Brentford, Watford and Swansea keep up promotion pace, Cardiff into top six


Brentford ended their three-game losing run in the Championship with a 3-0 win against struggling Sheffield Wednesday. Goals from Bryan Mbeumo, Saman Ghoddos and Mads Bech Sørensen ensured the Bees stayed second in the table, with the gap to the leaders Norwich back down to seven points.

The Makeshift centre-forward Mbeumo gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half when he turned Sergi Canós’s wayward shot home from close range. Mbeumo turned provider late in the second half, slipping a pass to Ghoddos who angled a first-time shot across the Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith.

The second goal was not without controversy, with Wednesday down to 10 men following Henrik Dalsgaard’s foul on Fisayo Dele-Bashiru. Ghoddos added an assist seven minutes from time with a pinpoint free-kick which Sørensen headed in off the far post.

Thomas Frank, the Brentford head coach, praised his side’s improved defensive display after their first clean sheet for nine games. “The most important thing was that we defended well and took the initiative again,” Frank said. “We did that and you could see the confidence return.”

Watford stay level on points with Brentford after holding on to beat Blackburn 3-2 at Ewood Park – a fourth league victory in a row for Xisco Muñoz’s side, and a fifth defeat on the bounce for Rovers.

Ismaïla Sarr celebrates his goal at Ewood Park.
Ismaïla Sarr celebrates his goal at Ewood Park. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

João Pedro’s deft lob put the visitors ahead before Ismaïla Sarr tapped in from close range after the Rovers keeper Thomas Kaminski had saved Pedro’s deflected shot. Harvey Elliott pulled one back just before half-time, finding the roof of the net from a narrow angle.

Tony Mowbray’s team emerged for the second half with renewed hope, but the Hornets regained control on the hour through Ken Sema’s pinpoint finish. Watford had chances to make the game safe before Ben Brereton’s late goal ensured a nervy finale.

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League Two: Southend shock Forest Green

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Southend climbed off the bottom of League Two with an unexpected 3-1 win at promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers. Defender Shaun Hobson volleyed the visitors in front after 20 minutes, with Tim Dieng curling home their second goal 10 minutes after half time. The Shrimpers’ win was capped by Nathan Ferguson’s long-range thunderbolt on 70 minutes, with Jamile Matt netting a late consolation. 

Southend are now just six points behind struggling Essex rivals Colchester, who have appointed their former player, Wayne Brown, as interim manager after sacking Steve Ball. Brown is manager of non-league Maldon & Tiptree, whose season has been suspended by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Wednesday’s other game, Newport moved back into the play-off places with a 1-0 win at Walsall. Joss Labadie’s header earned the Exiles just their second victory in 13 league games.

Swansea edged to a 1-0 home win against Coventry to stay a point behind Brentford and Watford with two games in hand. Ben Cabango helped Steve Cooper’s side to get back to winning ways, the Welsh defender meeting Conor Hourihane’s corner with a towering header in the 54th minute.

Coventry, who beat Brentford 2-0 in their last outing, made life difficult for their opponents and appealed for a first-half penalty when Calum O’Hare went over in the Swansea area. The hosts struggled to play their usual game before Cabango made the breakthrough, and Kyle McFadzean almost grabbed an equaliser from an 87th-minute free kick.

Kieffer Moore celebrates after scoring Cardiff’s second goal from the penalty spot.
Kieffer Moore celebrates after scoring Cardiff’s second goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: Cardiff City FC/Getty Images

Cardiff continued their remarkable resurgence under Mick McCarthy, winning 2-1 at Bournemouth to replace the Cherries in the play-off places. When McCarthy was appointed last month, Cardiff were 15th in the table, 13 points behind Bournemouth.

The Bluebirds captain, Sean Morrison, put Cardiff ahead with a superb header before Kieffer Moore’s penalty doubled the visitors’ advantage before half-time. McCarthy’s side held on for a sixth successive league win despite Shane Long’s second-half header.

“The lads have been brilliant and have earned their position in the table with wins they have had,” McCarthy said after the game. “They will all be chasing us now … everybody will want to beat us. We won’t want to drop out of the top six.”

Barnsley boosted their play-off hopes and leapfrogged Stoke City with a 2-0 win at Oakwell. Callum Styles’s early 25-yard rocket put the hosts ahead, with Daryl Dike sealing a fourth consecutive league victory for Valérien Ismaël’s side. In Wednesday’s other match, Preston played out a goalless draw with QPR.



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