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Championship: Reading open huge lead as Sheffield United slip

26 December 2005 22:45

WOLVERHAMPTON, Dec 26 (SW) - Reading opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship on Boxing Day with a win at Wolves while Sheffield United fell at home to Norwich City.

Wolverhampton - Reading 0-2

Reading, who also got their ninth straight league win on the day, went in front on 29 minutes as Dave Kitson headed home Glen Little's cross.

Bobby Convey then sealed the points at Molineux Stadium from the edge of the penalty area in the 64th minute.

Sheffield United - Norwich City 1-3

Sheffield United lost for the first time in 13 home matches as Norwich came into Bramall Lane and strolled to victory.

Phil Jagielka had given the home side a 22nd-minute lead with a header off David Unsworth's cross, but Paul McVeigh pulled the Canaries level in the 33rd minute.

Dean Ashton put the visitors into the lead in the 62nd minute and Chris Morgan's own goal nine minutes later sealed the win for Norwich.

Watford - Southampton 3-0

George Burley's tenure as Southampton manager began in horrific style as third-placed Watford beat the Saints at Vicarage Road.

Darius Henderson headed Watford into the lead in the 28th minute and Clarke Carlisle managed to guide the ball over the line in the 40th minute to give the Hornets a 2-0 half-time advantage.

The game was put out of reach two minutes after the restart when Southampton's Tomasz Hajto put into his own net.

Leeds United - Coventry City 3-1

Looking to return to the Premiership, Leeds got a big win at Elland Road which started in the 34th minute on a goal by Jonathon Douglas.

Don Hutchison's volley, however, in the 58th minute pulled Coventry level although Robbie Blake retook the lead for the Whites in the 61st minute.

Richard Cresswell put the game out of reach with a goal in the 80th minute, although Coventry should have pulled one back in the 82nd minute when Gary McSheffrey missed from the penalty spot.

Burnley - Stoke City 1-0

Burnley won for the sixth straight match in league play as they defeated fellow play-off chasers Stoke 1-0 at Turf Moor.

The lone goal was scored in the 56th minute by Ade Akinbiyi, his 12th league goal of the season, to give Burnley and manager Steve Cotterill yet another win.

Ipswich Town - Crystal Palace 0-2

Crystal Palace, still looking for a Premiership return, notched a victory over Ipswich at Portman Road despite finishing with nine players.

Jonathan Macken put the Eagles in front in the 14th minute with a blistering shot before Michael Hughes fired home on another cracking goal in the 61st minute for a 2-0 lead.

Macken was dismissed for clashing with Owen Garvan in the 76th minute and Ben Watson got his second yellow card in the 89th minute to also earn a dismissal.

Derby County - Luton Town 1-1

Derby made it six games unbeaten as Luton continue to slip down the table after a promising start to the season.

Inigo Idiakez put Derby in the lead in the 72nd minute with a free kick from just outside the area, but Ahmet Brkovic put in a Dean Morgan cross to level for Luton with ten minutes to play in the match.

Cardiff City - Plymouth Argyle 0-2

Plymouth Argyle dominated at Ninian Park as they defeated ten-man Cardiff on Monday.

Cardiff had captain Darren Purse sent off in the 71st minute when he pulled back Plymouth's Micky Evans in the area and Paul Wotton smashed in the ensuing spot kick for a 1-0 lead.

The visitors got an insurance goal with ten minutes to go as David Norris took Evans' pass and raced in on goal before scoring.

Brighton - QPR 1-0

Brighton snatched victory on Monday at Withdean Stadium on an early goal by Guy Butters.

After captain Charlie Oatway was forced off with an apparent broken ankle on a horrible tackle by Marcus Bean, Richard Carpenter took the ensuing free kick and Butters was able to get it and tuck it in for a 1-0 lead.

Crewe Alexandra - Hull City 2-2

Crewe were denied a much-needed victory by a late Billy Paynter goal and were held at Gresty Road.

Eddie Johnson put Crewe into the lead on 19 minutes with an effort from outside the area, but Craig Fagan pulled Hull level with a goal in the 33rd minute.

Eight minutes later, Crewe restored their lead on a goal Gary Roberts, but Paynter hit a brilliant effort from distance in the 80th minute to snatch a point.

Preston North End - Sheffield Wednesday 0-0

Trying to fight their way away from the relegation zone, Sheffield Wednesday got a big draw away from home at the expense of Preston.

Wedensday, who haven't won at Preston in 45 years, couldn't find the poise up front to beat the Preston defense, but the visitors' defense was lauded by manager Paul Sturrock for a brilliant performance.

Leicester City - Millwall 1-1

Millwall remained rooted to the bottom of the table after Monday, but a draw away to Leicester should give them a bit of confidence, although it was a match they could have won.

The Lions were in front in the 28th minute when Patrick McCarthy deflected a cross into his own net, and things got worse for Leicester in the 57th minute when Danny Tiatto was sent off for a second yellow card, but Joey Gudjonsson converted a penalty for the home side in the 64th minute and Millwall lost a man in Paul Robinson three minutes later for two bookable offenses.

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Thursday 24 April

Wednesday 23 April

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Tuesday 22 April

23:56
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Championship table

# Team MP D P
1 44 +37 96
2 44 +34 89
3 44 +30 81
4 44 +15 76
5 43 +15 70
6 44 +12 67
7 44 +12 66
8 44 +7 65
9 44 +6 65
10 44 +5 64
11 44 -1 63
12 43 +17 60
13 44 +7 58
14 44 -3 55
15 44 +1 53
16 44 -10 53
17 44 -8 50
18 43 -23 45
19 44 -28 44
20 44 -29 44
21 43 -13 43
22 44 -27 43
23 44 -30 39
24 44 -26 37

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