Football League Daily – Rampant Forest down Derby

Nottingham Forest continued their surge up the npower Championship courtesy of a slender 1-0 victory against their bitter rivals Derby. Robert Earnshaw’s late strike sealed the win for Billy Davies’ men – their fifth in their last six league outings. Forest now sit in sixth place – just four points behind second-placed Cardiff – and with two games in hand. Cardiff’s 4-2 defeat of a spirited Watford side saw them oust their Welsh rivals Swansea to reclaim the second automatic promotion spot. The Bluebirds’ enviable strike force of Michael Chopra, Craig Bellamy and Jay Bothroyd all netted for a Cardiff side that has stuttered in recent weeks. With Aaron Ramsey and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas both joining on loan from Arsenal, Dave Jones’ side certainly has the personnel to secure promotion – the former Southampton and Wolves manager must now hope that his team can rediscover their early season consistency.

A late Wayne Routledge goal saw Q.P.R extend their lead at the top of the table to five points. The winger’s neat finish from the mercurial Adel Taarabt’s superb pass sealed a 2-1 victory over a Coventry side that had taken the lead through Marlon King. Neil Warnock’s men have a five point cushion over the chasing pack and, with the likes of Pascal Chimbonda, Ishmael Miller and Wayne Routledge having arrived this week, look odds on to secure promotion.

At the other end of the table, Preston snatched another late point with an 88th minute Billy Jones header. Phil Brown’s team remain bottom – six points adrift of Sheffield United – but their newly-instilled never-say-die attitude bodes well for the Lancashire side. Elsewhere, both Scunthorpe and Crystal Palace played out drab 0-0 draws against Burnley and Bristol City respectively, whilst 21st place Sheffield United were beaten yet again by promotion-chasing Norwich.

League One leaders Brighton suffered a rare defeat on Saturday as a Liam Feeney volley fired Bournemouth to a slender 1-0 victory in the top-of-the-table clash. Bournemouth now lie second in the table, just three points behind their south coast rivals. Free-scoring Southampton drew their second blank in a week, as they were defeated 2-0 by Tranmere – that win taking Tranmere out of the relegation places. Elsewhere, Darren Ferguson’s first home game back at Peterborough ended in success, as his side scored four second half goals to rout Hartlepool.

In League Two, leaders Chesterfield were held 0-0 by fourth-placed Shrewsbury, while Wycombe cemented their grasp on second place with a 1-0 defeat of third-placed Rotherham. Port Vale missed the opportunity to capitalise upon Rotherham’s defeat and leapfrog them into third place as they were beaten 1-0 by Cheltenham. Yet, surprisingly, it was the basement clash between Stockport and Lincoln City that provided the most entertainment for the neutral – an Ashley Grimes hat-trick saw Lincoln claw back ground on Stockport, who are now just two points adrift of the Hatters in 22nd place, with a sizeable five games in hand.

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