Millwall vs. Leicester City  2 - 1

Article

Championship wrap: West Ham close the gap

14 April 2012 18:37

West Ham closed the gap on second-placed Southampton to three points with an emphatic 6-0 win over Brighton in the Championship on Saturday.

Ricardo Vaz Te helped himself to a hat-trick in the rout as the Hammers took advantage of Southampton's slip up at home to leaders Reading on Friday to close within three points of the second automatic promotion spot.

West Ham were thoroughly dominant throughout and went 2-0 up within eight minutes following Vaz Te's early double - the first a long-range strike, the second a header from close range after Guy Demel's cross.

Kevin Nolan made it three in the 11th minute, Vaz Te completed his hat-trick soon after half-time with a close-range finish before Carlton Cole and Gary Dicker added insult to injury for Brighton.

Play-off hopefuls Birmingham and Blackpool were held to draws while Cardiff and Middlesbrough both secured narrow away victories to keep up the pressure.

Birmingham were forced to fight for their 2-2 draw at home to Bristol City after going 2-0 down.

First-half strikes from Stephen Pearson and Jon Stead put Bristol City ahead, but Marlon King and Nikola Zigic replied for the home side to avoid what would have been only a fourth league defeat in 23 games to stay fourth.

Blackpool could not break the deadlock in a goalless draw at Nottingham Forest, but they stay fifth on 68 points, while Cardiff's 1-0 win over Barnsley moved them level on points, behind only on goal difference in sixth.

Middlesbrough secured a vital 1-0 win at Derby thanks to Curtis Main's lone strike and are now only two points off the play-offs on 66 points.

Portsmouth relegated Doncaster via a sensational 4-3 win that saw two stoppage-time goals.

The south coast club defeated fellow struggles Doncaster with two late strikes from Daniel Kitson and Marko Futacs reversing a 3-2 deficit.

Portsmouth remain seven points from safety and must win all three of their final games and hope other results go their way to avoid the drop, while Doncaster were consigned to League One after the loss.

Leeds kept their faint play-off hopes alive with a 4-1 trouncing of Peterborough, but are still eight points off the target with three games to play.

Billy Paynter and Ross McCormack both bagged braces for Leeds with three of their goals coming in the space of three minutes either side of half-time.

Burnley played out a 1-1 draw with Coventry, leaving the latter four points from safety, while Crystal Palace and Ipswich shared the spoils with the same score line.

Millwall put a dent in Leicester's play-off push with a 2-1 win at The Den while Hull and Watford played out a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

Championship table

# Team MP D P
1 46 +28 89
2 46 +39 88
3 46 +33 86
4 46 +27 76
5 46 +20 75
6 46 +13 75
7 46 +1 70
8 46 +3 68
9 46 +11 66
10 46 +0 66
11 46 -8 64
12 46 -8 64
13 46 +3 62
14 46 -3 61
15 46 -8 61
16 46 -2 57
17 46 -5 56
18 46 -10 50
19 46 -15 50
20 46 -24 49
21 46 -25 48
22 46 -9 40
23 46 -24 40
24 46 -37 36