Preston’s fine start to the Championship continued with their fifth straight victory, a 2-1 home win against Plymouth. Duane Holmes was straight out the blocks for the Lilywhites, scoring in the first minute, with Liam Millar doubling their lead going into the break and Ryan Hardie pulled one back for the Pilgrims, but three points meant Ryan Lowe’s side went back to the top of the table, replacing Leicester, 4-1 winners at Southampton on Friday.
Lowe praised Argyle as well as his own side, saying: “We knew they were going to have large parts of the ball, we didn’t do as well as we would have liked in the second half. It could have been 4-4 or 5-5, there were that many chances, we both did the right thing and tried to win.”
Ipswich stay third after securing back-to-back league victories with Conor Chaplin’s strike the difference against Sheffield Wednesday, who are still without a win this season, while Norwich sit fourth thanks to Jack Stacey’s goal which earned a 1-0 home win against Stoke. David Wagner said: “It was a tough game against a strong Stoke side with a lot of good individuals and we have come away with a deserved win. The only thing I can complain about is the way we managed the game in the final five minutes when we should have been taking the ball to the corner flag rather than going for a second goal.”
Sunderland also made it two successive league victories after coming from behind to beat 10-man QPR 3-1. Kenneth Paal put the hosts ahead but they were soon reduced to 10 men when Jack Colback was dismissed with a straight red card and Jack Clarke levelled the score going into half-time.
Dan Ballard then gave Sunderland the lead in the second half before Abdoullah Ba put the game to bed in the 81st minute, leaving the Black Cats tied on 10 points with Blackburn, who piled more misery on Middlesbrough with a 2-1 win. Sammie Szmodics’ double either side of half-time gave Blackburn the advantage with Matt Crooks scoring a consolation for Boro, who remain rock bottom.
It was a special day for Rovers, the club’s 5,000th league game. The Premier League-winning defender Colin Hendry and the 89-year-old Bryan Douglas, who played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals for England, were among the luminaries parading on the pitch before kick-off.
There was late drama at Vicarage Road as Watford overcame Birmingham, sparked by the visitors being reduced to 10 in the 88th minute. After Lee Buchanan was dismissed with a second yellow card, Mileta Rajovic and Ryan Andrews were able to take advantage with late goals for the Hornets, who move into 11th.
In the evening game, Cardiff ended their losing derby streak with a 2-0 home win against Swansea. Ollie Tanner wrote his name into the history of the fixture just seconds after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute with his first Cardiff goal and then won the penalty which Aaron Ramsey converted.
Huddersfield have back‑to‑back victories after goals from Josh Koroma and Sorba Thomas beat Rotherham, while Bristol City’s game with West Brom finished goalless.