João Pedro won and then converted a penalty to give Watford a 1-0 win over Preston that moved them up to third in the Championship table, while Stoke ended their winless run at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
Pedro was brought down by Tom Barkhuizen and stroked home the spot-kick to make it back-to-back league wins for Watford, who leapfrogged Swansea and are now three points behind Brentford. Preston’s struggles at home continue, picking up 14 points from 15 games at Deepdale and scoring just 11 goals.
Stoke notched their first win of 2021 when Steven Fletcher scrambled home the only goal of the game late on in a 1-0 victory over his former club Wednesday. Stoke looked set to make it 10 league games without a win until the 84th minute when the veteran striker turned in a knock-down from a corner to sink the club he left last summer. It was a relief for Michael O’Neill’s hosts who had dominated the second half and gone close though Joe Allen, Nick Powell and Fletcher.
Elsewhere, Andre Wisdom struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Derby pulled further clear of the Championship relegation zone with a 2-1 victory at bottom side Wycombe. Derby are now six points above the bottom three following a fifth win in seven matches for Wayne Rooney’s side.
Lucas João and Michael Morrison ensured Reading returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate. But for the home side it was a sixth successive defeat and another hammer blow to Dean Holden’s hopes of hanging onto his job as head coach.
Middlesbrough claimed their first home win since mid-December as first-half goals from Duncan Watmore and Ashley Fletcher secured a 2-1 comeback win over Huddersfield. An Isaac Mbenza free-kick fired the visitors into an early lead, but a superb solo goal from Watmore and a penalty from Fletcher ensured Boro were ahead at the interval.
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