How the Irish fared: Wes Hoolahan dazzles as Norwich go clear

Wes Hoolahan picked up where he left off on Saturday, following up a brilliant display in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova with another superb showing as Norwich beat Rotherham 3-1 to go top of the Championship table.

Hoolahan opened the scoring with an exquisite individual effort before making the second.

His manager, Alex Neil, was understandably delighted with his playmaker’s contribution.

“We’ve come to expect it from Wes,” Neil said. “He scored the first goal with a great bit of skill, he created the second goal for Cameron — we know what he’s capable of doing. When he’s on that type of form, he’s really difficult to handle.”

Referring to his solo goal, Hoolahan added: “It was a great pick-out by Alex Pritchard and I took a few nice touches. The defender was coming towards me so I went back inside and then the goalkeeper was down.”

While pleased with the result, Hoolahan was quick to stress the importance of consistency if Norwich are to seal an immediate return to the Premier League.

“You just want to churn out the wins week after week,” he said. “We want to put in good performances and now we’re top of the league. Hopefully, we can keep going.

“Turning up and winning isn’t going to happen in this league. You have to stay professional; we’ll work hard to grind out results. It’s a long way to go and we have to keep our focus.”

Ciaran Clark has looked a player reborn since his move to Newcastle and he maintained his fine early-season form on Saturday, scoring a towering header to put the Magpies on course for a 3-1 win over Brentford that lifted the Toon Army to second. Potential Ireland recruit Scott Hogan netted Brentford’s consolation, his eighth goal of the season.

Chris Hughton cut a frustrated figure after Brighton conceded a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 2-2 at home to Preston.

Hughton said: “The first goal we conceded was poor but I was more disappointed with the second goal because of the timing.

“We must not give them the opportunity. With games as tough as they are, there is no doubt that this is two points lost.”

Mick McCarthy’s misery at Ipswich continues after the goal-shy Tractor Boys drew 0-0 at Blackburn.

The result left Ipswich 17th, without a win in six games, and having now scored only four goals in their past 11 league matches.

However, McCarthy was keen to stress the positives.

He said: “The hardest thing in the game is putting the ball in the back of the net but if we play like that, more often than not, we’ll win games.”

In League One, Paddy Madden came off the bench to score twice as leaders Scunthorpe came from behind to beat MK Dons 2-1.

In League Two, James Berrett headed the winner as Grimsby beat Cambridge United 1-0, Connor Smith netted in Plymouth’s 2-2 draw with Portsmouth while Padraig Amond scored in Hartlepool’s 3-2 defeat to Carlisle.

And in the Scottish Premiership, Jonny Hayes opened the scoring as Aberdeen hammered Ross county 4-0.


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