Championship round-up: Glenn Murray strikes early to set Brighton on course

Guardian sport
Glenn Murray celebrates the goal that put Brighton on their way to a 3-1 win over Birmingham. Photograph: Henry Browne/Reuters

Brighton & Hove Albion continued what looks like a march to promotion by going top with a 3-1 win at home against Birmingham City. Glenn Murray got the Seagulls off to a perfect start inside two minutes; his strike partner Tomer Hemed doubled the lead early in the second half and Uwe Hünemeier made it three shortly afterwards. Che Adams scored a late consolation for the Blues.

Reading moved third after defeating relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers 3-1 at the Madejski Stadium, Yann Kermorgant scoring twice before the interval before Garath McCleary, following an Elliot Bennett response, wrapped things up.

Leeds United’s grip on a play-off place is looking more precarious after Brentford dealt them a second away defeat in the space of four days. Romaine Sawyers and Lasse Vibe gave the west London team a 2-0 win. Their cause was helped, though, by a 4-2 reverse for Fulham at Derby County. A hat-trick from David Nugent, added to by Johnny Russell, put the Cottagers – for whom Floyd Ayité had equalised in the first half – to the sword. A second goal from Ayité late on made little difference. Nugent also missed a penalty.

Sheffield Wednesday profited more directly from Fulham’s woes, leapfrogging them back into sixth with a straightforward 2-0 victory at relegated Rotherham. Two first-half goals by Steven Fletcher were enough.

There is still hope of a top-six finish at Preston, who thumped Bristol City 5-0 at Deepdale. Tom Barkhuizen, Tom Clarke and an Aiden McGeady penalty, followed by a double from Callum Robinson, did the damage for Simon Grayson’s team.

It is probably too late for Aston Villa to force their way into the play-offs but their 1-0 win over QPR at Villa Park, earned through Jonathan Kodjia’s early effort, was their seventh victory in eight games.

A fifth consecutive victory for Wolves, at home to Nottingham Forest, all but guarantees Championship football at Molineux next season. Nouha Dicko provided a 62nd-minute winner.

Ipswich may well have allayed similar fears after a goal from David McGoldrick and two from Freddie Sears gave them a 3-0 win over lowly Wigan. Barnsley and Cardiff fought out a goalless draw at Oakwell.

Charlton pay tribute to PC Keith Palmer

Players and policeman stand for a minute silence in tribute to PC Keith Palmer. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

League One club Charlton Athletic paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who was killed in the terrorist attack at Westminster last month, before their match with MK Dons at the Valley. PC Palmer was a Charlton season ticket holder and his seat, its colour changed from red to white, will lie empty for the rest of the season, bearing his warrant number. His brother, John Curtis, led the teams out before Tuesday night’s fixture, with 22 of PC Palmer’s colleagues following. Wreaths were laid on the pitch and Charlton players wore special commemorative shirts in honour of their late fan. The home supporters chanted “Stand up for Keith Palmer” following the tributes that proceeded a match the visitors won 2-0. Charlton have said they will give 50% of ticket proceeds from the game to PC Palmer’s family, while the players are to give up their match fees.

Charlton Athletic wore shirts in tribute to PC Keith Palmer during the match with MK Dons. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
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