Scintillating Southampton, Worthy Watford & Proficient Plymouth: EFL Championship Gameweek 22 Round-Up

Sheffield Wednesday continue to raise eye-brows dispatching fellow strugglers QPR in a dramatic, late comeback.

Elsewhere, it was a five star performance from Watford and the points were shared following an entertaining East-Anglian derby.

With the conclusion of the penultimate round of fixtures prior to Christmas, the EFL Championship once again delivered surprises, goals and plenty of talking points.

Ipswich Town 2-2 Norwich City

Saturday’s early kick off saw The Canaries make the short trip south to Portman Road, in a fixture which was superb for the neutral.

As expected, The Tractor Boys took the lead through Nathan Broadhead, following a corner, but were pegged back just six minutes later when Jonathan Rowe converted from close range. Then, just four minutes after the restart, Rowe was at it again, firing past Vaclav Hladky before Wes Burns’ superb strike levelled the tie.

Norwich find themselves quietly looking upwards in the table as they extend their unbeaten run to four matches, whereas Ipswich continue to mount their promotion push to the top-flight.

Plymouth 3-2 Rotherham 

Plymouth hosted bottom of the table Rotherham in a thrilling fixture which saw five goals, a red card, a penalty and a last gasp winner.

Jamie Lindsay fired The Millers into the lead until Argyle responded on the stroke of halftime via a Finn Azaz spot-kick. The 23-year-old then doubled his tally, with Daniel Ayala deliberately handling the ball, leading to his dismissal just three minutes later, before substitute Tom Eaves grabbed his first of the season.

However, the home side would emphatically steal all three points in the 96th minute when Morgan Whittaker smashed home a well-timed volley.

A result which could be crucial in both teams season, as Plymouth look to retain their second tier status, whilst Rotherham remain at the foot of the table.

Leeds United 1-1 Coventry City 

Leeds were unable to return to winning ways as they were held to a stalemate at the hands of an ever-proving Coventry side.

In a game largely dominated by the home side, the Yorkshire club took the lead through star-man Crysencio Summerville for his tenth league goal of the season. The Sky Blue Army responded just eight minutes later through a Bobby Thomas header following a good cross from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto.

Although they gain a point, Leeds would’ve hoped to capitalise upon Ipswich dropping points, whereas Coventry extend their unbeaten streak to three matches.

Preston North End 1-5 Watford 

One of the surprise results of the gameweek came at Deepdale where the Hornets clinically dispatched Preston.

Despite taking the lead through Will Keane, Vakoun Bayo headed the ball home, with the score standing at 1-1 heading into halftime. It was in the second half where the visitors ran rampant, with an instant goal from Matheus Martins followed by finishes from Edo Kayembe, Bayo once more as well as Ismael Kone.

Watford rise up to ninth, and sit just one point behind Preston who occupy eighth.

Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 QPR

Although both sides sit in the bottom three, confidence would’ve been high in both camps approaching this encounter as momentum and results have picked up for both clubs respectively.

It was QPR who delivered the first blow, taking the lead through an unfortunate Bambo Diaby own-goal. It would appear the away side had done enough, until Wednesday completed a late turnaround seeing youngster Bailey Cadamarteri continue his good form, followed by another Musaba injury-time winner.

Victory for both sides would’ve been crucial, however Danny Rohl’s men cut the gap between the sides to four points, whilst remaining six points adrift from safety, with QPR remain in 22nd on 20 points.

Southampton 4-0 Blackburn

Blackburn continue their unwanted trend from last season regarding a lack of consistency as they suffered defeat once again at the hands of a merciless Southampton performance.

The game burst into life just before the interval when Samuel Edozie converted for consecutive games. Rovers’ Callum Britain was shown his marching orders early into the second half, before Stuart Armstrong, Sekou Mara and Carlos Alcaraz, who also missed a penalty, capped off a brilliant afternoon for the Saints.

Russell Martin will be delighted with his players as they consolidate their place in the top six, and extending their unbeaten run in the league to 14 matches. On the other hand, it’s another disappointing afternoon for the Lancashire side who will still have their own promotion thoughts.

Hull City 3-0 Cardiff City

It was a very merry afternoon for The Tigers, whilst The Bluebirds suffer their fourth defeat in five outings.

Aaron Connolly fired Hull into the lead, with quick-fire finishes from Scott Twine and Ozan Tufan after the break, wrapping up the three points. Cardiff offered little response, only mustering up one shot on target.

For Liam Rosenior, his side jump back into the play-off places, whilst Cardiff fall to 12th

Swansea City 1-2 Middlesbrough 

Managerless Swansea fell short at the hands to Micheal Carrick’s Middlesbrough.

Following good chances to take the lead from Josh Key and Bashir Humphrey’s, it would be the away side who found the break through, when Sam Greenwood grabbed his fifth of the season. Jamal Lowe responded with a header, but it was to no avail as Samuel Silvera ensured Boro headed home with the points following a controversial indirect free-kick.

Swansea’s miserable campaign continues as they sit five points about the drop, whilst Middlesbrough will keep one firm eye on the play-off places.

Bristol City 1-0 Sunderland 

Sunderland couldn’t maintain their winning streak as they came off second best in the west country.

The winning goal would come for Bristol City in the 20th minute when Tommy Conway converted from the spot following a foul on Taylor Garnder-Hickman from Black Cats keeper Anthony Patterson.

Liam Manning and his troops leapfrog Coventry into 14th whereas Sunderland remain just outside the play-off places in seventh.

Millwall 1-1 Huddersfield Town

A bottom half scrap which lived up to the billing.

Following a goalless first 45, it was Millwall who found the breakthrough with Brooke Norton-Cuffy, who finished from close range. Entering the final stages, it looked like The Lions had done enough until George Saville handled the ball in the box resulting in Delano Burgzorg levelling the game in the 97th minute.

Both sides remain exactly where they were prior to a ball being kicked at the start of the day, and ultimately two points above the drop.

West Brom 1-1 Stoke City

Sitting at opposite ends of the table, Sunday’s fixture saw managerless Stoke City make the short trip south on the M6.

The Potters took a surprise early lead when Lyndon Gooch’s cross-come shot nestled into the far top corner. Albion forward levelled the proceedings with a clinical volley, and a late flurry from the home-side could’ve sealed victory, however Jack Bonham stood firm in the visitors goal.

A point apiece saw Carlos Corberan’s side return to fifth, whereas Stoke remain three points above the drop in 19th.

Birmingham v Leicester

An all midlands clash see’s Birmingham City host current league leaders Leicester City at The Andrews.

Wayne Rooney has found life difficult with his new employers since returning to England, following a spell in the United States, but will be hopeful of turning a corner following their away win at Cardiff in midweek. For the foxes, they will be looking to put some distance between themselves and Ipswich Town.

There we have it, with the conclusion of another round of fixtures in England’s second tier and with one gameweek until Christmas, it begs the question, who will lead the table, occupy the play-off places, and sadly sit in the drop; going into the hectic festive period.

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