Reading's Jeff Hendrick (left) and Andy Carroll celebrate Alamy Stock Photo

Good night for Irish stars Hendrick and Robinson in Championship, disappointment for Egan

The Dubliner scored a brilliant goal to help Reading earn a point.

IT WAS GOOD night for Irish stars Jeff Hendrick and Callum Robinson, as they grabbed a goal and an assist respectively in the Championship tonight, though John Egan’s promotion-chasing Sheffield United suffered a setback.

Norwich extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches with a hard-earned 1-1 Championship draw at Reading.

But the visitors missed the chance to go top of the table with a victory after leaders Sheffield United lost 1-0 at home to QPR.

In an even first half, Reading went closest to breaking the deadlock when Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul saved spectacularly from an Andy Carroll header.

Home midfielder Hendrick also shaved an upright, with Krul struggling, from a long-range effort.

Norwich went ahead in the 50th minute, when skipper Grant Hanley struck from a corner, but Reading equalised 10 minutes later through Hendrick.

Norwich had won seven and drawn one of their previous eight league outings, which included three-successive victories on the road, the latest a 1-0 win at Blackpool on Saturday.

The Norfolk side had scored in 12 consecutive league and cup fixtures, while Reading – with six wins in their past eight matches – remain in third place to sit one spot behind Norwich on the back of a 3-1 victory over strugglers Huddersfield on Saturday.

Norwich dictated the early exchanges, trying to build patiently from the back with a series of precise, if a shade laboured, passes.

Reading’s vigorous pressing tactics made sure that the visitors were unable to settle into any regular rhythm, with main striker Teemu Pukki often isolated.

As Norwich’s initial intent faded, Reading began to push forward with a greater sense of urgency and could have gone ahead in the 19th minute.

Winger Junior Hoilett, who is World Cup-bound with Canada, crossed deep from the right for Carroll to power in a header.

But Krul made a superb save to parry the ball to safety.

Soon after, Krul was beaten by an ambitious 25-yarder from Hendrick that grazed the outside of a post on its way behind.

Norwich gradually fought their way back into contention, with Hanley nodding over from a Liam Gibbs cross.

Hanley did much better, five minutes into the second period, when Norwich went in front.

Marcelino Nunez provided the corner on the right, Josh Sargent flicked the ball on and centre-back Hanley pounced decisively at the far post.

Reading appeared deflated, after all their hard work, but responded positively and drew level on the hour mark.

Good work by Hoilett gave Hendrick the space on the edge of the area and he beat Krul at the near post with a low shot.

Norwich replied swiftly, with Nunez seeing a shot defected over.

And defender Andrew Omobamidele could have snatched a late winner only to head wide from a Danel Sinani corner.

cardiff-uk-04th-oct-2022-callum-robinson-of-cardiff-city-c-tries-to-go-past-dominic-hyam-l-and-daniel-ayala-of-blackburn-rovers-r-efl-skybet-championship-match-cardiff-city-v-blackburn-rovCallum Robinson of Cardiff city (c) tries to go past Dominic Hyam (l) and Daniel Ayala of Blackburn Rovers.Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Elsewhere, Mark Harris gave Wales manager Rob Page a timely reminder of his goalscoring talent as he fired home a 20-yard screamer to earn Cardiff a 1-0 win against Blackburn.

But the game could have been turned on its head in the first minute of stoppage time had Cardiff goalkeeper Ryan Allsop not saved a penalty from George Hirst after he had conceded the spot-kick by bringing done Dominic Hyam six yards out.

It would have been an injustice had Rovers got back on level terms in a game in which they had 14 shots to five and conceded seven corners. But it still took a save down to his left by Allsop to finally save the day.

The Bluebirds had not won at home since 13 August and came into interim boss Mark Hudson’s second game in charge buoyed by a 1-1 draw at the weekend. It took a 90th-minute goal from Robinson to secure the point and he could have had a hatful in the first half.

Time after time the Republic of Ireland striker found himself in the box, but he either could not find the target or could not beat Thomas Kaminski in the Rovers goal.

It took until the 13th minute before either side created a chance and it was Robinson who benefitted from Sheyi Ojo’s good work to fire off a shot that deflected away for the first corner of the game. Callum O’Dowda’s header from the corner was just wide of the mark.

