Aiden McGeady helps keep Sheffield Wednesday’s playoff hopes alive
Stephen Ward scores for table-toppers Burnley as Leon Best is another Irish scorer
Aiden McGeady scored this weekend, good news for Ireland manager Martin O’Neill. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Sheffield Wednesday ended their goal famine in emphatic fashion as they cruised to a 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest, even after being reduced to 10 men. Irish winger Aiden McGeady put the visitors ahead before the break, after breaking the resolve of Forest keeper Dorus de Vries in the 30th minute. Gary Hooper added a second following some dreadful defending in the 62nd minute and, even after having Barry Bannan sent off in the 72nd minute, the Owls still managed to add a third through sub Marco Matias, five minutes from the end.
An end-to-end start to the game saw de Vries have to make an even better stop, acrobatically tipping over a crisply struck 20-yard effort from McGeady.
Yet the on-loan Everton player did find the back of the net in the 30th minute, after Vaughan had lost possession in the centre. Bannan slotted a pass into the box, which Eric Lichaj looked likely to intercept, before losing his footing, allowing McGeady to take a touch, and fire beyond de Vries from eight yards.
Ward, Sam Vokes and Ben Mee scored in the first half for the Clarets as they moved seven points clear on Saturday.
Joe Lolley briefly made it 2-1 before Mee scored just before the break as Sean Dyche’s side clinched a sixth straight win.
Second-placed Middlesbrough — with Aitor Karanka’s future in doubt after a reported bust-up with his players — have two games in hand and can close the gap if they beat Charlton on Sunday with assistant head coach Steve Agnew in charge.
Hull missed the chance to go above Boro after being held 1-1 by struggling MK Dons, who gave their survival hopes a boost.
Antony Kay opened the scoring for the visitors just after the restart but Sam Clucas levelled two minutes later for the Tigers, who leapfrogged Brighton in third on goal difference.
Derby blew a 3-0 lead with just seven minutes left as Rotherham mounted a stunning recovery to draw 3-3.
Former Irish striker Leon Best grabbed a brace, including a stoppage-time equaliser, after Danny Ward started the comeback on 83 minutes, with Neil Warnock’s side just a point from safety.
Tom Ince’s brace and Chris Martin’s 14th goal of the season had given the Rams a commanding second-half lead after they scored three goals in 10 minutes.
Cardiff’s 1-0 win over Ipswich, thanks to Bruno Ecuele Manga’s first-half winner, kept their promotion hopes alive while denting the Tractor Boys’ own ambitions.
Defeat left Ipswich four points behind the top six, and three behind Cardiff, after Manga’s header.
At the bottom, Bolton’s slim survival hopes continued to fade after Marnick Vermijl’s late winner earned a 2-1 win for Preston.
Wanderers, now 11 points from safety, took the lead when Liam Trotter linked with Mark Davies but Jordan Hugill equalised before Vermijl’s low effort four minutes from time.
Lee Tomlin’s injury-time winner moved Bristol City above Fulham and four points clear of the relegation zone as they won 2-1 at Craven Cottage.
Ross McCormack had given the hosts a third-minute lead but Marlon Pack levelled before Tomlin’s strike.
In the early kick-off, Leeds secured a third straight win with a 2-1 victory at Blackburn.
Sol Bamba and Mirco Antenucci — with his fourth goal in three games — scored in each half before Simeon Jackson pulled a goal back in the last minute for the hosts.
Elsewhere, QPR eased past out-of-form Brentford 3-0 as Tjaronn Chery and Sebastian Polter struck in the second half after Junior Hoilett’s opener.