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By ESPN Staff

Hammers go clear at the top

West Ham took advantage of Southampton's inactivity to move three points clear at the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest.

Mark Noble's penalty double (45 and 63) proved enough for the Hammers, who recorded their third straight league win and will remain top unless Saints beat Leicester on Monday night.

Forest scored an injury-time consolation through Lewis McGugan and remain in the bottom three.

Cardiff remain four points behind West Ham in third following a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Portsmouth.

Kenny Miller put the Bluebirds in front from Peter Whittingham's cross (15) but fell behind to goals from Marko Futacs (39) and Greg Halford (49) as Pompey threatened just a second win in 13 away league games.

Mark Hudson levelled for Cardiff (69) and Craig Conway netted the winner in injury time to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.

Hull are up to fifth, behind Middlesbrough on goals scored alone, after beating Reading 1-0 at the Madejski Stadium as Robbie Brady netted the only goal in the 66th minute.

Boro have now gone four league games without a win after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at bottom club Coventry.

Gary McSheffrey (36) scored the Sky Blues' opener and Middlesbrough had Kevin Thomson sent off three minutes later. Alex Nimely scored a debut goal following his loan move from Manchester City (57) and Matthew Bates scored a 64th-minute own goal from David Bell's cross. Scott McDonald grabbed a consolation for Tony Mowbray's men.

Birmingham moved above Reading into the play-off zone with a 3-0 home win over Watford.

Curtis Davies (35 and 60) scored a headed double and Chris Burke made sure of the win with nine minutes to go to take Blues' unbeaten league run to six.

Bristol City and Millwall both moved further clear of danger with victories.

The Robins were 2-1 victors over second-bottom Doncaster as Chris Wood scored his 12th of the season (26) and Kalifa Cisse notched a second five minutes later. El-Hadji Diouf halved City's lead in the 75th minute.

Darius Henderson scored his second hat-trick of the week, and his third of the season - as Millwall won 3-1 at Barnsley, for whom Jimmy McNulty pulled one back two minutes from time.

Blackpool moved up to seventh as they scored twice in the last five minutes to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Bloomfield Road. Owen Garvan's 27th-minute penalty put the Eagles ahead but Elliot Grandin (85) levelled and Chris Basham scored in the last minute after Kevin Phillips' header had hit the bar.

Leeds climbed two places to ninth with a 3-1 win at home to Ipswich. Adam Drury put the visitors in front (34) but after Alex McCarthy's dismissal for handball the Whites stormed back through Robert Snodgrass (74), Ross McCormack (82) - his 12th league goal of the season - and Luciano Becchio in injury time.

Derby's run of four straight Championship wins came to an end in a goalless draw at Burnley, while a goal in each half from Will Buckley (32 and 88) earned Brighton a 2-1 win over Peterborough, whose goal was scored by David Ball (72).

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