Championship roundup: Southampton fall at Cardiff, Stoke thrash Plymouth

  • Saints’ automatic promotion hopes hit by 2-1 loss in Cardiff
  • Stoke beat Plymouth 3-0, Huddersfield lose 4-0 to Swansea

Southampton’s hopes of making it a four-way fight for automatic promotion took a huge hit after Cian Ashford’s stoppage-time strike consigned them to a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff.

Russell Martin’s side appeared to be on their way to a fourth successive win when Joe Aribo gave them a 12th-minute lead. But Cardiff hit back with an equaliser through Famara Diedhiou in the 68th minute and won it six minutes into added time when Ashford’s 30-yard strike was deflected past Alex McCarthy.

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Jamie Vardy rises to occasion against West Brom to send Leicester top

Leicester earned a valuable home win over fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom to go back to the top of the Championship. The relief inside the King’s Power stadium was palpable. You pick your hero. Hamza Choudhury, whose timely defensive interventions meant Leicester saw this through or the goalscorers – Wilfred Ndidi, whose lung-busting runs saw the game out for the the home side, and Jamie Vardy, who looked to have made the game safe until Jed Wallace set up a nervy finish.

At the turn of the year, Leicester looked certain to bounce straight back up to the Premier League, topping the table with a 13-point gap over the third-placed side at the time, Southampton. Two losses on the bounce against Milwall and Plymouth as well as a lack of clinical edge exhibited in those games and across the season has slowed optimism. According to Opta their conversion rate of 42% is the ninth highest in the division. Patson Daka spurning chances against Plymouth was representative of that. Vardy was similarly wasteful in last month’s defeat by Bristol City and looked to be following suit in this game.

West Brom began the game pressing Leicester high, looking to catch Mads Hermansen in the home goal dawdling on the ball, and that bred anxiety in the crowd. Wallace playing as a false 9 caused havoc with runs into the channel. He cut back to Mikey Johnston, whose drive was blocked on the line by Hamza Choudhury.

Chowdhury had been brought in as a hybrid right-sided midfielder and was involved in making sure the Leicester goal lived a charmed life as West Brom piled on the pressure in the early part of the first half. Hermansen was forced into a save again by Johnston, who was menacing throughout as he dribbled and probed into the gap between Conor Coady and Chowdury on the right of Leicester’s defence.

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Championship trapdoor grips clubs stifled by managerial conveyor belt | Will Unwin

Eight teams are fighting to avoid two relegations spots with short-term approaches holding them back

It is tough at the bottom of the Championship as a collection of former Premier League teams fight to avoid the ignominy of being relegated to the third tier. Six points separate eight clubs, with three games to play and two places below the red line up for grabs.

There have been numerous routes taken to this point: some clubs had woeful starts, others dipped in the winter and one never got going. What they have in common is the use of the manager conveyor belt. Few have found any degree of philosophy or style, instead overhauling squads to suit the latest dugout dweller, leaving them gasping for air. The bottom nine clubs have had 24 managers between them – give or take a caretaker or two – and are reaping what they sowed.

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Football League: Portsmouth win promotion to Championship and title

  • Stockport are League Two champions, Forest Green relegated
  • Southampton beat Preston to boost automatic promotion hopes

Late goals from Colby Bishop and Conor Shaughnessy confirmed Portsmouth’s return to the Championship after a 12-year absence. John Mousinho’s side twice hit back from behind to beat playoff hopefuls Barnsley 3-2 and ensure they will finish the season as champions, sparking celebrations at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth seemed likely be frustrated in their search for the single point they needed in order to make certain of promotion when Devante Cole gave Barnsley an early lead then John McAtee restored the visitors’ advantage after Kusini Yengi’s equaliser. But Bishop levelled from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute and Shaughnessy headed in from a corner six minutes later to put the seal on Portsmouth’s promotion party.

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Championship roundup: Ipswich held but go top while Leeds suffer late defeat

  • Automatic promotion battle intensifies as Leeds beaten
  • Southampton hit last-gasp winner to stay in the chase

Ipswich moved a point clear at the top of the Championship after a thrilling 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at Portman Road.

Ipswich went into the game looking to take advantage after seeing automatic promotion rivals Leicester beaten on Friday, but in a breathless first half the visitors took the lead through a header from Emmanuel Latte Lath. Town struck back 10 minutes later, though, when Massimo Luongo crashed home a corner.

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Leicester promotion hopes hurt as Bundu strike earns Plymouth victory

Leaders Leicester missed the chance to move clear at the top of the Championship as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away at relegation threatened Plymouth, thanks to Mustapha Bundu’s 21st-minute winner.

Second-placed Ipswich remain level on points with Leicester, with Leeds a point further back before their games on Saturday. All three clubs have four matches left to play. Managerless Argyle climbed to 16th on the back of their first home win in seven, under the caretaker management team of the director of football, Neil Dewsnip, and the first-team coach, Kevin Nancekivell, and now sit five points clear of the bottom three.

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Championship roundup: Ipswich held by Watford but move into top two

  • West Brom consolidate playoff place with win over Rotherham
  • Blackburn’s relegation fears increase in 5-0 defeat by Bristol City

Ipswich missed the chance to climb back to the top of the Championship after being held to a goalless draw by Watford. Four days after losing to Norwich at Carrow Road, the Tractor Boys once again failed to find the net but they did extend their unbeaten home league run to 19 games. Kieran McKenna’s side did move into second place, one point above Leeds, but are separated from leaders Leicester, who have a game in hand, by goal difference.

