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Ian Hodgson James Collins celebrates after his goal for Luton.
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Ireland's Collins scores penalty in Luton defeat as leaders West Brom rally to victory
Elsewhere, Leeds played out a draw against Cardiff while Barnsley edged out an eight-goal thriller.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION went two points clear at the summit of the Championship table while Republic of Ireland’s James Collins slotted a penalty for Luton Town in their defeat to Preston North End.

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic praised Charlie Austin’s class after his side came from behind twice to win 3-2 away to Midlands rivals Birminghham.

Lukas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean scored for Birmingham but Grady Diangana and Austin levelled, before Austin’s winner nine minutes from time.

“The first goal is pure class, the second goal, some may say it was an easy finish, but his movement to get away from the defender is class,” said Bilic after the win.

“It is great when your strikers are scoring. Charlie has scored six in five.”

Preston scored a late winner to clinch a 2-1 win over Luton, with Collins getting on the scoresheet in the first half.

Paul Gallagher netted for Preston after just five minutes but Collins responded for the visitors from a spot-kick just before half-time.

But it was Preston who took all the spoils as substitute Jayden Stockley secured the win with a goal on 84 minutes following a scramble in the goalmouth. 

Leeds were on course to join West Brom on 49 points but squandered a 3-0 lead in a 3-3 draw at home to Cardiff.

Leeds were in control thanks to Helder Costa’s goal and two from Patrick Bamford, including a penalty.

But Lee Tomlin pulled one back before Sean Morrison cut the deficit further for the Welsh side.

Morrison saw red four minutes from time but Robert Glatzel still managed to equalise for Cardiff in the 88th minute.

“It’s a hard one because Leeds were obviously better than us and as bad as we were at times defensively to give away really poor goals, I can’t do anything but praise my players,” said Cardiff manager Neil Harris.

One consolation for Leeds is that they are 10 points clear of third-placed Preston, with only the top two at the end of the regular season guaranteed automatic promotion to the lucrative Premier League.

Brentford moved into fourth place with a 1-0 win over Fulham in a west London derby after Bryan Mbuemo’s goal condemned the Cottagers to a third straight defeat.

Jordan Rhodes scored a first-half hat-trick, his first goals since January, as Sheffield Wednesday continued to climb up the table with a 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest.

Steven Fletcher added a fourth on the stroke of half-time.

Bristol City were beaten 2-0 at home by Blackburn.

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Middlesbrough were left just above the relegation zone after losing 3-1 at Swansea in a match where they finished with nine men after substitute Marcus Browne and Paddy McNair both saw red.

Bottom of the table Barnsley recorded just their third win this season with a 5-3 victory over QPR while relegation rivals Wigan managed a point in a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.

Meanwhile, Stoke and Reading played out a scoreless draw, Derby lost 1-0 at home to Millwall and Hull scored late on to share the points in a 2-2 draw at Charlton.

Championship Results:

Birmingham 2-3 West Brom

Barnsley 5-3 QPR

Brentford 1-0 Fulham 

Bristol City 0-2 Blackburn

Derby 0-1 Millwall 

Leeds 3-3 Cardiff

Nottingham Forest 0-4 Sheffield Wednesday

Preston 2-1 Luton 

Stoke 0-0 Reading

Swansea 3-1 Middlesbrough

Wigan 1-1 Huddersfield

- © AFP 2019

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