Football

Forest close gap to Magpies

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Nottingham Forest piled the pressure on Coca-Cola Championship leaders Newcastle as they closed the gap to just two points.

A 2-1 home win over Reading eased second-placed Forest three points clear of West Brom, who head for St James' Park on Monday evening, although Billy Davies' side have now played two games more than both of their main promotion rivals.

The victory was secured by first-half strikes from Paul Anderson and Robert Earnshaw, although the home fans endured a tense final few moments after substitute Jimmy Kebe pulled one back for Liverpool's midweek FA Cup conquerors.

Swansea maintained their challenge with a 1-0 home victory over Leicester which saw the Foxes, who had started the day in fifth, drop out of the play-off places into seventh. Gorka Pintado's lone 32nd-minute strike, his first since March last year, eased the Swans into fourth place as they leapfrogged Welsh rivals Cardiff.

The Bluebirds were heading for defeat at Scunthorpe as a result of Michael O'Connor's early free-kick, but Peter Whittingham levelled with just eight minutes remaining to snatch a point.

Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan fielded all three of his new signings at Sheffield United, but former Celtic trio Barry Robson, Willo Flood and Chris Killen could not prevent the Teessiders from slipping to a seventh defeat in the 11 league games for which he has been in charge. Richard Cresswell's 56th-minute header was enough to secure victory for the Blades, who also hit the post through substitute Henri Camara.

Elsewhere, in-demand striker Victor Moses fired Crystal Palace to a 1-0 win at struggling Plymouth, while QPR caretaker boss Mick Harford enjoyed a positive start as his side twice came from behind at Blackpool to earn a 2-2 draw through Matt Connolly's spectacular 84th-minute volley.

There were late fireworks at Ipswich, where Roy Keane's men were leading 2-1 six minutes into injury time when Richard Wood levelled for Coventry. However, there was still time for substitute Pablo Counago to claim a last-gasp victory and spare his team a rocket from their manager.

Darren Ferguson's first game in charge at Preston proved a chastening experience as Bristol City powered their way to a 4-2 win at Ashton Gate, while Sheffield Wednesday got the better of South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley with a 2-1 success at Oakwell, all the goals coming in the opening 21 minutes.

Heidar Helguson's injury-time penalty could not deny Doncaster a 2-1 home victory over Watford after Dean Shiels and Gareth Roberts' goals, while bottom-of-the-table Peterborough had a day to forget as central defenders Craig Morgan and Ryan Bennett were sent off in a 3-0 home defeat by Derby.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Peterborough United
Leicester City
Paul Anderson
Doncaster Rovers
Ipswich Town
West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
Craig Morgan
Watford
Bristol City
Henri Camara
Football
Peter Whittingham
Heidar Helguson
Gareth Roberts
Scunthorpe United
Championship
Jimmy Kebe
Darren Ferguson
Cardiff City
Robert Earnshaw
Richard Wood
Gordon Strachan
Preston North End
Derby County
Gorka Pintado
Nottingham Forest
Roy Keane
Richard Cresswell
Michael O'Connor
Willo Flood
Queens Park Rangers
Barnsley
Sheffield United
Dean Shiels
Ryan Bennett
Victor Moses
Crystal Palace
Middlesbrough
FA Cup
Coventry City
Pablo Counago
Plymouth Argyle
Blackpool
Barry Robson
Swansea City
Liverpool
Anderson
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