Reading are building, are Q.P.R. crumbling?
The big meeting of the weekend came on Sunday at Loftus Road as 6th placed Reading travelled to West London to play 3rd placed Q.P.R. with the away side dominating the game from early on. Daniel Williams opened the scoring for the Royals and although Kevin Doyle equalised before the break, two Reading goals through an Alex Pearce header and a stunning solo effort from Garath McCleary gave Reading the win. A big statement from the Royals to travel to one of the fortresses of the Championship that is Loftus Road and take the win with relative ease. They had to hold on in the closing stages as Kaspers Gorkss was sent off, but saw the game out. Q.P.R. have now gone three games without a win and dropped eight points against teams in the top six in that run. Rangers do have a game in hand, however they are still only four points behind second place Burnley with a game in hand. Reading now are just six points behind Rangers and are a very long shot for automatic promotion.
Barnsley will keep on fighting
You could forgive Barnsley for losing spirit and hope of survival after spending the whole season rooted to the bottom three, but you can be certain that their season will not go by without a fight. The Tykes took the lead through Nick Proschwitz, however goals either side of the break appeared to be set to leave them travelling back to Oakwell with no points and their confidence knocked even further. As they have all season the Barnsley players did not give in and battled till the final whistle and got a deserved reward. With the fourth official set to indicate the added time Proschwitz scrambled in his second and an equaliser for Barnsley. The point kept the five point gap to Millwall who sit 21st, but Barnsley have two games in hand over the Lions and still have hope of surviving the drop.
Change of philosophy working for Watford
The new brand of football under Giuseppe Sannino is a stark contrast to the free flowing style employed by the Hornets under former manager Gianfranco Zola. It may not be as exciting, but you can not argue with the results Sannino has been getting in his first management role outside of Italy in his career spanning eighteen years to date. Three wins and a draw in their last four league games is an enviable record that has helped them sit 5th in the form table. Impressively they picked up clean sheets in each of these wins and only conceded away Leicester in their last four, but still managed to take a point away from the King Power in a 2-2 draw. In Sannino’s ten games in charge Watford have conceded just nine times and lost only twice. In the ten games before he took over Watford conceded twenty-one goals and picked up just one win.
Ipswich may rue missed opportunities
If Ipswich miss out on a play off spot come May, alongside the obvious disappointment of failing to get the chance to return to the Premier League after a long absence there will be a sense of what might have been if they had been more clinical in these very winnable games. A 0-0 draw at home to Blackpool on the face of it is by no means a disaster, even if Blackpool have only picked up four points from fourteen, but it is the Tractor Boys 12th draw of the season. This is the joint most draws for a team in the division, a record shared between six Championship sides. Ipswich are now five points behind 6th placed Reading, however with forty-five points still up for grabs this gap could easily bridged if they can convert a few of these draws into wins in the coming months. They did suffer a massive set back in the game on Saturday with top scorer David McGoldrick suffering knee ligament damage and he will miss the rest of the season. Mick McCarthey may be tempted into the loan market to fill the void or it could be a lacklustre end to a good campaign for Ipswich.