• Andreas Weimann returned to haunt his former club with the opening goal that set Derby on their way to a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in a battle of the promotion hopefuls at Pride Park.
The Austria international, who joined County from Villa in 2015, scored after a mistake by Glenn Whelan and Villa created little before Johnny Russell secured Derby’s fifth victory in six games. Villa’s injury problems were highlighted by Josh Onomah playing as a striker but it was their defence that came under pressure throughout. The victory enabled Derby to open up a four-point gap between themselves in fourth and fifth-placed Villa, whose manager, Steve Bruce, was not happy afterwards. “From the very first minute, we put them through and didn’t really recover,” he said. “We made far too many mistakes, we’ve gifted them the game.”
• Bristol City ensured Derby did not go above them into third during an emotional 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Ashton Gate. First-half goals from Marlon Pack and Joe Bryan gave City an advantage that meant Kieran Dowell’s reply was only a consolation, and City’s players and staff dedicated their win to the family of eight-year-old Robins fan Ben Pritchard, who died from a brain tumour last month. Both sets of supporters applauded in the eighth minute and Ben’s parents and sister were guests at the game. Cuty’s assistant head coach, Dean Holden, said: “Ben’s final days were spent at the hospice which is our adopted charity and all the players felt deeply over his passing at such a young age. It was a very emotional day for the club and sometimes football does not seem the most important thing in the world.”
• Lloyd Dyer scored the only goal of the game as Burton moved off the foot of the table after edging to a precious 1-0 victory at fellow strugglers Bolton. The experienced winger fired in his fourth goal of the season midway through the first half to lift Burton above the Trotters in the standings, with Birmingham now rock-bottom. Albion had taken only one point from their last five league matches and this was only their second victory in 14 games but Steve Cotterill’s side now prop up the division after their 2-1 home defeat to Queens Park Rangers. “When I came in we were second from bottom so nothing has changed,” said the Birmingham manager. “It makes it worse looking at the table. We now have to work harder to get out of trouble.”
Results: Birmingham 1-2 QPR 2, Bolton 0-1 Burton Albion, Brentford 0-0 Barnsley, Bristol City 2-1 Nottm Forest, Cardiff 1-0 Hull, Derby 2-0 Aston Villa, Ipswich 2-0 Reading, Leeds 1-0 Norwich, Millwall 2-1 Middlesbrough, Preston North End 1-0 Sheffield United, Sunderland 1-0 Fulham 0.
• Wigan continue to dominate League One and consolidated their four-point lead at the top with a crushing a 4-0 win at struggling AFC Wimbledon, who finished with 10 men. The leaders were frustrated for long periods but turned on the gas after Michael Jacobs broke the deadlock on 57 minutes and the hosts had Harry Forrester sent off not long afterwards. Nick Powell, formerly of Manchester United, made it 2-0 before Max Power added a third and substitute Ivan Toney completed the rout in stoppage time.
• Shrewsbury are keeping up a valiant pursuit of their more fancied rivals and remain second after a 1-0 home win over Blackpool, secured by a 54th-minute goal from midfielder Jon Nolan. However they have some big-name teams breathing down their neck. Blackburn are just a point behind the Shrews in third after they beat fellow play-off hopefuls Charlton 2-0 at Ewood Park through an own goal from Leon Best on 30 minutes and Danny Graham’s stoppage-time strike. Bradford are a point further back after they snatched a 2-1 win at Southend with a last-minute penalty from Charlie Wyke.
• At the bottom Gillingham pulled clear of the relegation zone with a confidence-building 4-1 home win over Bristol Rovers, although Mark Byrne’s penalty-taking techique may need a little revision. Byrne scored from a rebound after his initial spot-kick had been saved to give the Gills the lead and Alex Lacey headed in a second on 37 minutes. Josh Parker made it 3-0 soon after the restart. Byrne scored again after the break but missed a hat-trick chance in the 65th minute when he shot wide from the penalty spot. Liam Sercombe netted a consolation for Rovers in stoppage time.
Results: AFC Wimbledon 0-4 Wigan, Blackburn 2-0 Charlton, Doncaster 1 -1 Oldham, Gillingham 4-1 Bristol Rovers, Northampton 2-1 Walsall, Portsmouth 1-0 Bury, Rochdale 0-0 Oxford United, Rotherham 1-1 Plymouth 1, Scunthorpe 2-2 Milton Keynes Dons, Shrewsbury 1-0 Blackpool, Southend 1-2 Bradford 2.
• Luton moved clear at the top of with a 2-0 win against Forest Green, who are now bottom. The Hatters took a first-half lead trough Alan Sheehan’s strike but had to play the last 30 minutes with 10 men after Jack Stacey was shown a red card for a high foot. It did not seem to hinder them though, Danny Hylton adding a second in the 68th minute to ensure Luton extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games. That was enough to move two points clear of Notts County, who drew at home against Grimsby.
• Lincoln City are beginning to threaten the automatic promotion places, goals from Matt Green and Matt Rhead downing fellow high-fliers Accrington 2-0. Green scored a penalty and Rhead added a second after the break. That is four straight wins in all competitions for the Imps, who are now up to sixth, just a point behind their opponents, who had Farrend Rawson sent off on the stroke of half-time.
• Barnet moved off the bottom and above both Forest Green and Chesterfield after giving their fans a rare victory to celebrate by beating Morecambe 2-1. Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s long-range drive and a Jack Taylor goal put the Bees in charge at half-time, but after John Akinde fired his penalty over the crossbar the visitors pulled one back through Adam Campbell. Barnet held on to record their first home league win since September. Crewe moved clear of the relegation zone as goals from Callum Ainley and Chris Dagnall (two) secured a 3-0 win against Crawley, who had both skipper Jimmy Smith and Jordan Roberts dismissed in the second half.
Results: Barnet 2-1 Morecambe, Cambridge United 1-2 Newport County, Carlisle United 1-2 Port Vale, Coventry City 2-1 Cheltenham Town, Crewe Alexandra 3-0 Crawley Town, Exeter City 2-1 Stevenage, Forest Green Rovers 0-2 Luton Town, Lincoln City 2-0 Accrington Stanley, Mansfield Town 0-0 Yeovil Town, Notts County 0-0 Grimsby Town, Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Chesterfield.
This article was written by Rob Bleaney, for theguardian.com on Saturday 16th December 2017 20.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010