throwing away a two-goal lead at the Macron Stadium. The Seagulls had raced into the lead with two goals in four minutes from Dale Stephens and Jamie Murphy, but Bolton got themselves a foothold in the game through Neil Danns' goal four minutes before half-time. The hosts' hopes were buoyed as Murphy was red carded for a rash challenge on Danns, and they earned a point with a last minute header from Gary Madine, his first goal for his new club.

Middlesbrough cashed in and a third minute goal from David Nugent set them on their way. They soon doubled their lead through a bizarre Giuseppe Bellusci own goal, but Leeds should have been level after their break as Mirco Antenucci's goal was controversially ruled out. Boro ruled out any thoughts of a comeback with a third goal from Diego Fabbrini with nine minutes remaining.

The surprise result of the weekend saw Rotherham record back-to-back wins with a 2-0 victory at in-form Birmingham City. The hosts suffered a hangover from being dumped out of the Carling Cup by city neighbours Aston Villa, as they were downed by a Matt Derbyshire volley and superb finish from Tony Andreu.

Reading kept pace with the top two with an excellent 2-1 victory at fellow promotion hopefuls Burnley, to record their fourth successive away win. The visitors scored twice in the first nine minutes through Nick Blackman - to become the joint top goalscorer in the league on six goals - and Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon, before Tendayi Dirakwa's 67th minute goal set up a tense finish.

Reading and Burnley are two of five sides level on 15 points, one of whom is also Cardiff City after they defeatedCharlton Athletic at home 2-1. The visitors had taken the lead shortly after half-time through substitute Karlan Ahearne-Grant, but Cardiff bounced back with an equaliser from Joe Mason four minutes later before Sean Morrison's 76th minute header sealed all three points.

Hull City are also on 15 points, after they were denied victory late on by a resilient Blackburn Rovers side. Hull had opened the scoring through Abel Hernandez with 17 minutes remaining but Jordan Rhodes headed home in injury time to earn his side a point.

Also level with Hull are Ipswich Town, who were held to a 2-2 home draw by Bristol City. Ipswich captain Luke Chambers put his side ahead 45 seconds into the second half, only to see the visitors race into a 2-1 lead through goals from Luke Freeman and Jonathan Kodjia. But Ipswich stole a point thanks to a goal four minutes from time by Bournemouth loanee Ryan Fraser.

The most dramatic result this weekend was at Craven Cottage, where Fulham beat a hapless Queens Park Rangers side 4-0 on Friday evening. Fulham took the lead after just two minutes through young forward Moussa Dembele, then doubled their lead on 19 minutes through the impressive Ben Pringle. Ross McCormack completed the rout with a brace, scoring on the half hour mark and midway through the second half. Rangers' misery was compounded by losing the league's top goalscorer Charlie Austin to a hamstring injury.

Bristol City drop to the bottom of the league just one point behind MK Dons, who were a little unfortunate to have been beaten 3-1 at home by Derby County. Derby took the lead on 53 minutes through Bradley Johnson only to see Josh Murphy equalise on the hour mark. But Derby stole all three points with two goals in the last minute from Darren Bent and Tom Ince.

Preston North End complete the bottom three as they suffered a day to forget in a 1-1 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The hosts had taken the lead on ten minutes through Daniel Johnson, but were then reduced to nine men as Joe Garner received a straight red card after just 19 minutes for a high challenge on Danny Batth and Bailey Wright was dismissed for two yellow cards after 81 minutes. Wolves rubbed salt into the wounds with an injury-time equaliser from Kevin McDonald.

Sheffield Wednesday recorded successive victories thanks as a last minute goal from striker Lucas Joao saw off Brentford in a game that saw both sides reduced to ten men. James Tarkowski saw red for bringing down Adthe Nuhiu in the box, and the big forward picked himself up to put the resulting penalty away. Alan Judge got the hosts back into it with 13 minutes remaining and Wednesday full-back received an early both just a minute later, but the hosts had the laugh with Joao's late winner. Brentford manager Marinus Dijkhuizen parted with the company on Monday morning.

The weekend's first game - interestingly played on Thursday night - saw Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest draw 1-1. Ryan Mendes put Forest ahead in the first half before Emyr Huws scored his fourth goal in three games to earn the hosts a point with six minutes remaining.

Next weekend sees third placed Reading welcome second placed Middlesbrough, while leaders Brighton entertain fifth placed Cardiff. Bolton travel to QPR and there's a tasty looking London derby between Charlton and Fulham on Sunday lunchtime, while the bottom two go head to head as MK Dons visit Bristol City.

The full Championship league table is below.

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P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
1 Brighton 9 4 0 0 5 1 2 3 0 8 6 +6 21
2 Middlesbro 9 4 0 1 11 2 2 2 0 6 3 +12 20
3 Reading 9 1 2 1 5 2 3 1 1 9 5 +7 15
4 Hull 9 3 2 0 8 3 1 1 2 4 4 +5 15
5 Cardiff 9 3 1 1 7 4 1 2 1 6 6 +3 15
6 Burnley 9 3 1 1 9 6 1 2 1 3 4 +2 15
7 Ipswich 9 2 2 1 9 7 2 1 1 6 8 0 15
8 Derby 9 0 3 1 3 4 3 2 0 7 3 +3 14
9 Birmingham 8 2 1 2 7 7 1 2 0 5 3 +2 12
10 Nottm Forest 9 1 1 2 4 5 2 2 1 5 4 0 12
11 Sheff Wed 9 2 1 1 7 6 1 2 2 5 7 -1 12
12 QPR 9 1 2 1 9 8 2 1 2 5 9 -3 12
13 Fulham 8 2 1 1 8 4 1 1 2 7 7 +4 11
14 Leeds 9 0 3 1 3 4 2 2 1 6 7 -2 11
15 Huddersfield 9 1 3 1 7 5 1 1 2 3 6 -1 10
16 Wolves 8 1 2 1 5 5 1 1 2 4 6 -2 9
17 Charlton 9 2 1 1 6 4 0 2 3 3 8 -3 9
18 Blackburn 9 1 2 1 5 3 0 3 2 5 7 0 8
19 Brentford 8 1 1 2 6 8 1 1 2 6 7 -3 8
20 Rotherham 9 1 1 2 4 8 1 1 3 7 9 -6 8
21 Bolton 9 1 4 0 5 4 0 1 3 1 8 -6 8
22 Preston 9 0 3 2 4 6 1 1 2 2 4 -4 7
23 MK Dons 9 1 0 4 3 8 1 1 2 5 5 -5 7
24 Bristol C 9 0 1 3 5 10 1 2 2 6 9 -8 6