In the Championship ? Ipswich clear at the top

Last updated : 02 January 2005 By Tony Scholes

Richard Cresswell - got all three in Preston's 3-2 win over Sunderland
Goals in the first and last minutes by Marlon Harewood and Matthew Etherington had given the Hammers a 2-0 win at Portman Road against LBJ’s Ipswich. The first of these from Harewood just had to be the goal of the day after a succession of blunders by the Tractor Boys’ defenders and goalkeeper. LBJ described it as a Sunday morning Under-10’s goal.

That gave Sunderland the opportunity to catch Ipswich, and they could even go top with a three goal win. By half time the Mackems were three goals down with Cresswell having scored all three and were facing their heaviest defeat of the season.

They did recover in the second half and goals from Stephen Elliott and Sean Thornton reduced it to 3-2 but they were still beaten.

That saw them go down into third place when Wigan picked up maximum points at Sheffield United who lost for the first time since early November.

Having never looked like scoring against the Clarets four days later the Latics hit two from Lee McCulloch and Nathan Ellington.

Glen Little scored with a diving header and thought he had given Reading the lead at Gillingham but it was ruled out for pushing. It would have been his first goal since he gave the Clarets the lead against Sunderland at the end of last season.

Gills’ boss Stan Ternent said of the goal, “I thought the ref made the correct decision because if he had given it I would never have heard the last of it. I managed Glen for six years and he never headed a ball like that.”

The draw wasn’t great news for Gillingham with two of the other relegation threatened clubs picking up maximum points in the east Midlands. Cardiff went to Derby and won 1-0 in an early kick off with Peter Thorne getting the goal.

Eugen Bopp - got Forest's winner against Stoke
Down the road at Forest acting manager Mick Harford axed David Johnson and replaced him with Gareth Taylor but it was Eugen Bopp who scored the only goal of the game. Harford thought his Forest side were comfortable whilst Stoke boss Tony Pulis thought they were the better side.

Stoke had Clint Hill and Clive Clarke sent off in the last five minutes and both will now miss the clash with the Clarets tomorrow. Ironically the referee who sent them off was Michael Jones who gave Stoke a big lift at the Turf when he sent off Michael Duff.

That means things are getting even more desperate for Rotherham at the bottom. A Junior goal gave them a half time lead but Coventry came back to win it 2-1, the winner coming from former Reading captain Adie Williams with his first goal since joining Coventry.

Watford finally shrugged off their desperate end to 2004, with not a single victory in any of their last eleven league games. Their fortunes changed with a 1-0 win over Millwall with a goal from Heidar Helguson.

The visitors played much of the second half with ten men after Danny Dichio was sent off for the second time against Watford this season. Instead of slamming his own player as he should have done after the game Dennis Wise instead suggested that Sean Dyche had over reacted. Theo Paphitis not surprisingly heard nothing.

Leeds 0 Crewe 2 – I can’t wait for Blackwell’s excuses after this result. The simple fact is that he and Sam Ellis have hardly covered themselves in glory with a series of bad signings as all the half decent players were heading for the door marked exit. You won’t win anything with a team of youngsters, especially when many of those youngsters have already seen their 30th birthday.

Scott Taylor - Plymouth's £100,000 signing from Blackpool (not Scotland)
Two draws to complete things, QPR and Brighton couldn’t manager a goal between them at Loftus Road and guess what, Wolves drew 1-1. This was their fifth successive 1-1 draw but they tried it a different way this time and went 1-0 up through Seol before gifting Plymouth an equaliser.

Plymouth’s new signing Scott Taylor made his debut in this game, playing the last twenty minutes as a substitute, coming on for Marino Keith.

Taylor was one of three players on the move to Championship clubs over the last few days and he was Bobby Williamson's first signing for Plymouth who had not been signed from a Scottish club.

Fulham defender Dean Leacock has joined Coventry for a second loan spell and Leeds have brought in teenage striker Nathan Blake from Leicester, he will be 33 this month.

So the New Year is underway, even if for two clubs for just nineteen minutes in the East Lancashire Lake District. The holiday programme comes to an end tomorrow and then it is time to prepare for the FA Cup.

The New Year's Day results

Saturday 1st January

Burnley v Leicester - abandoned

Preston 3 Sunderland 2

Derby 0 Cardiff 1

QPR 0 Brighton 0

Gillingham 0 Reading 0

Rotherham 1 Coventry 2

Ipswich 0 West Ham 2

Sheffield Utd 0 Wigan 2

Leeds 0 Crewe 2

Watford 1 Millwall 0

Nott'm Forest 1 Stoke 0

Wolves 1 Plymouth 1

The New Year's Day stats

Biggest win

Crewe 2-0 v Leeds (away)
West Ham 2-0 v Ipswich (away)
Wigan 2-0 v Sheffield Utd (away)

Total goals scored


Player scoring most goals

3 - Richard Cresswell (Preston)

Highest Attendance

32,302 - Leeds v Crewe

Lowest Attendance

5,742 - Rotherham v Coventry

Total Yellow Cards


Total Red Cards


Most cards in a game

7 - Nott'm Forest v Sunderland (2R 5Y)

The leading scorers (league only)


Dean Ashton (Crewe)


Nathan Ellington (Wigan)


Paul Furlong (QPR)


Darren Bent (Ipswich)
Dave Kitson (Reading)
Shefki Kuqi (Ipswich)
Jason Roberts (Wigan)


Richard Cresswell (Preston)
Teddy Sheringham (West Ham)


Robbie Blake (Burnley)
Stephen Elliott (Sunderland)
Marlon Harewood (West Ham)
David Healy (Leeds) - 5 with Preston
Kenny Miller (Wolves)


Andy Gray (Sheffield Utd)
Heidar Helguson (Watford)
Grzegorz Rasiak (Derby)
Paul Shaw (Sheffield Utd) - 2 with Rotherham
Danny Webber (Watford)


Andy Gray (Sheffield Utd)
Lee McCulloch (Wigan)
Paul Shaw (Sheffield Utd) - 2 with Rotherham


Ade Akinbiyi (Stoke)
Carl Cort (Wolves)
Barry Hayles (Millwall)
Mark Rivers (Crewe)
Tommy Smith (Derby)
Marcus Stewart (Sunderland)
Paul Wotton (Plymouth)

This week's fixtures

Monday 3rd January

Brighton v Watford

Plymouth v Ipswich

Cardiff v Nott'm Forest

Reading v Derby

Coventry v Leeds

Stoke v Burnley

Crewe v Preston

Sunderland v Gillingham

Leicester v QPR

West Ham v Sheffield Utd

Millwall v Rotherham


Tuesday 4th January

Wigan v Wolves