Lambert treble keeps Saints top

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The recently crowned Championship Player of the Year Rickie Lambert fired a hat-trick to keep Southampton top of the table following their 3-2 victory away at Millwall.

Lambert put the Saints ahead after quarter of an hour before Jose Fonte put through his own net to level the scores, and Paul Robinson gave the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break.

But, the 30-year-old striker converted two penalties in the final five minutes to take his tally to 28 league goals this year.

Meanwhile, four second-half goals without reply at Barnsley allowed Reading to go three points ahead of West Ham United who could only draw 1-1 with Leeds United at Elland Road.

Birmingham City, Blackpool and Middlesbrough complete the playoff places, all on 59 points, after the Blues comfortably overcame Boro 3-0 at the Riverside whilst Blackpool beat the 10-men of Brighton 3-1 at Bloomfield Road.

At the other end of the table Portsmouth were again without goals as they drew 0-0 with Bristol City.

Pompey have netted only once in their previous seven league games and are odds on for relegation after going into administration for the second time.

Doncaster Rovers had their five game unbeaten run halted by Derby County in a 2-1 defeat.

However, only one of those five games came in the form of a victory, and so Rovers remain four points from safety with a game in hand over Coventry and Bristol City.

Elsewhere Cardiff City and Burnley, and Crystal Palace and Hull both played out goalless draws while Ipswich Town beat Peterborough 3-2 at Portman Road.

The win for Paul Jewell's men was a relief after their humiliating 7-1 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.

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Rickie Lambert

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