Birmingham battle back for late draw

Peterborough were unable to change their away fortunes as two late goals for Birmingham forced a 2-2 draw at St Andrew’s.

A first-half goal from Jack Marriott and Jonson Clarke-Harris’ strike in the 67th minute gave the visitors a commanding lead, but Gary Gardner and Scott Hogan struck late on to spark a thrilling end to the encounter.

Ryan Woods delivered an enticing free-kick early on as Marc Roberts glanced narrowly wide from 10 yards out. Ivan Sunjic was then caught in possession in the attacking third, causing a four-on-two counter-attack.

In the 16th minute, Marriott was fed through and finished calmly to put Posh ahead.

Woods capitalised on a poor touch from Clarke-Harris and Jordan James picked up possession only to be scythed down by Posh captain Oliver Norburn, but the following free-kick opportunity led to nothing.

Hogan cut inside from the right brilliantly, pulling a cross back for Blues captain Lukas Jutkiewicz, who dragged his shot wide under pressure.

Harrison Burrows’ low driven cross was flicked on at the front post by Jack Taylor, forcing Neil Etheridge to make a smart stop.

Frankie Kent was booked late on for attempting to prevent a Blues counter, following an advantage given to the home side.

Roberts soon ventured forward, sending his header sailing high over the crossbar, causing no worry to Steven Benda in the opposition net.

Callum Morton, not long after being introduced for Marriott, found himself in on goal after a slide-rule pass from Kwame Poku, but his effort was smothered by Etheridge.

Jeremie Bela’s dangerous cross found its way to the far post, where Gardner’s stab at goal was stopped at the feet of Benda.

Roberts nudged Morton to the floor and Oliver Langford gave a controversial penalty to Posh, much to the disgust of the Blues faithful. Clarke-Harris confidently slotted into the bottom left corner, giving the visitors a two-goal advantage.

James was replaced by Jordan Graham after 76 minutes to add some desired attacking threat.

Blues, on the hunt for a result, saw Gardner’s strike from 18 yards out roll through the Posh defence and find the bottom left corner.

Bela delivered another brilliant cross moments later, met at the front post by Hogan, who diverted his header past Benda in the 88th minute to level the contest in dramatic fashion.

QPR and Swansea battle for draw

QPR were unable to extend their winning run as they were held to a drab goalless home draw by Swansea.

The west London side had won their previous four Championship matches and would have climbed to third in the table with another victory.

Instead they remain a place further back, two points behind second-placed Blackburn with a game in hand.

Swansea, who stay 17th, ended the match with 10 men after Flynn Downes was sent off in added time for tangling with Charlie Austin. Both players were booked, Downes picking up his second yellow card.

Luke Amos went closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit a post just before the hour mark.

The Rangers midfielder darted through on the right-hand side of the area and drove the ball low across the face of goal and against the woodwork.

But Swansea were a threat and veteran goalkeeper David Marshall kept them at bay in the opening stages of the second half.

The Scotland international looks a shrewd short-term signing by QPR while first-choice keeper Seny Dieng is with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Marshall, making his third appearance since being brought in from Derby, did brilliantly to keep out Joe Piroe’s low shot.

Marshall was also alert to push away Cyrus Christie’s dangerous cross and Matt Grimes’ follow-up as the Swans put Rangers under a spell of pressure.

While Marshall is filling the void left by Dieng, QPR badly missed the creativity of Ilias Chair, whose Cup of Nations involvement with Morocco has deprived his club of one of their two main creative players.

The other, Chris Willock, caused the visitors problems, but Rangers struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Boss Mark Warburton reacted by adopting a more direct approach, sending striker Lyndon Dykes on to partner Austin up front.

And Dykes missed a great chance late on when he fired straight at keeper Ben Hamer from point-blank range after being set up by Moses Odubajo.

Swansea deserved their point and continued to show signs of improvement, despite having won just one of their past six matches.

This stalemate made it four points from two games and back-to-back clean sheets for the Welsh side.

They briefly thought they had gone ahead when Michael Obafemi netted with a couple of minutes remaining, but the striker was offside.

