Hammers knock on Saints door


West Ham closed the gap on league-leaders Southampton on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Derby at Upton Park as Saints slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bristol City.

The Hammers, who came back from one goal down, are now just two points behind Southampton at the top of the Championship after extending their unbeaten run to six games.

A 36th-minute debut-goal from Tamas Priskin put Derby ahead but a goal from Carlton Cole on the stroke of half time leveled the score at the interval.

Kevin Nolan scored an impressive 22-yard volley to put his side ahead before Mark Noble converted a penalty with 15-minutes left to play.

Sam Allardyce praised his promotion-chasing side's second-half performance; "We weren't very good in the first half, let's face it.

"We changed to 4-3-3 and got the best out of our players. We saw better movement, better options and more fluent football."

Derby manager Nigel Clough believed the game could have been different had his team took a lead into half time; "I hope we could have got the 1-0 at half time," he said.

"But what it does to us and the effect it gives to West Ham, they came straight out of the blocks in the second half and put us under pressure."

High-flying Southampton still sit top despite a 2-0 defeat at Ashton Gate.

Bristol City, who find themselves in the relegation zone, scored two second-half goals courtesy of Albert Adomah and Nicky Maynard without a Southampton reply to extend their impressive unbeaten run to five games.

Saints who suffered just their third defeat of the season were left to rue missed chances.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Blackpool in sixth played out an eventful 2-2 draw with 8th-placed Birmingham.

Marlon King broke the deadlock before Stephen Crainey and Neal Eardley scored for the Seasiders. Nikola Zigic scored in the 87th minute to snatch a draw.

Third-placed Cardiff extended their unbeaten run to seven games after Joe Mason's second-half header secured a 1-0 win against Nottingham Forest.

Middlesborough were held to a 1-1 draw against Peterborough at London Road after an impressive 81st-minute strike from Paul Taylor cancelled out Matthew Bates' 54th-minute header.

Barnsley shocked fifth-placed Leeds to win at Elland Road for the first time since 1990, after a hard-fought 2-1 victory. First-half goals form Ricardo Vaz Te and Craig Davies were enough to see off United despite an impressive free kick from Ross McCormack just before the hour mark.

Hull succumbed to a 3-2 loss at the hands of Burnley as the away side scored three goals in the last twelve minutes in a thrilling encounter. Jay Rodriquez scored deep into injury time to seal the victory after David Edgar scored twice in four minutes for Burnley to cancel out Matty Fryatt's earlier brace for Hull.

Ipswich suffered their fifth-straight loss in despairing fashion when Reading come out on top in a five-goal thriller. Two-injury time goals from Reading at Portman Road made Blues boss Paul Jewell feel 'sickened' by the defeat.

South-coast clubs Brighton and Portsmouth both earned points with Pompey playing out a 1-1 draw with Leicester and Brighton taking all three points at home to Coventry.

Both Crystal Palace v Millwall and Doncaster v Watford ended goalless.

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