West Brom consolidated fifth place with a 2-0 win over relegated Rotherham at the Hawthorns. Brandon Thomas-Asante nudged the Baggies in front in the 23rd minute and John Swift doubled their advantage from the spot just before half-time.

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Championship roundup: Defeat at Millwall pegs back leaders Leicester

  • Longman scores Den winner, Southampton beat Coventry
  • Sheffield Wednesday snatch draw, Huddersfield thrashed

Leicester missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the Championship after a 1-0 loss at Millwall. Ryan Longman’s brilliant top-corner finish was the difference for the Lions, who climbed into 17th. Leicester stayed one point clear at the summit after Leeds moved into second following a goalless draw against Sunderland.

The substitute Milutin Osmajic bagged a quickfire hat-trick as Preston completed an incredible second-half comeback to beat relegation-threatened Huddersfield 4-1. Josh Koroma handed the Terriers the lead in the 42nd minute, but Preston equalised when Will Keane levelled from the penalty spot.

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Championship roundup: Leicester back on top as Leeds and Ipswich beaten

  • Stephy Mavididi’s late header returns Leicester to summit
  • Leeds lose to Coventry – their first defeat in 16 league games

The battle for automatic promotion from the Championship remains impossible to call as Leicester returned to the summit by beating Birmingham while Leeds and Ipswich both lost.

Leicester sealed their victory in the 89th-minute with Stephy Mavididi’s header condemning relegation-threatened Birmingham to a 2-1 defeat. Gary Rowett’s men had appeared on course for a precious point after Jay Stansfield cancelled out Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s opener, but just as Enzo Maresca’s side looked set to pay the price for their profligacy, Mavididi ensured a dominant performance at the King Power Stadium did not go to waste.

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Rotherham relegated from Championship after Plymouth defeat

  • Rotherham 0-1 Plymouth
  • Bali Mumba scores 32nd winner for visitors

Rotherham’s relegation from the Championship was confirmed after they lost 1-0 at home to Plymouth.

Leam Richardson’s team knew only victory would keep their outside hopes of survival alive but they could not muster a fightback after Bali Mumba had put Argyle ahead in the first half.

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Leicester announce £89.7m loss as delicate financial picture is laid bare

  • Losses for 2022-23 season underline cost of shock relegation
  • Club under embargo and facing points deduction next season

The delicate picture concerning Leicester’s finances has been laid bare after it emerged the club lost £89.7m for the 2022-23 season, underlining the cost of a shock relegation.

Leicester’s attempt to bridge the gap to the Premier League’s elite saw them inflate their wage bill to one of the biggest outside the top six, presenting severe challenges to comply with financial regulations.

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Plymouth sack Ian Foster after fifth straight home defeat adds to drop fears

  • Head coach had been in job for just three months
  • Argyle lie just above Championship relegation zone

Plymouth Argyle have sacked Ian Foster after just three months in charge. The former England Under-20 coach was only named manager of the Championship club in early January following Steven Schumacher’s move to Stoke.

The former Liverpool academy player – who was called “the perfect candidate” by the Plymouth chairman, Simon Hallett, upon his unveiling – had previously led England Under-19s to the European Championship title in 2022.

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Leeds United v Hull City: Championship – as it happened

Hull played well but Leeds found two late goals to steal victory and end the day second in the table, a point off Ipswich and a point ahead of Leicester

“So as the Easter hunt draws to its close,” writes Jeremy Boyce, “I’m looking OK for my earlier prediction, depending on what goes on in the closing minutes in Ipswich. A lively, well-contested score draw and as you were for both, opening the door for...? I know Leeds are missing a couple of their preferred starting XI but you’d have to think that, playing in front of a slightly partisan home crowd on a Bank Holiday with the Golden Egg drawing into view, they would get this done. Wouldn’t you ? Or IS it the surprise banana skin home defeat that totally derails their chase ? It’s a funny old game football...”

You should definitely trademark that line. i think Hull will find it hard to raise it tonight, and agree that Elland Road is one of the few remaining grounds that, when it’s up, has manic behaviour coming from all parts.

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Championship: Leeds leave it late to beat Hull, Blackburn thrash Sunderland

  • Summerville and James take Leeds back up to second
  • John Eustace earns first win as Rovers manager with 5-1 victory

Leeds retook the second place held briefly by Leicester after Crysencio Summerville’s late penalty and Dan James’s spectacular strike gave them a 3-1 home win over Hull. Sam Byram’s header put the hosts ahead, Fábio Carvalho equalised but Regan Slater fouled Summerville in the area. The winger got up to convert the spot-kick before James sealed the victory in style, sending the ball sailing into the unattended goal from just inside Hull’s half as his side broke following a corner that Ryan Allsop, the Tigers’ goalkeeper, had gone up for.

“There was no doubt this was a well-deserved win,” Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Leeds. “I think we had six times the amount of expected goals that they had, but it was a complicated game for us. For many of my players it was their third game in six days because they’ve played on Tuesday or Wednesday on international duty.

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Leicester 3-1 Norwich: Championship – live reaction

Leicester were forced to come from behind but ran out worthy winners as they returned to the Championship summit following their recent wobble

David Wagner: “It makes no sense to look on the table, or judge the table every match day because it can change with one game,” said Norwich’s manager after their win against Plymouth on Friday. “I think it makes total sense to focus on us and make sure we produce performances, like we’ve done in recent weeks, and make sure we fight and work as hard as we did against Plymouth.

“Then we have to make sure that we stay healthy, because we have a very thin squad. I said this more often in recent weeks and if you see in our last matchday squad, again, I think everybody realises it.

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