What the managers said…

QPR’s Mark Warburton: “I just felt we lacked a bit of quality in the final third. We know we were not at our best. You’re obviously going to miss a player who plays nine times out of 10. Ilias is normally in the team and with his goals and assists he’s a very talented boy. He’s been away but, if you look at our run for the last eight or nine games, we’re not doing bad.

“The boys have found a way to win games and tonight we couldn’t quite find a way to win it. But look at the results. We’ve done OK and are in a decent position and come May that could be a very good point indeed.”

Swansea’s Russell Martin: “I thought we were great. I’m really proud of the team. I asked them to come here and show courage and be the team that we want to be and they’ve done that. We showed some serious character. There was a really good mentality and a real intensity to the game. With a bit more quality in the final third I think we could maybe have come away with three points, but it’s back-to-back clean sheets and we got the least we deserved tonight.

“Some of the football was really good on a tight pitch against a very good team who are really aggressive. The bravery they showed to play the way they did was incredible. We’ve shown that on our day we’re capable of producing performances that can compete against anyone. I really feel that we’re growing all the time and the players fully believe in what we’re asking them to do.”

Cook haunts Walsall as Bradford win again

Bradford earned their third win in five games with a 2-1 victory against Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium.

Matthew Daly put the Bantams ahead in the 37th minute before George Miller levelled the scoring early in the second half.

Derek Adams’ side snatched the winner late on when former Walsall striker Andy Cook converted from the penalty spot following Zak Mills’ handball.

Walsall missed a host of chances in the first half with Miller, Joss Labadie and Conor Wilkinson all failing to score past the busy Alex Bass.

Bradford broke the deadlock against the run of play when Daly’s strike deflected into the bottom corner. The goal was his first since joining on loan from Huddersfield.

Matthew Taylor’s side levelled the scoring in the 56th minute through striker Miller’s first goal in 15 games when Mills’ effort deflected off the 24-year-old and went into the back of the net.

The visitors stole the victory in the 87th minute when Cook smashed the ball past Carl Rushworth from 12 yards.

Gillingham & Shrewsbury play out dour draw

Relegation-threatened Gillingham and Shrewsbury played out a dismal 0-0 draw at Priestfield.

Gills defender Robbie McKenzie headed narrowly wide from Olly Lee’s corner after 10 minutes and Dan Udoh shot off target for the visitors during an uneventful opening to the game.

Town midfielder Elliott Bennett was denied a spectacular opener by Gillingham loanee goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg, who was at full-stretch to tip his curling free-kick around a post.

Striker John Akinde blazed over from close range following Kyle Dempsey’s cutback as the hosts wasted a rare opportunity nine minutes into the second half.

Gillingham midfielder Dan Phillips then dragged a low shot into the side-netting before substitute Danny Lloyd crashed a speculative 35-yard free-kick against the woodwork six minutes from time.

This draw means that the managerless Kent side have now gone 13 games without a league win and sit nine points from safety, while Shrewsbury leapfrogged Cheltenham into 17th place.

West Brom's unbeaten home run ended by Preston

Preston raised the pressure on Valerien Ismael as they ended West Brom’s unbeaten home record with a deserved 2-0 win at The Hawthorns.

The hosts failed to register a single shot on target across 90 minutes and did themselves equally few favours defensively in a performance which saw them booed off at the end of both halves.

Greg Cunningham’s deflected cross was turned in on the line by Emil Riis for the visitors’ opener five minutes before the break.

Cameron Archer, making his debut after joining on loan from Aston Villa, rubbed salt in the wound against the Villans’ West Midlands rivals by doubling the advantage 12 minutes after his entrance, when he nodded home the rebound after Allan Browne’s effort was kept out by David Button.

West Brom miss the chance to close the gap on second-placed Blackburn to four points with their first home league loss since May 2021, while Preston’s faint hopes of reaching the play-offs are boosted after moving eight points behind Huddersfield in sixth.