O’Dowda had another header from a corner won by Robinson after 20 minutes before Rovers had their one chance of the half when Tyrhys Dolan spotted Allsop out of his goal but lifted his 35-yard effort well over the crossbar as he tried to lob the home keeper.

Cardiff’s Ojo and Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics picked up yellow cards for tackles in consecutive moves before the home side had the best chance of the game. John Buckley brought down Andy Rinomhota as he drove towards goal and referee John Brooks adjudged the trip came inches outside the box.

Up stepped Robinson and his right-footed shot curled over the wall but just beyond the left-hand post to allow Blackburn to breathe another sigh of relief and go into the break on level terms.

Rovers had a golden opportunity to hit the front within three minutes of the restart after Dolan had skinned Niels Nkounkou down the right and crossed to Szmodics on the penalty spot, only to see him shoot tamely into the arms of Allsop.

It took a timely challenge from Daniel Ayala to stop Robinson in his tracks in the 65th minute, but nothing could stop Harris as he latched onto Robinson’s cross from the left to grab the winner.

sheffield-england-4th-october-2022-john-egan-of-sheffield-utd-gets-above-lyndon-dykes-of-qpr-during-the-sky-bet-championship-match-at-bramall-lane-sheffield-picture-credit-should-read-andrew-ya John Egan of Sheffield Utd gets above Lyndon Dykes of QPR. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In addition, Chris Willock’s sixth goal of the season earned QPR a fifth win in seven games as they beat Championship leaders Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane.

The Hoops had lost each of their last five meetings against United but Willock’s 51st-minute effort ended that sequence as the hosts suffered a first defeat in 10 matches.

Victory also meant fourth-placed QPR, for whom Irish defender Jimmy Dunne completed 90 minutes, closed the gap on the Championship leaders to three points.

Paul Heckingbottom’s men had earlier made a confident start with Chris Basham’s 20-yard half-volley calling Rangers keeper Seny Dieng into action.

Oliver Norwood also fired over from distance before a Tommy Doyle effort was routinely gathered by Dieng.

Just before the quarter-hour mark, a more threatening Doyle strike whistled wide of the away goal from 30 yards out.

Having withstood the early pressure, QPR then began to make their presence felt with captain Ilias Chair brilliantly ghosting past John Egan and Basham before forcing a near-post save from Wes Foderingham in the 25th minute.

The Blades were soon back on the offensive, however, with Egan dragging a volley across the face of goal and George Baldock’s far-post header bouncing wide following a Jayden Bogle cross.

Iliman Ndiaye and Bogle then both created chances for themselves after drifting into the box from the left flank – the former guided his 10-yard shot just past the far post and the latter’s firm drive punched away by Dieng.

On the stroke of half-time, Bogle also sliced an edge-of-the-box opportunity well off target.

The Londoners went on to start the second period with greater purpose, as Tyler Roberts volleyed over from the edge of the box before Willock made the breakthrough.

After receiving a square pass from Ethan Laird through the right channel, the former England under-20 international beat Foderingham from a narrow angle at his near post after firing in between the ex-Swindon keeper’s legs.

In response, a curling Norwood shot was excellently pushed around his left-hand upright by Dieng but QPR were back on the front foot moments later with Foderingham saving a Lyndon Dykes drive with his legs and Roberts’ goal-bound follow-up effort deflecting narrowly wide.

Looking for attacking inspiration, Heckingbottom hailed Billy Sharp off the bench and the veteran striker headed over shortly afterwards.

Egan also cleared the crossbar after leaping highest to meet Norwood’s corner and further headers from Ndiaye and Rhian Brewster also missed the target as did a powerful strike from distance by Norwood.

Sander Berge saw a 20-yard attempt blocked by the determined visitors defence, who survived strong appeals for a home penalty in the third minute of stoppage time when Andre Dozzell grabbed a good handful of the Norwegian midfielder’s shirt.

Finally, in League One, Ireland U21 international Finn Azaz made a positive impact — the attacking midfielder registered an assist in Plymouth’s 2-1 victory over fellow promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday.

The win consolidated the hosts’ place at the top of the table.

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

Press Association
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