Championship review

Saints close gap with Burnley win

February 11, 2012
By ESPN staff

Goals from Adam Lallana and Billy Sharp proved the difference as Southampton took the opportunity to close the gap on West Ham at the top of the Championship with victory over Burnley.

Billy Sharp
GettyImagesBilly Sharp celebrates scoring for Southampton

Nigel Adkins' side moved within a point of the league-leading Hammers - whose own match was postponed - thanks to the 2-0 victory, which came as a result of two first-half goals.

Lallana opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the season and Billy Sharp - making his full debut - was credited with the second, although Burnley defender Ben Mee got the final touch.

Paul Gallagher scored a goal in each half as Cardiff saw their own promotion challenge falter at the King Power Stadium, as they lost 2-1 to Leicester City.

Malky Mackay's Carling Cup finalists suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season as they followed up last week's 3-1 loss at home to Blackpool with a largely abject display.

Only the inspired form of Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall kept Leicester at bay until Gallagher - who replaced the suspended Neil Danns in the Foxes' only change - opened the scoring with a penalty four minutes before half-time. Kenny Miller thought he had levelled moments after, only to be denied by the offside flag.

In a quieter second half, Gallagher found the decisive goal with a superb free-kick before Peter Whittingham reduced the arrears from the spot.

Leicester move to within six points of the play-offs, while Cardiff remain fourth but slip five points behind second-placed Southampton.

Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts found the net as Reading made it back-to-back home wins in the league with a 2-0 victory over Coventry.

The pair both registered in the first 45 minutes as the Royals followed up their 1-0 triumph over Bristol City at the Madejski Stadium a fortnight ago with another three important points in the race for a play-off place.

Kebe opened the hosts' account with a deflected attempt midway through the opening period before Roberts bundled the ball home from Ian Harte's corner two minutes before the break to hand the Berkshire outfit a comfortable advantage they would hold onto for the remainder of the contest.

Alan Navarro struck an injury-time winner for Brighton that keeps them unbeaten in 2012, denting Neil Redfearn's hopes of becoming the next Leeds manager in the process.

The 46-year-old has been granted what amounts to a four-game interview to impress after the sacking of Simon Grayson 10 days ago and, after winning at Bristol City last weekend, looked to have remained unbeaten today when Luciano Becchio cancelled out Craig Mackail-Smith's opener.

But, just as four minutes of injury time were displayed, Liam Bridcutt won the ball in midfield and played in Navarro and his low drive from the edge of the box went in via a deflection off Adam Smith to silence Elland Road.

Troy Deeney's first-half header earned Watford a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on an emotional day at the City Ground.

A minute's applause was held before kick-off for Forest owner Nigel Doughty who died last weekend and it was the home side who dominated for long spells.

They deservedly went in front through Gareth McCleary's 25-yard strike before Deeney equalised a minute before the break.

Forest pressed in the second half and Chris Gunter was unlucky to see a volley hit the bar, while John Eustace also crashed a shot against the woodwork.

The result ended Forest's six-match losing run in the league at home but they remained five points adrift of safety, while Watford extended their unbeaten run to three matches.

Jack Hobbs scored his first league goal in over three years as Hull climbed back into the top six with a comfortable home win over Bristol City.

Hull skipper Hobbs, last on target while on loan at Leicester in January 2009, headed his side into a 13th-minute lead, Slovenia international Robert Koren added a second two minutes later and Matty Fryatt made sure of the points with his first goal in over two months on the hour mark.

Nick Barmby's side dropped out of the play-off places after their scheduled game at Portsmouth last week was postponed, but a third win in their last four league matches keeps them in the chasing pack.

At the New Den, Millwall played out a drab 0-0 draw with Derby - in a game that saw the home side create the better chances but fail to find a goal to break the deadlock.

Elsewhere, Ipswich's home game against Middlesbrough was abandoned after just over 30 minutes of action, as the referee deemed conditions too poor to continue the contest. Neither side had found the net before they were forced off.

Barnsley's match against Birmingham, Crystal Palace's game against Doncaster and Peterborough United's contest with West Ham United were all postponed after also falling victim to the weather.