The EFL Championship play-offs are just around the corner and the teams at the top need to keep up the momentum to continue. For teams at the bottom, a positive result can mean a short reprieve and the promise of better things when the league resumes.
With the international break beckoning, clubs again attempt to fight for a result before this momentary reset arrives.
The winners and losers
Last Saturday saw some ferociously important fixtures take place with equally important results:
Fulham, the EFL Championship’s high-flyers of late, looked set to continue their marvelous run. Lucas Piazon put the Cottagers two goals ahead against QPR at home in the day’s earliest kick-off. A Massimo Luongo strike in the dying seconds of the first-half, however, sowed the seeds of doubt in Slaviša Jokanović’s side. Come to the final whistle, QPR had pulled another goal back through Pawel Wszolek to leave Fulham ruing their missed chances.
Middlesbrough, smelling blood after this result, failed to take advantage of Fulham‘s slip-up and could only draw away at Brentford.
Wolves, however, appeared to be back to their dominant best, as they ran out against Burton Albion 3–1 at Molineux.
Bristol City, too, reinforced their promotion bid with a 1-0 over Ipswich Town, while Villa had the most hapless day of the top teams, losing 1-0 away at lowly Bolton.
The win for the Lancashire side was doubly important, however, as Sunderland and Barnsley both failed to obtain much-needed victories against Preston and Millwall, respectively.
Nevertheless, what would have been a perfect day for Bolton in their battle against relegation was marred by Birmingham City finally coming good under Garry Monk. A 3-0 home win against Hull City—themselves not totally safe from danger—was a thoroughly satisfying return for the new manager, especially as Jota, so long underplayed by Cotterill during his tenure, grabbed himself a brace.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday triumphed in their Yorkshire derby against Leeds United at Elland Road, beating their neighbors (nearly) 2-1. Norwich City stole an impressive victory over a Reading side, who look mostly bereft of confidence. At Carrow Road, they finished at 3–2, while the only goalless draw of the day was played out by Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane.
What’s next in the EFL Championship?
After the international break, a packed Easter weekend schedule beckons, including a mouth-watering tie between Middlesbrough and Wolves at the Riverside.