DEAN SMITH GOT off to a winning start as Aston Villa manager, with Tammy Abraham’s early goal securing a 1-0 victory over Swansea City in the Championship.
Meanwhile, Leeds United missed out on the chance to regain top spot, with Marcelo Bielsa going down 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
West Brom suffered a similar fate, with the Baggies beaten 1-0 by Wigan Athletic, who bounced back from their thrashing at the hands of Preston North End last time out.
Ipswich Town now sit bottom after they lost to Queens Park Rangers, while Birmingham City made it nine games unbeaten by overcoming Stoke City.
New Villa boss Smith and assistant John Terry could hardly have asked for a better start to his maiden game in charge, with Abraham putting his side ahead eight minutes in at Villa Park.
Abraham played on loan at Swansea last term, and he got the better of his former club when he planted home a brilliant header from Ahmed El Mohamady’s cross.
It was a fourth goal in seven league games for Abraham, and the Chelsea loanee would have had another if not for a fine save from Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
Swansea had chances of their own – Bersant Celina and Jay Fulton passing up decent opportunities – but Villa held firm to secure the points in a fitting tribute to their late former owner Doug Ellis.
After a rampant start to the campaign, it is now just one win from five Championship games for Leeds, who are starting to feel the strain of playing at the intensity Bielsa requires.
Danny Graham’s header had Blackburn in front inside two minutes, and although Mateusz Klich restored parity on the stroke of half-time, the visitors – supported by close to 8,000 travelling fans – came undone in the second half.
It was a set-piece that proved the difference, Darragh Lenihan escaping his marker to head in and give the hosts’ victory.
The result leaves Leeds in fourth place, three points ahead of Blackburn.
West Brom would have moved top – temporarily at least – with a point or better, but Darren Moore’s side were unusually timid in front of goal as their seven-match unbeaten league run came to an end.
Josh Windass got the goal for Wigan, coolly slotting past the impressive Sam Johnstone with 16 minutes remaining.
And the Baggies’ misery was compounded late on, Livermore picking up a second yellow before Ahmed Hegazi squandered a late chance to snatch a draw.
Dean Gerken’s calamity 13 minutes into Saturday’s clash at Portman Road rather set the tone for a miserable day struggling Ipswich – the goalkeeper fumbling Luke Freeman’s corner into his own net.
Things never really improved, and QPR had their second when Tomer Hemed struck from the spot on the stroke of half-time.
One team that are not struggling for consistency are Birmingham, who saw off Stoke, managed by former Blues boss Gary Rowett, thanks to Che Adams’ 81st-minute strike, and City are now unbeaten in nine league matches, winning three of their last five.
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