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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 22, 2011

Cardiff leapfrog Swans

Scott Sinclair struck a controversial late penalty to rescue a point for Swansea in a 1-1 draw with Barnsley at Oakwell but it was not enough to prevent south Wales rivals Cardiff reclaiming second place in the Championship.

The Bluebirds' incident-packed 4-2 win over Watford and a late victory for Norwich at Sheffield United leaves the three automatic promotion contenders locked together on 47 points behind leaders QPR.

Swansea looked out of sorts at Oakwell and trailed to Bobby Hassell's 14th-minute opener until four minutes from time, when Sinclair was adjudged to have been brought down by goalkeeper Luke Steele in the box, and he fired in the spot-kick.

Cardiff went close to blowing their big chance as they almost threw away a 3-0 lead at home to Watford before a late goal from substitute Gabor Gyepes wrapped up their three points.

Craig Bellamy opened the scoring after 14 minutes and further goals from Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd looked to have sealed all the points for the home side against a Watford side looking for seven straight wins.

But the Hornets stirred, with Will Buckley reducing the deficit and Marvin Sordell making it 3-2. Buckley thought he had equalised with a backheel, only for his effort to be ruled out by a linesman, before Gyepes' 83rd-minute strike made it 4-2.

Andrew Crofts scored twice for Norwich in their 2-1 win at Sheffield United which keeps up the pressure on the Welsh pair but also leaves the Blades mired in deep relegation trouble.

Crofts bagged a controversial opener in the 61st minute after home goalkeeper Steve Simonsen appeared to have been impeded at a corner. Ched Evans equalised eight minutes later, only for Crofts to win it 10 minutes from time with a superb volley.

Simon Grayson's Leeds lost a little ground in the automatic promotion chase as they were twice forced to come from behind to claim a 2-2 draw against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Joel Ward put Portsmouth ahead after 26 minutes before Luciano Becchio equalised two minutes after the break. John Utaka prodded Portsmouth back in front but substitute David Somma was the Leeds hero when he shot home left-footed after 63 minutes.

Two delays, due to floodlight failure, did not stop the match from eventually finishing.

Nottingham Forest are also in the promotion picture, and savoured a 1-0 victory at Derby, with former Rams frontman Rob Earnshaw's 79th-minute strike separating the East Midlands rivals.

Paul Jewell enjoyed a dramatic debut as Ipswich boss as Carlos Edwards' stunning effort from almost 40 yards clinched a 3-2 win over Doncaster, for whom Billy Sharp scored twice.

Ian Harte was both hero and villain for play-off hopefuls Reading in their 1-1 draw with Hull. Harte's mistake let in Corry Evans to open the scoring after 51 minutes, but his 80th-minute penalty rescued a point.

Millwall were left to rue a third-minute missed penalty from Steve Morison as Leicester eased to a 4-2 win at the Walkers Stadium.

Souleymane Bamba scored twice and there were also goals from Lloyd Dyer and Ayegbeni Yakubu for the hosts. Millwall, whose goals came from James Henry and Jack Smith, had Jens Berthel Askou sent off after 72 minutes for violent conduct.

A late header from Billy Jones gave hope to bottom-placed Preston in a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough. Crystal Palace and Bristol City were deadlocked at Selhurst Park, finishing 0-0.

In the day's late kick-off, Eddie Howe could not inspire Burnley to victory in his first game in charge as struggling Scunthorpe's stubborn resistance ensured a 0-0 draw at Glanford Park.

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