CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP: Brad Potts’ equalizer keeps Norwich in a draw, Philip Billing shines as hopes for the Bournemouth playoff are boosted, while Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff takes a hit for their top-six expectations after defeat to Nottingham Forest
- Preston North End held Norwich to a draw thanks to a last-bite equalizer
- Substitute Brad Potts leveled the scores with almost the last kick of the game
- Hopes for the Bournemouth play-offs were heightened after the win over Middlesbrough
- Meanwhile, Cardiff suffered a defeat to Forest in one fell swoop for their ambitions
Brad Potts leveled almost the last kick of the game, giving Preston a hard-earned run in a 1-1 draw with leader Norwich in Frankie McAvoy’s first game in charge.
The hosts hit a dramatic level late to cancel Emi Buendia’s early opener, taking them 10 points out of the drop zone.
Due to eight weekday international calls, Norwich was missing some of their normal starting lineup.
Brad Potts leveled almost the last kick of the match when Preston held on to leaders Norwich
The submarine just felt like earning its party a point in interim boss Frankie McAvoy’s first game
North End played their first game under interim boss McAvoy after Alex Neil’s departure after three years in the lead, with a confidence-boosting late draw that kickstarted his stint.
For Norwich, Friday’s draw means that Watford has closed the gap in second place to six points as the hopefuls for the promotion make their final sprint to the finish line.
Elsewhere, Philip Billing scored one and made another as Bournemouth bolstered their hopes for the play-offs with a 3-1 win over manager Jonathan Woodgate’s former club Middlesbrough.
Championship leaders Norwich’s lead at the top of the table has now been reduced to six points
Jefferson Lerma and Dominic Solanke were also on track when the Cherries recorded their second league win in a row, with Duncan Watmore bringing Boro back on track.
Cardiff’s chances of breaking into the top six were hit when they were beaten 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest, which ended a six-game winless run thanks to James Garner’s attack in the first half.
The second goal of the season from the loaned Manchester United midfielder was enough to take Forest 10 points out of the relegation zone.
However, there was nothing Coventry could do to get themselves out of trouble as they lost 3-0 to QPR, putting them just four points ahead of Rotherham, who has three games to hand.
Rangers needed just 75 seconds to take the lead through Chris Willock, while Michael Rose’s own goal doubled their lead before half time.
Elsewhere, Philip Billing played the lead as hopes for the Bournemouth playoffs got a big boost
The midfielder scored and turned when Jonathan Woodgate’s side defeated Middlesbrough
Ilias Chair took care of the points halfway through the second half with his eighth goal of the season.
Rotherham could have closed the gap further, but saw Michael Smith’s late penalty saved by Bartosz Bialkowski when they lost 1-0 to Millwall after aiming for the equalizer in the late stages despite most of the second half with 10 man to play.
A thunderbolt from Jed Wallace eventually settled the game at The Den, where the Millers dismissed their captain Richard Wood for pulling Wallace back when he was clean.
Derby took a big step towards safety when they pulled off a winless seven-game run with a 2-0 win over Luton.
Lee Gregory opened the score after seven minutes and Graeme Shinnie scored a penalty early in the second half.
Hopes for the Cardiff City playoffs were dealt a blow when the Bluebirds were defeated by Forest
There was also a win for basement side Wycombe – only their seventh of the season – as Fred Onyedinma’s goal was enough to beat Blackburn 1-0.
Nigel Pearson is still waiting for his first home win as Bristol City manager after goals in each half from Nick Powell and Steven Fletcher gave Stoke a 2-0 win at Ashton Gate.
Powell finished close in the 25th minute after Tommy Rowe misjudged a long ball to let Jacob Brown through, while Fletcher scored with a fine shot on a free kick just after the hour.