Date: 3rd January 2017 at 9:57am
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The Championship season continued with the first round of games played to kick off the New Year on Bank Holiday Monday.

Brighton made the most of a Newcastle slip to take the lead – they also have a game in hand. Rotherham, Wigan and Blackburn – despite the win against the Magpies – make up the bottom three.

Here’s a round up of the Championship action from the other games played.

Results

Monday 2nd January 2017 – Sky Bet Championship
Birmingham City 1-3 Brentford 15:00
Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Newcastle United 15:00
Bristol City 2-3 Reading 15:00
Burton Albion 0-1 Preston North End 15:00
Cardiff City 1-0 Aston Villa 15:00
Fulham 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion 15:00
Leeds United 3-0 Rotherham United 15:00
Norwich City 3-0 Derby County 15:00
Nottingham Forest 0-1 Barnsley 15:00
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Ipswich Town 15:00
Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15:00
Wigan Athletic 0-1 Huddersfield Town 15:00

Newcastle knew a win and they would keep top spot whatever Brighton did. However, there was a sense of déjà vu against Blackburn as – like they did at St James’ Park – they were undone by the relegation threatened side who secured a crucial three points with a 1-0 win at Ewood Park. It wasn’t enough to take Rovers out of the bottom three but a first win in six means it is now just a point and a place from safety for Blackburn.

The surprise defeat suffered by Newcastle opened the door to Brighton – a win and they would return to the summit. Having recovered from a goal down at Fulham this is exactly what happened as two goals in a minute gave Albion a 2-1 win. A fifth straight win took the Seagulls two points clear at the top with a game in hand too. The Cottagers first defeat in six saw them lose ground on the play-off places.

A New Year couldn’t bring a change of fortunes for Gianfranco Zola at Birmingham. The Italian saw his Blues side take the lead but Brentford recovered to go away with a 3-1 win in the end to make it three unbeaten – moving just a couple of points behind the side directly above the Bees in 13th.

Bristol City were on to end a miserable run of form with a much needed three points when they went two nil up early in the second half. However, a Reading fightback saw the visitors score three goals in the final 20 minutes to turn the game around and leave Ashton Gate with a 3-2 win. The Robins have now lost nine of the last 10 – six in a row – whereas the Royals have recorded victories in eight of last 10.

A fifth defeat in six – having ended the year with a win – was suffered by relegation threatened Burton, who did remain a point above the drop zone. Preston retained 11th place with a 1-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium to start the New Year on a high ahead of the FA Cup meeting with Arsenal.

Cardiff’s early goal against Aston Villa was enough to collect an important three points. This 1-0 win lifted them to 19th and made certain the New Year wouldn’t start with the Bluebirds slipping into the bottom three. Villa’s own promotion aspirations were dealt a blow on the other hand with Steve Bruce’s side now seven points off the top 6.

The relative comfort of a five points cushion between Leeds – in 5th – and the closest side outside of the top six was opened up following a 3-0 win against struggling Rotherham. The Whites fourth win in – an unbeaten – five games was the Millers’ eighth loss in 10. The bottom placed side are now 12 points from survival.

Ahead of the game you wouldn’t have got very good odds on Norwich beating Derby – certainly not by the 3-0 scoreline we saw at the end at Carrow Road! However, that’s what happened as the Canaries’ year – with only a third win in 10 – got off to a bang against the promotion chasing Rams. A first defeat in 10 meant they remained in 7th missing the chance to move into the top 6.

Nottingham Forest’s fifth defeat in six – none of these games have been won – saw Forest’s struggles increase with them now just two points off the relegation places. Barnsley’s 1-0 win at the City Ground – secured by a late winner – made it three wins in four for the Tykes to leave them just four points off the play-off.

Having lost six in a row previously QPR have now won back-to-back games. The victory against Wolves to end 2016 was followed up with a 2-1 at Loftus Road against Ipswich to start 2017 with another three point return. The R’s are now five points clear of the bottom 3 and just a couple of points and places behind the Tractor Boys in 15th.

A second successive Sheffield Wednesday draw was enough to keep them in the fourth and final play-off place. However, Wolves will be the happier of the sides with this 0-0 draw as the visitors recovered from a defeat to end the last year – the only one in the last four though.

Wigan’s run without a win was extended to seven – six of these games have ended in defeat like this one at the DW Stadium against Huddersfield. Town looked as though they would have to settle for successive draws until a late goals secured a 1-0 win to make it five wins in an unbeaten seven game spell, keeping the Terriers in 4th.

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