More to follow…

Last-minute Twine winner stuns Burton

Scott Twine fired home a stunning stoppage-time winner to extend MK Dons’ unbeaten away record to five Sky Bet League One games with a 1-0 victory over Burton.

The striker capitalised on a bouncing ball in the box to send a dipping effort over Ben Garratt with a second remaining.

While the Dons dominated much of the game in terms of possession they were unable to find a way past Ben Garratt in the Burton goal.

The Albion stopper superbly tipped over a rising effort from Josh McEachran and the Dons also hit the frame of the goal twice, Tennai Watson hitting the crossbar and Troy Parrott seeing a shot pushed onto a post.

Albion also hit a post in the first half. Gassan Ahadme denied from a towering header as he looked to covert Daniel Jebbison’s cross.

Garratt produced an outstanding save to deny Parrott in the opening minutes of the second half and the Spurs loanee glanced a late header wide until the visitors’ persistence finally paid off to find a way past the Burton keeper.

Luton see off Bristol City

Top scorer Elijah Adebayo was Luton’s matchwinner as his 12th goal of the season earned his side a 2-1 home win against Bristol City.

The visitors went close early on when home goalkeeper James Shea was beaten by an inswinging corner and Kal Naismith did well to head the ball over from underneath his own crossbar.

It was the Robins who enjoyed the better of the early stages and following yet another corner, Han-Noah Massengo drilled over the top from the edge of the box.

Luton finally started to feature as an attacking threat in the final 10 minutes of the first half, winning a number of corners through the hard work of star striker Adebayo.

One of them was swung in by James Bree and Glen Rea met it at the far post only to head disappointingly wide.

Luton did take the lead after 42 minutes from their first effort on target as Bree took a short corner to Naismith and received the ball back, looking up to send over an excellent cross that Tom Lockyer rose highest to power a header past Max O’Leary.

In the second period, Bristol City striker Chris Martin – an ex-Luton player – saw a header loop into the gloves of Shea when under pressure from Naismith.

The Robins were level in the 57th minute when Luton failed to deal with a long ball forward and Andreas Weimann was left in acres of space to go clean through and confidently slip his shot beyond Shea for his 14th goal of the season.

Massengo’s fierce drive was deflected over before Luton boss Nathan Jones brought on Fred Onyedinma and his low shot was easily dealt with by O’Leary.

Gabe Osho might have done better with a header from a corner, but Luton were back in front after 68 minutes.

Bree was again the provider, his pinpoint free-kick from the right causing an almighty scramble inside the Robins area and there was Adebayo to fire home his 12th goal of an increasingly impressive campaign.

City looked to hit back for a second time, their main man Weimann spinning inside the area to shoot but his effort cleared the bar, while substitute Nahki Wells was also off target.

Nigel Pearson’s side should have snatched a point in stoppage time, though. Weimann put a free header from Cameron Pring’s cross away from goal and Wells hit the side-netting from the follow-up.

Joe Williams’ side-footed effort was straight at Shea from outside the box as Luton held on to move within six points of the play-offs.

QPR and Swansea battle for draw

QPR were unable to extend their winning run as they were held to a drab goalless home draw by Swansea.

The west London side had won their previous four Championship matches and would have climbed to third in the table with another victory.

Instead they remain a place further back, two points behind second-placed Blackburn with a game in hand.

Swansea, who stay 17th, ended the match with 10 men after Flynn Downes was sent off in added time for tangling with Charlie Austin. Both players were booked, Downes picking up his second yellow card.

Luke Amos went closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit a post just before the hour mark.

The Rangers midfielder darted through on the right-hand side of the area and drove the ball low across the face of goal and against the woodwork.

But Swansea were a threat and veteran goalkeeper David Marshall kept them at bay in the opening stages of the second half.

The Scotland international looks a shrewd short-term signing by QPR while first-choice keeper Seny Dieng is with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Marshall, making his third appearance since being brought in from Derby, did brilliantly to keep out Joe Piroe’s low shot.

Marshall was also alert to push away Cyrus Christie’s dangerous cross and Matt Grimes’ follow-up as the Swans put Rangers under a spell of pressure.

