After a two-week international break, the NPower Championship returned at the weekend. In a strange round of action, 9 0f the top 10 failed to win, Forest continued to struggle, whilst Leeds finally hit some form. All these and more are covered in TheHardTacklea��s Top 6 highlights of Round 11 of the Championship.


Derby-Southampton ends in a draw

The big game of the weekend saw leaders Southampton travel to third-placed Derby County.A�Nigel Clougha��s home side had the best possible start when Theo Robinson netted after Ben Daviesa�� 3rd minute shot had been saved.

But the Saints showed why they are the team to beat so far the season, as they fought their way back into the match. Brazilian midfielder Guly Do Prado twice went close, before Jose Fonte saw a header cleared off the line.

In the second-half, Nigel Adkinsa�� table-toppers continued to pepper the home goal, with Rams keeper Fraser Fielding in inspired form. He saved well from Southamptona��s leading goalscorer Rickie Lambert, but could do nothing when the same man fired-in on the hour mark. It was Lamberta��s eleventhA�goal of the season making him one of the main reasons for Southamptona��s good start.

A nasty head injury to Derby midfielder Steve Davies saw a lengthy period of stoppage time, but neither side could muster a winning goal.

Saints couldn't crack Derby


Boro remain unbeaten, but fail to win again

The only unbeaten side left in the division, Middlesbrough started the weekend in 2nd place, two points behind Southampton.A�On Saturday, after three successive 0-0 draws, Boro hosted Kenny Jacketta��s struggling Millwall side.

When Scottish midfielder Barry Robson fired home from 25 yards midway through the first-half, it looked as if Boro would finally get back to winning ways. Scott Macdonald hit the Millwall post as the Teesiders looked for a vital second.

However, ten minutes into the second-half, the gritty Lions drew level when influential midfielder Liam Trotter headed home. The away side, desperate for a point after a torrid start to the season, defended well, with Boro only really threatening when Faris Haroun hit the post deep into stoppage time.

Despite the result taking Boroa��s unbeaten start to 11 games, their best start to a season since 1899, they will be bitterly disappointed with yet another failure to win at home. For Millwall, the point moves the South London side out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

Hammers take advantage to move up the table

With the three sides directly above them at the start of play all drawing, West Ham United took full advantage to move into second place.

Blackpool were the visitors to Upton Park and having won their previous game 5-0 at home to Bristol City, the Seasiders started brightly knocking the ball around confidently. However, the game swung in the Hammers favour when former Valencia and Aston Villa striker John Carew rose to head home Julien Fauberta��s inviting cross.

From then on it was all West Ham. Sam Baldock, the young striker signed from MK Dons earlier this season, nearly made it two, before Carew was twice denied by Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks.

Two minutes after the breakthrough, it was two, as Baldock broke clear to slot the ball past Gilks. Four minutes later, he was at it again, when Carew capitalised on a defensive mistake to tee Baldock up for a simple tap-in.

To cap a remarkable first ten minutes of the second-half, Welsh international Jack Collisona��s deflected volley made it four on 55 minutes. Later in the game, Baldock was denied a first Hammersa�� hat-trick by another excellent Gilksa�� save.

The win moves the Hammers two points behind leaders Southampton, whom they face at St Marya��s Stadium on Tuesday night.

Happier times beckon for Sam Allardyce?


Leeds hit form to halt Saundersa�� Donny revival

Friday night saw a televised Yorkshire derby as Leeds United travelled to the Keepmoat Stadium to face Doncaster Rovers.

Since parting company with manager Sean Oa��Driscoll last month, new boss Dean Saunders had lead Rovers to an impressive 7 points from 3 games, leading them out of the relegation zone.

But it was Simon Graysona��s Leeds who hit form in this duel, with Danny Pugh giving the Whites the lead on 20 minutes, when he headed past former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who was beginning a loan period from Wigan Athletic.

Prolific striker Ross McCormack made it two early in the second half, when he acrobatically scored an overhead kick. Then defender Tom Rees made it three when he headed home from a corner.

The win moves Leeds up to 7th and was a perfect present for manager Simon Graysona��s 150th game in charge at Elland Road.

Birmingham slowly improving

After a slow start to life in the Championship, last yeara��s Carling Cup winners are slowly adjusting to life in English footballa��s second tier.

After amassing 11 points from 8 games, Brum entertained Leicester City on Sunday, who had gone seven matches unbeaten and had not conceded a goal for over 400 minutes.

However, an impressive home performance saw Marlon King score a penalty early in the second half, with Chris Wood make the game safe with six minutes to go.

Sandwiched in between Leicester central defender Matt Millsa�� received his marching orders to compound a bad day at the office for Sven Goran-Erikssona��s men.

The win lifts Chris Hughtona��s men into 15th place on 14 points, but after their Europa League excursions, the Blues have two games in hand on most of their rivals. Maximum points in those games would move them into 4th place, turning a slow start into a good one.

Change of manager doesna��t change fortunes

Following the last set of Championship fixtures, both Nottingham Forest and Bristol City parted company with their managers. However, this weekend both suffered another defeat, proving a change of manager isna��t always the best thing to do.

Forest travelled to midlands rivals Coventry City, with Steve Cotterill watching on from the stands ahead of his appointment as manager. He will be disappointed with what he witnessed, with the home side deservedly taking all three points, thanks to Lukas Jutkiewicza�� 57th minute header.

The win leaves Forest 2nd from bottom. Below Forest are Bristol City, who after sacking Keith Millen two weeks ago, fell to a 2-1 home defeat to Peterborough United.

A stunning Lee Tomlin goal added to George Boyda��s opener to put Posh 2-0 up. Marvin Elliott set-up a frantic finish when he pulled a goal back on 82 minutes, but manager-less City couldna��t find an equaliser, so remain rooted to the foot of the table.


Round 11 Results:

Birmingham City 2-0 Leicester City

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Hull City

Bristol City 1-2 Peterborough United

Burnley 0-1 Reading

Cardiff City 2-2 Ipswich Town

Coventry City 1-0 Nottingham Forest

Derby County 1-1 Southampton

Doncaster Rovers 0-3 Leeds United

Middlesbrough 1-1 Millwall

Portsmouth 2-0 Barnsley

Watford 0-2 Crystal Palace

West Ham United 4-0 Blackpool

Click Here to view the latest Championship table


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