Winners and losers of the 21st week of the championship
“The hectic Christmas schedule” is a term often used at this time of year, although in reality playing three games a week is not particularly unusual when you’re in the league.
The second tier is notorious for being furious, frantic and honestly bonkers, and the last set of matches was no different.
We’re at a pivotal time in the season where teams may start to be cut adrift at the bottom or advance to the top, so let’s take a look at the winners and losers of Boxing Day clashes.
The reading has been inconsistent lately – losing their last two games – and has subsequently lost its grip on the first two, so they will have desperately wanted to return to victory.
Luton’s visit represented a fantastic chance to come back to victory – with Nathan Jones’ side in miserable form – and the Royals didn’t disappoint.
First-half goals from Tom McIntyre and Alfa Semedo secured all three points for the home side as they returned to the top six, with Luton’s late consolation only halving the deficit as Reading won a 2-1 victory.
Oh Derby, you were so close.
Having been forced to play with ten men for most of the game after Martyn Waghorn was sacked in the 20th minute, Wayne Rooney’s men dug and appeared to have crawled to a valuable point in their attempt to survive.
Then, in the 96th minute, Alan Browne rolled up a lavish left-footed strike to the top corner and Derby’s point evaporated into the air.
1-0 to visitors. So close but so far.
Cardiff has seen a small recovery over the past month so when they went 1-0 at home against Brentford thanks to a wonderful goal from Will Vaulks everything seemed to go according to plan. That’s until Sergi Canos decides to show up, anyway.
The Spaniard had scored one goal in 40 games before his side’s trip to Cardiff, but he had a superb hat-trick in South Wales to ensure his side would win all three points at home, as the Bees kept pace with those above. them in the league.
Oh dear Gareth Ainsworth. It doesn’t seem like it’s meant to be.
Wycombe fought well all afternoon and looked to come back from their trip to Bristol City with an excellent point against one of the teams vying for automatic promotion, but just as the line d arrival was in sight, they threw it away.
Famara Diedhiou’s strike three minutes from time gave the Robins a 2-1 win and left Wycombe stranded in the relegation zone.
Every season there is a team in the Championship that no one pays much attention to, but they slowly go about their business and end up nabbing a promotion – this year just might be the year of Swansea City.
Steve Cooper’s side showed no signs of suffering from Joe Rodon’s departure this summer, and their 2-0 win over QPR was the kind of effective display you need to thrive in a league as demanding as the second level.
Aside from their horror day at Bournemouth, Huddersfield has been pretty solid lately and has found itself getting closer and closer to playoff spots.
An impressive win last time out against Watford gave them real hope to add their name to the mix and they traveled to Barnsley with full confidence.
However, Michal Helik’s last-minute strike saw them walk away from Oakwell empty-handed, with the home side claiming a 2-1 victory.
Without a doubt the cruelest way to lose a game.