Championship round-up: Richie Towell nets for Rotherham as Norwich go top
James McClean was also on the scoresheet for Stoke in their draw with Ipswich
Norwich City’s Marco Stiepermann celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game with his team mates during the Championship win over Bolton Wanderers. Photo:: Dave Howarth/PA Wire
Norwich moved back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship following a 4-0 win at Bolton as Sheffield United went second after beating Reading by the same scoreline.
The Canaries surrendered top spot to Leeds following their first defeat of 2019 at Preston in midweek, but Daniel Farke’s side responded emphatically by ruthlessly brushing aside beleaguered Bolton.
Teemu Pukki, Marco Stiepermann and Buendia Emi were all on the score sheet within the first 34 minutes at the University of Bolton Stadium, setting them on their way to a routine victory.
Pukki book-ended the scoring in the 56th minute as Norwich leapfrogged Leeds, who now have a game in hand, with Bolton remaining second bottom.
Matters do not get any easier for the Trotters, who travel to Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion-chasers next week.
Sheffield United also pushed Leeds out of the automatic promotion places, enjoying a similarly comfortable afternoon as Norwich, brushing aside Reading at Bramall Lane.
The Blades did not look back once Kieron Freeman had opened the scoring after only 39 seconds, with Gary Madine doubling their lead after a quarter-of-an-hour before stroking home just before the interval.
Madine then turned provider for John Fleck in the 49th minute as Chris Wilder’s side moved level on points with Leeds but above their Yorkshire foes in the table by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Their city rivals Sheffield Wednesday struck in the 10th minute of added time to secure a 2-2 draw at Rotherham.
The Millers were on course to end 43 years of Wednesday domination on their own patch after goals from Jon Taylor and Richie Towell overturned Fernando Forestieri’s opener.
But, with play extending beyond the allotted eight minutes of additional time, Dominic Iorfa stole a point for Wednesday, with Forestieri sent off for receiving two yellow cards in the aftermath to the goal.
West Brom stayed in touch with the promotion-chasing top three as quickfire goals shortly before the interval from Hal Robson-Kanu and Jay Rodriguez clinched a 2-0 win at Aston Villa.
Dean Smith’s side had fought back from 3-0 down to snatch a point against Sheffield United the last time they played at Villa Park, but there was to be no remarkable comeback on Saturday.
Ipswich remain rooted to the foot of the standings, although Will Keane headed home in injury time to claim a 1-1 draw against Stoke, who had gone ahead in the 42nd minute at Portman Road through James McClean.
Preston and Nottingham Forest shared the spoils at Deepdale after a drab 0-0 draw.