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Norwich restore lead at top of Championship as Sunderland continue push for promotion in League One

The Canaries sit 10 points clear at the top of the table.

Kieran Dowell (third right) celebrates scoring Norwich's second goal of the game.
Kieran Dowell (third right) celebrates scoring Norwich's second goal of the game.
Image: PA

NORWICH SET A new club record of nine consecutive wins following a 2-0 triumph at Nottingham Forest as they edged another step closer to a Premier League return, while in League One Sunderland moved to within two points of second-placed Peterborough with a 2-0 in at Accrington Stanley.

Norwich moved 10 points clear at the top of the Championship table following early first-half goals from the prolific Teemu Pukki and ex-Forest midfielder Kieran Dowell.

Victory saw Daniel Farke’s side eclipse the efforts of the club’s 2018-19 and 2009-10 teams, who both enjoyed eight-match winning streaks in all competitions.

Both of those squads finished their campaigns on top of the Championship and League One respectively and the class of 2020-21 will take some catching as they close in on a swift return to the Premier League.

Farke’s men stamped their authority on proceedings at the City Ground from the start, with Dowell drilling a 20-yard effort just wide and Max Aarons calling home goalkeeper Jordan Smith into action from a similar distance.

And it came as no surprise when Pukki struck his 11th goal of Norwich’s winning streak to give his side the lead after nine minutes.

He sidestepped a Tyler Blackett challenge 15 yards from goal after receiving Lukas Rupp’s pass and fired a low shot into Smith’s bottom-right corner for his 22nd goal of the campaign.

The visitors doubled their lead four minutes later when Dowell exchanged passes with Rupp before rifling a 20-yard attempt inside Smith’s left-hand upright.

Forest’s only first-half threat came from Luke Freeman corners, but neither Ryan Yates or Tobias Figueiredo could find the target from free headers.

Forest twice went close to reducing the deficit early in the second half.

First, nimble footwork by Freeman created space for a 15-yard shot that drifted inches wide, before Grabban was sent clear on goal by James Garner but delayed his shot long enough for Tim Krul to smother.

At the other end, Pukki ghosted past Figueiredo through the left channel and forced Smith into near-post action.

The Finnish forward also pulled a ball back from the byline that Cantwell scuffed tamely wide, while left-back Dimitris Giannoulis went closer with a low 20-yard drive.

Moments later, Scott McKenna’s wayward header for the hosts failed to trouble Krul as toothless Forest finished the game having only netted twice in their last six home games.  

Elsewhere, Jordy De Wijs scored a late winner for QPR as they came from two goals down to beat Millwall 3-2 in a lively London derby.

First-half goals from Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett put the visitors in command.

But Charlie Austin scored six minutes into the second half and Stefan Johansen equalised before Dutch defender De Wijs rose to head home Ilias Chair’s corner four minutes from time.

Lee Bowyer got his managerial reign at Birmingham City off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory against Reading at St Andrew’s.

Goals from the recalled Lukas Jutkiewicz and captain Harlee Dean gave the Blues only their fourth win in their last 20 Championship games, sandwiching Yakou Meite’s equaliser.

Victory for Birmingham was vital to ease their relegation fears and it ended play-off challenging Reading’s four-match unbeaten run.

Daryl Dike scored twice in the second half as Barnsley recorded their ninth win in 10 Championship games with a comfortable 3-1 victory at bottom club Wycombe.

Dike’s brace followed up Cauley Woodrow’s first-half penalty, with Uche Ikpeazu grabbing a late consolation for the hosts.

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The victory for Valerien Ismael’s side re-established their five-point lead over seventh-placed Bournemouth in the race for the play-offs, while the Chairboys were pushed a little bit nearer to relegation.

Sheffield Wednesday ended a run of seven straight Championship defeats but their 1-1 draw with Huddersfield saw them slip further into relegation trouble.

Josh Windass’ first-half goal had Wednesday on course for a rare win but they were pegged back by a Callum Paterson own goal with 18 minutes left at Hillsborough.

Meanwhile Blackburn’s winless home league run stretched to six games following an uneventful 0-0 draw with Bristol City.

In League One, Sunderland made it 10 games unbeaten in all competitions as they won on the road at Accrington Stanley. 

Ross Stewart put Sunderland ahead with a debut goal just after the hour mark and a Charlie Wyke strike wrapped up the win in the final five minutes.

Sunderland sit third in the League One table, two points behind Peterborough in the chase for automatic promotion.

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