Aston Villa strike late at Wednesday to close on Cardiff


Aston Villa ramped up the pressure on second-placed Cardiff in the Championship by striking twice in the final three minutes to win 4-2 at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. With Cardiff not playing until Sunday, at home to play-off hopefuls Bristol City, Villa knew a win would close the gap to one point. Villa were trailing at half-time to goals from Sean Clare and Lucas Joao either side of Lewis Grabban’s leveller.

But Glenn Whelan’s 67th-minute equaliser was added to late on by Conor Hourihane and Robert Snodgrass, from the penalty spot, to give Villa a first win in three games. Fourth-placed Derby drew 3-3 at Reading after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson netted a late equaliser for the hosts. Despite Kasey Palmer firing Derby into an early lead, Reading went ahead through goals from Liam Kelly and Mo Barrow.

County responded either side of half-time through Richard Keogh and Tom Lawrence, only for Bodvarsson to grab an equaliser 10 minutes from time before Chris Baird was sent off for the visitors. Callum McManaman denied Middlesbrough the chance to leapfrog Bristol City into the final playoff place as Sunderland struck late to salvage a point from a thrilling 3-3 draw in an ill-tempered Tees-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light.

Bottom of the table Sunderland led 1-0 at half-time after an opening 45 minutes which saw Joel Asoro score before Jake Clarke-Salter and Adama Traore were sent off to leave the contest 10-a-side. First-half substitute Jonny Williams levelled for Sunderland after Patrick Bamford and a Grant Leadbitter penalty put Boro ahead, but Bamford restored Boro’s lead in the 68th minute.

That was until McManaman netted the equalizer in the sixth minute of stoppage time with his first goal for two-and-a-half years. Sunderland remain four points adrift of safety despite defeats for fellow strugglers Birmingham and Burton. Oli McBurnie scored twice and missed a penalty as Barnsley moved out of the drop zone with a 2-0 victory at Birmingham.

Ben Marshall’s second-half goal condemned Burton to a 1-0 defeat at home to Millwall. Mustapha Carayol netted the winner as Preston’s play-off push stuttered with a 1-0 defeat to Ipswich at Deepdale. Liam Cooper’s first-half header gave Leeds a 1-0 home win over Brentford, earning Paul Heckingbottom his first victory as head coach, while Norwich and Bolton drew 0-0 at Carrow Road. Lee Tomlin netted twice as Nottingham Forest won 5-2 at QPR.


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