Championship roundup: André Ayew strikes again as Swansea go second

Goals from André Ayew and Jamal Lowe gave promotion-chasing Swansea an impressive 2-0 Championship victory and increased the pressure on the QPR manager, Mark Warburton.

Rangers have now gone eight matches without a win, with Warburton’s position coming under real scrutiny. There are no such problems for Swansea’s Steve Cooper, though, whose side move to second in the table.

Ayew put the visitors ahead in bizarre fashion a minute before half-time. Jake Bidwell’s header from Connor Roberts’s right-wing cross appeared to be going wide but defender Yoann Barbet headed against the woodwork, leaving goalkeeper Seny Dieng stranded, and Ayew with an open goal.

Rangers fell further behind after being caught on the counterattack nine minutes into the second half. Lowe raced on to Matt Grimes’s ball forward and slotted past Dieng for his fourth goal in four games.

Reading reignited their play‑off push with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Luton. Tom McIntyre gave them an early lead with a precise first-time finish, and the Benfica loanee Alfa Semedo added a second goal just before the break.

Luton improved after the interval and Kazenga LuaLua scored a late consolation from long range. The win was a morale boost for Reading who, after topping the table in November, had won three of their past 12 matches and lost three in four to slip out of the play-off places.

Famara Diédhiou came off the bench to fire a spectacular late winner as Bristol City edged out bottom-placed Wycombe 2-1 at Ashton Gate. The hosts took a 23rd-minute lead when Callum O’Dowda tricked his way to the by-line on the left and delivered a perfect far-post cross for Chris Martin to score with a downward header.

Wycombe refused to lie down and Garath McCleary equalised after 68 minutes with a right-foot shot from inside the area that took a deflection off the City substitute Adrian Mariappa to wrong-foot goalkeeper Dan Bentley. Diedhiou then proved the match-winner when blasting an unstoppable right-foot shot past Ryan Allsop from just inside a crowded area with three minutes remaining.

Michal Helik struck deep into stoppage time to help Barnsley come from behind to beat Huddersfield 2-1 at Oakwell. The visitors went ahead inside the first quarter of an hour with a goal from Rarmani Edmonds-Green but the home side drew level eight minutes later through Helik – who then struck the winner in added time.

Lincoln City moved to the top of the table with a thumping 5-1 win over last-place Burton Albion. The Imps rushed into a two-goal lead within seven minutes through Remy Howarth and Brennan Johnson. Anthony Scully added a third after the break, before Johnson doubled his tally. Kane Hemmings pulled one back but Harry Anderson soon restored the four-goal lead to complete the win.

Wigan sit one place and three points above Burton after they earned a draw against Shrewsbury. Will Keane gave the Latics the lead from the penalty spot, only for Shaun Whalley to equalise for the visitors at the DW Stadium. 

Wes Burns’ opener for Fleetwood was cancelled out by Crewe’s Mikael Mandron just after the hour mark as the points were shared at Gresty Road. Luke Jephcott netted twice for Plymouth at Charlton but it was not enough for victory, as Chris Gunter and Marcus Maddison pulled the Addicks levelled. 

Ben Gladwin smashed a screamer into the top corner in added time in the first half to set MK Dons up for a 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers, with Scott Fraser securing the result.  Things were all but over by the 22nd minute at the Kassam Stadium as Jordan Obita and then Matty Taylor got the better of AFC Wimbledon goalkeeper Connal Trueman in Oxford United’s 2-0 triumph.

The teams who now occupy second to fifth: Portsmouth, Hull, Doncaster and Peterborough all saw their games postponed for reasons related to Covid-19, as six matches were called off.

Derby’s unbeaten run under interim manager Wayne Rooney was ended when Preston scored in stoppage time to snatch a 1-0 win at Pride Park. Alan Browne curled in a superb finish to shatter the home side, who had played for 70 minutes with 10 men after striker Martyn Waghorn was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on the Preston captain.

Joe Rothwell’s superb solo goal rescued a point for Blackburn in a 1-1 draw against struggling Sheffield Wednesday. The midfielder collected the ball 40 yards from goal in the 76th minute and weaved into the area before slotting home, cancelling out a stunning 41st-minute strike by Adam Reach.

Bolton recovered from going three goals down to draw 3-3 at third-placed Carlisle. Aaron Hayden and Lewis Alessandra scored before seven minutes had passed, and when Omari Patrick added a third the points looked destined to stay at Brunton Park. Bolton, however, had other ideas as George Thomason reduced the deficit just before the break. The score stayed the same until the 86th minute when Nathan Delfouneso pulled another back, before Peter Kioso, who was later sent off, levelled things. 

Neither of the sides above Carlisle could take advantage as leaders Newport were held by Crawley, while Forest Green Rovers could only take a point off Exeter

Southend secured just their fourth win of the season to move off the bottom of the table, as defeated Colchester 2-0. The results leaves Stevenage at the foot of the table, despite them earning a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham

Scott Quigley and Patrick Brough goals saw Barrow down Port Vale in an impressive 2-0 away win. Salford City won by the same scoreline as James Wilson and Scott Burgess saw off Walsall.

A strike from veteran Wes Hoolahan and Paul Mullin’s 19th of the season, helped Cambridge United bounce back from Danny Johnson’s opener to defeat Leyton Orient. Lee Novak’s goal settled Bradford’s trip to Tranmere in the Yorkshire side’s favour.

Mansfield held on for a 3-2 victory at Scunthorpe, while Morecambe beat manageress Grimsby 3-1. Harrogate took advantage of Bobby Grant’s dismissal to down Oldham 2-1 thanks to two George Thomson goals.

A match that had held so much intrigue with Chris Hughton and Aitor Karanka facing their former clubs ended in a dull 0-0 draw between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham at the City Ground. Hughton’s Forest often looked the more likely to take three points but they found themselves up against a keeper in good form in Neil Etheridge, who denied Tobias Figueiredo late on.

Stoke recorded a fourth successive clean sheet but were held to a third straight stalemate on the road as they wasted a string of chances in an entertaining 0-0 draw at Coventry. It was also a third consecutive goalless game for the Sky Blues at their temporary St Andrew’s home.

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Brentford, meanwhile, took their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions as Sergi Canos’ hat-trick gave them a 3-2 comeback win at Cardiff. Watford faced Norwich in Boxing Day’s late kick‑off.