Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Wednesday sink Newcastle, Neil under pressure

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PHOTO: Mirror.co.uk

Glenn Loovens condemned Championship leaders Newcastle to a 1-0 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Monday, while Norwich manager Alex Neil was pushed closer to the sack after losing 3-1 to Reading.

Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow and Wednesday counterpart Keiren Westwood produced a string of superb saves at St James’ Park, but Loovens’ second-half header strengthened the visitors’ grip on a play-off place.

Rafael Benitez’s side still lead Brighton by a point but could be replaced at the summit on Tuesday when the Seagulls host Queens Park Rangers on the south coast.

Promotion chasers Reading piled further pressure on Norwich and their under-fire Scottish coach as the slumping Canaries crashed to an eighth reverse in 10 matches.

Neil’s side were expected to push for an immediate return to the Premier League after last season’s relegation, but instead they are 15 points adrift of the top two following an alarming dip in form.

Even a play-off spot is far from certain as the Canaries lie in mid-table, seven points from the top six.

Such a dismal run has inevitably turned the spotlight on Neil, who led Norwich to promotion from the second tier in his first season but has since looked out of his depth.

Reading went ahead when Yann Kermorgant rose highest to head in Liam Kelly’s 37th-minute free-kick, but Nelson Oliveira equalised on the hour.

Norwich went down to 10 men eight minutes later when Jonny Howson handballed on the line and, although Kermorgant hit the crossbar with the resulting penalty, Garath McCleary headed in the rebound.

Callum Harriott then added a third in stoppage time as Reading cut the gap to second-placed Brighton to five points.

– Huddersfield, Leeds keep rolling –

Huddersfield made it four wins in a row and stayed fourth after coming from behind to beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Hildeberto Pereira’s neat chip against the run of play in the 25th minute put Forest in front, but David Wagner’s men hit back with two goals in seven minutes after the break.

Kasey Palmer’s header went in off the crossbar and Forest goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, before Michael Mancienne sliced Rajiv van la Parra’s cross into his own net. Mancienne’s misery was then compounded when he was sent off late on.

Leeds also maintained their impressive form with a 4-1 win at Preston.

It was an eventful first half at Deepdale where Kemar Roofe opened the scoring and then set up Hadi Sacko to put Leeds 2-0 up.

Preston quickly hit back through Marnick Vermijl, but Souleymane Doukara’s near-post shot crept in to restore the two-goal advantage.

The hosts then had Jermaine Beckford sent off against his former club in the second half before Pablo Hernandez added a late fourth.

Aston Villa secured a fifth straight home win in front of a bumper crowd at Villa Park, where 41,337 saw Burton beaten 2-1.

Rock-bottom Rotherham gave themselves a glimmer of hope with only their third win of the season after beating relegation rivals Wigan 3-2.

Elsewhere, Brentford drew 2-2 with Cardiff and Wolves enjoyed a 3-2 victory against Bristol City.

Barnsley defeated Blackburn 2-0 and Fulham won 2-0 at Ipswich.

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