Football

Hammers extend lead at the top

Cole celebrates opening goal. (©GettyImages)
Cole celebrates opening goal. (©GettyImages).

Ten-man West Ham stretched their lead at the top of the Championship to four points with a narrow victory over London rivals Millwall.

The Hammers had captain Kevin Nolan sent off early on following a two-footed lunge before taking the lead from a Carlton Cole header.

Liam Trotter then equalised for the Lions but a stunning 20-yard strike from Winston Reid ensured the home side all three points.

Southampton's title hopes received another blow after being held to a goalless draw at promotion contenders Birmingham.

The home side created the best of the chances with Guirane N'Daw heading just wide and Saints keeper Kelvin Davis superbly denying Marlon King's 20-yard effort.

Southampton ended the game with ten men following Danny Fox's dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Two late goals from Blackpool's Matt Phillips gave the Seasider's three points away at promotion rivals Cardiff.

The Welsh side took the lead through Joe Mason before being pegged back by substitute Kevin Phillips, the game looked to be heading towards a draw before Matt Phillips stole the show with two goals in the final eight minutes.

 

Middlesborough continued to falter as they drew out a stalemate at home to Crystal Palace.

Boro, without a win since Boxing day, were outplayed in parts and it took several saves from Luke Steele to deny the Eagles their first win of 2012.

Meanwhile, manager-less Leeds moved within two points of the play-offs with a comfortable victory away at nine-man Bristol City.

Robert Snodgrass' low shot gave the away side the lead before red cards for James Wilson and Yannick Bolasie reduced the Robins to nine men.

Leeds made their numerical advantage count with Ross McCormack and Luciano Becchio wrapping up victory for the Whites.

Will Buckley's 90th minute winner sunk Leicester and ensured Brighton closed ground on their play-off rivals in a contest that saw three red cards.

Jermaine Beckford was controversially sent off, but Matt Sparrow's second bookable offence evened up the sides.

With the contest petering out Buckley smashed a volley home to move the hosts, unbeaten in 2012, within two points of 6th place. Neil Danns became the third player to leave the pitch after hauling down Vicente in added time.

A late goal from Jay Rodriguez rescued a point for Burnley to deny Peterborough their first victory of the year.

The visitors took the lead after Paul Taylor fired home following Ben Mee's mistake, but a mazy run and finish from Rodriguez three minutes from time kept Burnley within three points of the play-off positions.

Coventry were left to rue a late Michael Chopra winner as Ipswich moved further away from the relegation zone.

Jay Emmanuel- Thomas gave the visitors the lead but a Sammy Clingan penalty and a Gary Deegan strike put the Sky Blues ahead at half-time. Chopra equalised after reacting first to Lee Martin's missed spot kick.

The former Cardiff striker then nodded in a 95th minute winner, leaving the home side rooted to the bottom of the table.

Watford pulled further away from the relegation zone after a brace from captain John Eustace edged out Barnsley.

Eustace gave his side the lead with an acrobatic scissor kick and then doubled the advantage midway through the second half. The Tykes' Scott Golbourne scored on his debut to set up a nervy finish for the Hornets.

Doncaster v Reading, Derby v Nottingham Forest and Reading's game at Portsmouth all fell foul of the weather.

Topics:
Carlton Cole
Football
Championship

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