Promotion hopefuls leave it late in the Championship

Cardiff, Norwich and Swansea all scored late goals today to boost their respective bids for automatic promotion from the npower Championship.

Cardiff, Norwich and Swansea all scored late goals today to boost their respective bids for automatic promotion from the npower Championship.

The top two, QPR and Nottingham Forest, meet at Loftus Road tomorrow but the chasing pack left it late to take advantage.

Third-placed Cardiff had to wait 85 minutes to break the deadlock at home to lowly Scunthorpe, Seyi Olofinjana heading the only goal from Jason Koumas’ cross.

Norwich, who kicked off in fourth, led Reading when Arsenal loanee Henri Lansbury tucked in a cross from Wes Hoolahan, but 10 minutes later a mistake from Elliott Ward allowed Jimmy Kebe to set up Shane Long for the equaliser.

Jem Karacan was sent off for the Royals after his wild tackle on David Fox sparked a mass melee and Norwich, as so often this season, grabbed a late winner as Grant Holt turned in Andrew Crofts’ cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Fifth-placed Swansea came from 3-1 down to edge out Middlesbrough 4-3. Winger Nathan Dyer cancelled out Marvin Emnes’ opener for the hosts but a header from Jonathan Grounds put Boro back into the lead.

Leroy Lita extended the margin but Scott Sinclair’s penalty brought Swansea back within one goal. Ashley Williams ended a penalty-box scramble by lashing home an equaliser and Craig Beattie’s injury-time half-volley earned Swansea a dramatic three points.

Leeds are in the hunt for back-to-back promotions and they beat Bristol City 2-0 as Robert Snodgrass scored his seventh goal of the season and then set up a goal for Max Gradel.

Burnley moved above Millwall and boosted their play-off push courtesy of a 3-1 win at Watford. An own goal from defender Dale Bennett put Burnley ahead but the lead lasted just five minutes before Danny Graham made it 1-1 when he slid in Marvin Sordell’s cross to take his tally for the campaign to 19.

Chris Eagles restored the Clarets’ lead after superb interplay with Chris Iwelumo, who then added a third 15 minutes from time when he headed in Eagles’ cross.

It could have been worse for Millwall as they trailed Sheffield United due to Daniel Bogdanovic’s 77th-minute penalty, but Kevin Lisbie equalised in the last minute to leave Sheffield United manager Micky Adams still looking for his first win since taking over seven matches ago.

In-form Hull made it seven league games without defeat as Anthony Gerrard earned them a 1-0 win over Preston and ensured a losing return to the KC Stadium for the Tigers’ former manager and captain, Phil Brown and Ian Ashbee.

Portsmouth ended a 10-match winless run with a 2-0 success at Doncaster. Dave Kitson headed his sixth goal of the season and Joel Ward wrapped up victory, though Pompey lost on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Jonathan Hogg to a late red card.

Struggling Crystal Palace went down 2-1 at Coventry. Richard Wood’s header put Coventry 1-0 up and Marlon King added a simple second 11 minutes from time before Steffen Iversen’s late consolation.

Jacob Mellis’ stoppage-time equaliser earned Barnsley a draw at home to Ipswich, for whom Jason Scotland had broken the deadlock in the 82nd minute.

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