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Watford take big step towards Premier League, setback for Swansea and Derby lose again

Dan Gosling hit the winner at Carrow Road.

Image: PA

WATFORD TOOK A giant step towards automatic promotion from the Championship when they beat leaders Norwich 1-0 in a top of the table clash at Carrow Road.

The Hornets bounced back from a shock defeat at neighbours Luton in the best possible fashion as Dan Gosling’s second-half goal earned them a priceless victory.

It took them to within five points of their promoted hosts, but more importantly nine clear of third-placed Swansea.

For Norwich it was a second home defeat in four days since booking a place in the Premier League, but they are still well placed to clinch the title with just three matches to play.

With Ismaila Sarr posing a constant threat down the right flank, Watford had by far the better of the first half and would have been ahead but for a combination of poor finishing and some excellent goalkeeping from Tim Krul.

The Hornets deservedly took the lead on 57 minutes. An attack down the right saw the ball reach Joao Pedro just inside the box and the striker did well to pick out an unmarked Gosling who had no trouble side-footing home at the back post.

Watford could clinch promotion on Saturday if they beat Millwall at Vicarage Road .

Swansea’s automatic promotion hopes all but evaporated as QPR claimed a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium.

Lyndon Dykes drove home his 12th goal of the season in the final minute after being set up by substitute Albert Adomah.

Steve Cooper’s side now trail second-placed Watford  by nine points with three rounds of fixtures remaining, while the Hornets’ goal difference is a vastly superior 14.

Brentford failed to keep the pressure on Watford with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff in another blow to their automatic promotion hopes.

Keiffer Moore gave the Bluebirds the lead from the spot just before the hour but Tariqe Fosu levelled minutes later after an Alex Smithies howler.

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Derby’s chances of Championship survival were dealt another blow after they suffered a fourth straight loss with a 3-0 defeat away at Preston.

Wayne Rooney’s side are just four points above the bottom three, with relegation rivals Rotherham having three games in hand on the Rams, after goals from Ben Whiteman, Ched Evans and Ryan Ledson edged Preston up to 14th.

In the lower leagues there were Irish goalscorers as Ronan Curtis netted in Portsmouth’s 3-1 defeat to Swindon Town in League One while Eoin Doyle scored in Bolton’s 1-0 win over Carlisle as they stay third in League Two.

Championship Results

  • Brentford 1-1 Cardiff City
  • Norwich City 0-1 Watford
  • Preston 3-0 Derby County
  • Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
  • Swansea City 0-1 QPR

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