Blades blunt Baggies to go top

Sheffield United knocked West Brom off the First Division summit with a 2-0 victory in the battle of the top two at The Hawthorns.

Sheffield United knocked West Brom off the First Division summit with a 2-0 victory in the battle of the top two at The Hawthorns.

Goals from Michael Tonge and Ashley Ward proved enough for the Blades to win what had been billed as a grudge match.

Bad blood has existed between the two clubs since a game two seasons ago was abandoned when United had fewer than seven players on the field.

Tonight it was United who took the early initiative when Tonge opened the scoring after nine minutes and Ward added a second before the interval.

Geoff Horsfield scored twice in the second half as Wigan also moved above the Baggies to take second place.

Gifton Noel-Williams had put Stoke on course for an unlikely victory when he side-footed home to give the visitors the lead against the run of play after 40 minutes at the JJB Stadium.

But Wigan hit back with former Birmingham forward Horsfield turning the game with strikes after 56 and 69 minutes.

Ipswich continued their rise up the table with a convincing 6-1 victory over Burnley at Portman Road.

Joe Royle’s side had the game wrapped up by half-time as they raced ahead with two goals from Pablo Counago, further efforts from Jermaine Wright and Chris Bart-Williams and a Richard Chaplow own goal.

Delroy Facey stemmed the tide by pulling one back after the break, but Shefki Kuqi wrapped up a good night’s work in the last minute.

Crewe scored their first goals at Gresty Road for five games, but they were not enough to see off Bradford.

Northern Ireland international Steve Jones ended the long wait when he fired home after 46 minutes and Dean Ashton doubled the lead three minutes later.

But in an eventful second half, Paul Evans pulled one back with an acrobatic 55th-minute effort and Ben Muirhead earned the Bantams a 2-2 draw three minutes from time.

Rotherham fought back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Two goals in the first half from Marlon Harewood looked to have given Forest a comfortable advantage, but the Millers powered back after the break.

Darren Byfield got the visitors back into the game after 51 minutes before Martin Butler applied the finishing touches to an equaliser five minutes later.

Watford and Walsall also had to settle for a point apiece after a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

Simon Osborn put the Saddlers in front five minutes before half-time, but the struggling Hornets got back on terms when Walsall’s Chris Baird deflected the ball into his own net.

Preston earned a 1-0 win over Millwall with a solitary effort from Paul McKenna six minutes into the second half.

Steve Sidwell got keeper Marcus Hahnemann off the hook when he struck Reading’s winner in their 2-1 win against Gillingham with five minutes to spare.

A bad error by Hahnemann had led to Marlon King cancelling out Scott Murray’s opener but Sidwell responded to get new boss Steve Coppell off to a winning start at the Madejski Stadium.

Luciano Zavagno poked the ball home in a goalmouth scramble to secure a 1-1 draw for Derby at Crystal Palace.

Danny Butterfield had given the Eagles the lead on the stroke of half-time. Palace’s Darren Powell was sent off for a second bookable offence in the final minute.

In the night’s other match, Sunderland and Cardiff fought out a tame goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.

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