While Marshall is filling the void left by Dieng, QPR badly missed the creativity of Ilias Chair, whose Cup of Nations involvement with Morocco has deprived his club of one of their two main creative players.

The other, Chris Willock, caused the visitors problems, but Rangers struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Boss Mark Warburton reacted by adopting a more direct approach, sending striker Lyndon Dykes on to partner Austin up front.

And Dykes missed a great chance late on when he fired straight at keeper Ben Hamer from point-blank range after being set up by Moses Odubajo.

Swansea deserved their point and continued to show signs of improvement, despite having won just one of their past six matches.

This stalemate made it four points from two games and back-to-back clean sheets for the Welsh side.

They briefly thought they had gone ahead when Michael Obafemi netted with a couple of minutes remaining, but the striker was offside.

Gyokeres steers Coventry past Stoke

Viktor Gyokeres scored for the first time since early October as he hit the winner in Coventry’s 1-0 victory at home to Stoke.

The striker, who had been without a goal since a double in a 4-1 win against Fulham on October 2, struck in the 68th minute to earn the Sky Blues their first home win in the Championship in five attempts.

The Swede kept his place in the starting line-up, having returned to the side for the weekend defeat to QPR due to Matty Godden’s appendicitis, while Josh Eccles was handed his first start of the season at right wing-back, with Todd Kane, Fankaty Dabo and Ian Maatsen out injured.

There was also a first start for new signing Jake Bidwell as Jordan Shipley returned to a more familiar midfield role, while Michael O’Neill made just one change to his Stoke side, with Tom Ince replacing Joe Allen.

Unlike Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Rangers, this match started slowly, Stoke applying the early pressure but failing to create any meaningful opportunities.

It was Gyokeres’ persistence down the left that brought the game’s first opening as he dispossessed a Potters defender before cutting inside, but his low effort was comfortable for Stoke goalkeeper Jack Bonham.

The 23-year-old forward had a golden chance to end his drought when he intercepted James Chester’s slack pass in front of goal but lacked composure as he once again shot straight at Bonham.

It was almost third time lucky for the former Brighton man when he was agonisingly close to getting on the end of a knock-down in the six-yard box, but the Stoke defence stood firm.

Gyokeres was looking devoid of confidence, but, after Shipley’s effort was deflected narrowly over by Tommy Smith and Eccles headed wide, the Swede stepped up to notch his 10th goal of the season.

City won the ball high up the field and Ben Sheaf’s forward pass found Gyokeres, who turned and took aim from outside the area and powered an effort past a helpless Bonham.

Coventry almost doubled the lead when Martyn Waghorn’s long-range effort fizzed past the right-hand post with 15 minutes to go.

Stoke finished the evening without a shot on target as they slumped to back-to-back defeats in the wake of their weekend loss to Fulham.

Bristol Rovers survive late scare to secure rare away win

Bristol Rovers survived a late Scunthorpe fightback to end their near three-month search for an away victory with a 3-2 win.

The Iron looked dead and buried after goals from Josh Grant, Leon Clarke and an Antony Evans penalty put the Pirates 3-0 ahead with less than a quarter of the game to go.

But two Sam Burns goals in three minutes at the end of the game ensured the hosts at least went down fighting.

Although out-of-form Scunthorpe had started brightly, Bristol Rovers had begun to get on top when they went ahead in the 36th minute – Grant finding the bottom corner after clever play by Sam Nicholson up the byline.

With home goalkeeper Rory Watson in inspired form, Rovers had to wait until the 62nd minute to add to their tally as Evans converted coolly from the spot following a clumsy challenge by George Taft in the box.

When Clarke rounded Watson to add a third 12 minutes from time, it looked like game over – but somehow the Iron came roaring back.

Burns scrambled home his first of the night in the 89th minute following Tyrese Sinclair’s cross, and then found the far corner from a low drive in the second minute of stoppage time.

Roared on by the home fans, the Iron threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to complete the comeback, but Joey Barton’s side held on to make it four games unbeaten.