Irish quartet help Preston end wait for home win, Keane goal not enough for Wigan

It was a busy night of Championship action.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

WILL KEANE’S FIRST half goal was not enough for Wigan as Hull ended a run of five consecutive defeats with a 2-1 win at home on a busy night in the Championship. 

Watching from the stands was former Olympiacos boss Pedro Martins. He is reportedly set to replace Shota Arveladze, who was dismissed by owner Acun Ilicali last Friday, on a long-term contract.

Martins must have had slight consternation about the job in hand once Keane opened the scoring after 14 minutes for a Wigan side who had won their last four games on their travels.

But the hosts, who included Cyrus Christie in their lineup, were the better team in the first half and equalised seven minutes later through Dimitrios Pelkas.

Wigan could have moved into the play-offs with a positive result, but they left East Yorkshire with nothing when Oscar Estupinan powerfully headed home Callum Elder’s corner after 65 minutes. Irish international James McClean played all 90 minutes for Leam Richardson’s outfit. 

Robbie Brady, Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne and Sean Maguire all started as Preston earned their first home win of the season with a 1-0 victory over West Brom, sending the Baggies tumbling into the Championship relegation zone to pile further pressure on under-fire manager Steve Bruce.

Striker Emil Riis was the matchwinner, the Dane’s goal – only Preston’s fourth of the campaign – earning Ryan Lowe’s team a first victory in seven league matches at Deepdale this term.

Despite making six changes from the weekend defeat by Swansea, Bruce watched the visitors shoot themselves in the foot once more.

Preston had already tested Alex Palmer – the goalkeeper superbly beating away Sean Maguire’s close-range header – when Riis broke through.

Ali McCann did the leg work, surging clear of Irish midfielder Jayson Molumby in midfield to feed Alvaro Fernandez on the left.

Fernandez, the polished young Spaniard on loan from Manchester United, sent in a menacing low cross and it was Riis on the move, reducing West Brom’s statuesque backline to spectators, to convert.

Preston had created a succession of openings early on. Fernandez fed livewire Maguire for a 25-yard attempt that skipped wide from distance and Dara O’Shea blocked Robbie Brady’s goalbound effort.

Preston comfortably withstood West Brom’s unconvincing late rally for a ninth clean sheet this season to climb four places to 11th.

But for Bruce, who has seen five of the 12 Championship bosses he’s encountered since July lose their jobs, this was another wretched night.

Ryan Manning played a crucial role at Vicarage Road where Slaven Bilic’s first home game as Watford manager ended in defeat as Ben Cabango’s stoppage-time header earned Swansea a 2-1 victory. 

watford-v-swansea-city-sky-bet-championship-vicarage-road Source: PA

The defender headed home Manning’s free-kick eight minutes into a total of 20 added on after the officials’ communication equipment failed, leading to the players having to leave the pitch.

Ismaila Sarr fired Watford ahead but Olivier Ntcham levelled after half-time to lay the foundations for the delayed celebrations. 

Michael Obafemi looked to continue his good form before the break when Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann spilled Matt Grimes’ free-kick but the Irish striker was offside when he converted the rebound.

Matt Taylor’s reign as Rotherham manager began with a 1-1 draw against Millwall at the New York Stadium.

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Taylor was appointed as the Millers new boss on Tuesday after agreeing to leave League One Exeter and he was thrown straight into Championship action.

He enjoyed the perfect start as Dan Barlaser’s penalty inside the opening 10 minutes put his new side ahead.

But a brilliant goal by Zian Flemming – blasting into the top corner from 25 yards – denied him a winning start and earned Millwall a worthy point. Danny McNamara and Chiedozie Ogbene both played the entire game for Millwall and Rotherham respectively. 

Josh Cullen lined out against Ireland U21 Will Smallbone as Burnley surrendered a lead to draw 1-1 for the fourth time in five games. It was substitute Harry Clarke’s late header that earned Stoke City a point at Turf Moor.

The Clarets controlled the game for large periods and looked to have done enough to earn the victory thanks to Connor Roberts’ first goal of the season early in the second half.

But Alex Neil’s side always carried a threat and struck late when Tariqe Fosu was afforded space to pick out Clarke at the back post and he headed past Aro Muric.

Managerless Middlesbrough climbed out of the Championship’s relegation zone by beating Birmingham 1-0 in the first game since Chris Wilder’s departure.

With the search for Wilder’s replacement ongoing following his exit on Monday, striker Chuba Akpom powered in the winning goal in the 23rd minute to earn Boro victory for only the third time this season.

Birmingham forward Scott Hogan came close to scoring twice. Middlesbrough goalkeeper Zack Steffen stopped his effort after Anfernee Dijksteel’s poor back pass early on and he lifted a side-footed first-time effort over later as Birmingham looked to level.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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