Leeds close in on Premier League return by beating Blackburn


The Championship leaders swept aside the Rovers’ challenge.

Leeds took a huge stride towards the Premier League as goals from Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich saw them to a 3-1 win at Blackburn.

The win moves the Championship leaders four points clear of second-placed West Brom, who will have the chance to haul back the deficit against struggling Hull on Sunday.

Bamford pounced on an error in the Rovers defence to put his side in front after just seven minutes and Phillips doubled Leeds’ advantage with a 40th-minute free-kick.

Adam Armstrong dragged Rovers back into the game in the 48th minute but Klich made sure five minutes later when he struck a deflected effort from the edge of the box.

Said Benrahma struck a hat-trick as Brentford heaped more woe on Wigan with a 3-0 win that strengthened their grip on third place.

Benrahma opened the scoring after 19 minutes then made it 2-0 just before the hour-mark with what looked like an intended cross.

Said Benrahma, left, had a memorable afternoon
Said Benrahma, left, had a memorable afternoon (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Algerian completed his hat-trick before the afternoon went from bad to worse for the visitors, who had entered administration this week, as Joe Garner was sent off for a bad challenge.

Fulham also kept up the chase as Josh Onomah lashed the only goal of the game deep into stoppage time to sink Birmingham 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

The Blues had chances through Jude Bellingham but it looked like they had snared a point late on when keeper Lee Camp produced a brilliant double save to deny Joe Bryan and Bobby Decordova-Reid.

Fulham's Joshua Onomah is mobbed after his late winner
Fulham’s Joshua Onomah is mobbed after his late winner (Adam Davy/PA)

But Nottingham Forest’s fading hopes of automatic promotion were hit as Chris Martin salvaged a point for Derby with an added-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.

Joe Lolley fired Forest ahead after just 12 minutes and the visitors looked set to hold on when the Rams’ Martyn Waghorn was sent off in stoppage time for a dangerous challenge.

But there was still time for Martin to strike the equaliser in the seventh added minute after Forest keeper Brice Samba fumbled a free-kick.

Bristol City sacked head coach Lee Johnson after Danny Ward’s 85th-minute winner secured Cardiff a dramatic 1-0 away win.

Neil Harris’ men had the best of much of the match but looked set to be frustrated until Lee Tomlin’s neat through-ball allowed the striker to grab the points.

Johnson had been in charge for years but the defeat extended their winless run to nine games.

Bottom club Luton saw their six-match unbeaten run come to a crashing end as Yakou Meite scored four goals in Reading’s 5-0 win at Kenilworth Road.

Meite hit two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half to put his side in command, and he completed his hat-trick 10 minutes before half-time.

George Puscas headed a fourth for Reading in the 57th minute before providing the through-ball from which Meite completed the scoring five minutes later.

Tyrese Campbell scored twice as Stoke moved out of the relegation zone with a 4-0 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley.

Sam Vokes opened the scoring after just eight minutes and Campbell’s double gave the Potters a comfortable cushion at the break, with Tom Ince hitting his side’s fourth three minutes from time.

Huddersfield edged two points clear of the relegation zone with a drab goalless draw at home to Preston.