The first week of March was ushered in alongside game week 35, which featured such mouthwatering clashes as Derby County vs. Fulham, and Middlesbrough vs. Leeds United. Let’s round-up events as they happened…
The winners and losers
It was the latter game that kicked off the weekend. The groundsmen at the Riverside dispelled the combined powers of the Beast from the East and Storm Emma to clear the pitch and allow the match between Middlesbrough and Leeds to go ahead, amidst snowy conditions.
Patrick Bamford netted a superior hat-trick that might indicate a return to form, which proved more than enough to see off Leeds United, who seem confined to yet another season of Championship football.
The pick of Saturday’s games undoubtedly came at Pride Park.
Derby County and Fulham are both well in the hunt for the second automatic promotion space—currently occupied by Cardiff—and with Wolves slipping recently, both teams’ eyes are on an even greater prize.
Early goals from Aleksandar Mitrović (his third in as many games) and wunderkind Ryan Sessegnon saw Derby reeling inside the first half an hour.
That first half brace proved too much for the Rams, who grabbed a consolation goal through veteran Tom Huddlestone in the 68th minute.
Meanwhile, Preston North End cemented their good form on the road with a comfortable 3-1 win away at Barnsley, while Nottingham Forest put pay to a woeful Birmingham City side (2–1) in what proved to be Steve Cotterill’s final game in charge of the Blues at the City Ground.
Bristol City were the other team to achieve victory on Saturday, running riot against Sheffield Wednesday to beat them 4-0 at Ashton Gate. Lee Johnson’s men demonstrated that their playoff dream is still well and truly alive, especially when players such as Bobby Reid, who bagged himself a hat-trick against Wednesday, is performing so magnificently.
The day’s final game saw Millwall and Sunderland draw 1–1 at the Den, in a match that saw the Black Cats go ahead in the 29th minute—thanks to a Bryan Oviedo wonder-strike.
Current round-up news
This week saw another set of midweek fixtures complementing the conventional weekend schedule, including Garry Monk’s first match as Birmingham manager against his old club Middlesbrough at St Andrew’s. (Birmingham 0–1 Middlesborough)