Norwich lose to Luton as Watford and Reading gain ground at the top – The Guardian

Norwich lose to Luton as Watford and Reading gain ground at the top – The Guardian

Norwich slipped to their first defeat in almost two months as they were beaten 3-1 at Luton in the Championship on Wednesday night.

A goal from Matty Pearson and a penalty from James Collins secured victory for the Hatters at Kenilworth Road after Emi Buendía had cancelled out George Moncur’s opener. The game was one of six in the EFL on Wednesday to welcome back supporters, and those inside seemed to inspire the home side as they denied Norwich a way back into the contest.

“I was very emotional in terms of before kick-off, the ovation I got, I was very humbled and I thank the fans for that,” the Luton manager Nathan Jones said afterwards. “I’m really proud of the team, really proud of the fans, really proud of the club tonight … it definitely made a difference with having fans back.”

Watford and Reading failed to take full advantage of the Canaries’ slip-up – although they both moved within a point of the top – as they were held to draws by lowly Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

Watford had to settle for a goalless draw at the City Ground while the Royals’ clash with the 10-man Owls at Hillsborough ended 1-1. Callum Paterson put Wednesday ahead after 13 minutes but the dismissal of Liam Shaw on the half-hour hampered their chances. Lucas João levelled before the interval but the visitors were unable to force a winner.

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League One

Hull City left it late to beat Doncaster at home, with Tom Eaves (pictured, right) scoring an 87th-minute winner after Rovers had equalised with 10 minutes to go. Josh Magennis had put Grant McCann’s side in front midway through the first half as Hull moved four points clear of second-placed Lincoln.

Peterborough missed the chance to climb back into the top two as they were beaten 2-1 at Plough Lane, with Ryan Longman and Joe Piggott on target for Wimbledon. Charlton also lost ground in the promotion race as fans returned to the Valley, with Scott Fraser grabbing a 75th-minute winner for visiting MK Dons.

Shrewsbury also welcomed their fans back but were denied victory by a last-gasp Accrington equaliser. Shaun Whalley thought he had won it for the hosts in the 86th minute, but Ryan Cassidy struck for Stanley deep into stoppage time. Elsewhere, Vadaine Oliver scored in each half as Gillingham left Bristol Rovers in the drop zone with a 2-0 win. 

League Two

Carlisle fans returned to Brunton Park and saw their team climb to fifth with a 2-1 win over Salford City. Lewis Alessandra and Rhys Bennett were on target for the hosts, with Di’Shon Bernard’s late consolation doing little to spoil the mood in Cumbria.

Chris Beech’s side climbed above Cambridge, who fell to a surprise home defeat against Mansfield. Jamie Reid’s second-half winner helped the Stags climb out of the bottom two, above Stevenage who were denied an away win at Walsall by Josh Gordon’s late penalty.

Photograph: Lee Parker – CameraSport/CameraSport

Duncan Watmore struck twice as Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough claimed a 2-1 victory over Swansea at the Riverside Stadium. Watmore, who joined the club on a short-term deal last month, scored a deflected opener after 26 minutes and added a second midway through the second half. Swans substitute Yan Dhanda pulled one back 12 minutes from time but Boro held on.

Adam Armstrong hit a 90th-minute winner as Blackburn snatched a 2-1 victory over Millwall at Ewood Park. Harvey Elliott and Scott Malone had earlier traded goals in the first half. Blackburn and Boro now sit in ninth and 10th place, but both are just four points behind Norwich as the promotion race continues to tighten up.

Nick Powell made it an unhappy night for the fans admitted at Adams Park as he scored the only goal in Stoke’s 1-0 away win over Wycombe. Powell scored in the 72nd minute to leave Wycombe, with just two wins since earning promotion, in the bottom three.