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Canaries soar, Derby drop - Championship Review

Monday 26th September 2016
It is all change at both ends of the Championship after a string of results that saw both the playoffs and the relegation zone shaken up.

The bottom of the league was the most likely to have a different look come the end of play on matchday nine as the six sides at the foot of the table were playing each other. Following their 1-0 defeat to Preston on Friday night, Wigan knew they would occupy the bottom spot if any of the sides below them picked up points on Saturday. Both Blackburn and Cardiff obliged.

On a ground where the home side had only lost once in their previous 12 games the Bluebirds came from behind to stun Rotherham in the final 17 minutes, thanks to a double from Rickie Lambert.

Cardiff entered the weekend on a four-game losing streak and without a league win since mid-August, while the Millers had slipped into the bottom three after their defeat to Blackburn but they managed to turn their form around and reverse the lost they suffered the last time these two met.

The homes side did go into the lead through Isaiah Brown's goal but the former Liverpool striker found the net for the first time since his deadline day move, initially from Peter Whittingham's cross before his deflected effort sealed the three points for the visitors and a 2-1 win.

Derby continued their slide with their sixth winless game on the spin as Blackburn notched back-to-back wins, moving up to 20th in the process.

The goal-shy Rams did take the lead, sparking three goals in a four-minute spell.

Matej Vydra scored low into the net for the first home goal of the campaign for Derby but the lively Marvin Emnes levelled before Danny Graham secured a big win for Owen Coyle's side.

Earlier in the game, Ben Marshall missed a penalty for the away side but it didn't come back to haunt Rovers as they managed to claim their first victory at Derby since December 2007. Things get no easier for Derby as they face Cardiff in midweek in a game that has taken on greater significance after this round of matches.

At the other end of the division, Norwich have taken top spot after beating Burton 3-1 at Carrow Road in what was the first competitive fixture between the two clubs.

The Brewers showed stubborn resolve, which finally broke after Alex Flanagan received his second yellow card for handling in the area allowing the Canaries to add comfort to the scoreline despite the missed penalty by Robbie Brady.

Both fullbacks managed to get on the scoresheet for the home side as Martin Olsson scored just his second Norwich goal in two years, while Ivo Pinto added the gloss in the dying embers with his first goal for the club. It was not all the way of the home side however as Lucas Akins bundled in just after half time but the parity lasted just 60 seconds as the impressive Jacob Murphy notched his fifth of the season.

They had the chance to reach the summit of the table after the previous leaders, Huddersfield, fell by a single goal to Jaap Stam's Reading side that vaulted up to fourth after the win.

Reading had their job made easier thanks to the poor decision making of Rajiv Van La Parra. The Huddersfield winger was sent off after less than half an hour for two bookable offences, the second given for showing dissent to referee James Linington. It was just 15 minutes later that the Royals took the lead.

Dutch midfielder Roy Beerens scored with a deflected shot that proved to be the only goal of the game, despite Nakhi Wells coming close to salvaging a point late on for the Terriers.

Reading are now unbeaten in six Championship games after starting slowly and sit just two points back on Huddersfield ahead of the midweek round of games.

Those week night fixtures throw up some big games as Norwich make the trip north to face Newcastle, who drew 1-1 with Villa, as well as the Derby v Cardiff game at the bottom of the league.

The Championship is taking shape as the games come thick and fast.
Matt Howes
Sports writer. Norwich City fan. If you want to give me feedback or talk about anything I have written then you can find me on Twitter @matthowes9 You can check out my other work on my online portfolio www.matthowesmedia.com for my musings on other sports.

Total articles: 12

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