This week saw the four East Midlands clubs all pick up positive results. In the Championship Leicester continued the form that has seen them keep pace with the early leaders with an away victory over Ipswich. Nottingham Forest did their local rivals a favour by holding Burnley, the early pacesetters to a draw at the City Ground, whilst Derby won for the second time in a row to move towards the play off spots with an away victory at Bournemouth. Finally, in League Two Burton Albion returned to winning ways against Bristol Rovers.
This week’s round up starts at Portman Road where Nigel Pearson’s Leicester side recovered from an early setback to win 2-1 and draw level on points with Burnley at the summit of the division. David McGoldrick put Ipswich into an early lead with a 25 yard strike, but a double in six minutes before the hour from David Nugent helped Leicester to their 14th victory in 19 matches. The Foxes are right in the hunt for the automatic places as we approach the busy festive period.
Arguably the biggest game of this week’s round of fixtures saw 5th placed Forest take on Burnley who have taken the division by storm in the early months and find themselves top of the league. Sam Vokes opened the scoring for The Clarets when he dispatched a controversial 28th minute penalty. The linesman did not appear to signal for a foul but the man in the middle disagreed and gave the Welshman the opportunity to score his 10th goal of the season. However, Simon Cox’s goal just before the break was enough to earn Forest a share of the spoils. In the post match interview Billy Davies was adamant his side deserved more ‘It is a travesty that we did not get three points. There was only one team that was going to win.’
Forest’s rivals Derby County moved two points and two places behind them following a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Dean Court. In a tightly contested affair Jamie Ward’s goal just after the hour was enough to ensure Steve McClaren’s men took home all 3 points. In a game where either side could have took the points a superb strike sent the 1400 County fans into ecstasy. The Rams appear to be gaining some momentum and certainly appear poised to have a real go at this year’s end of season playoffs.
We finish this week’s round up in League Two with Burton Albion as they recorded a 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers to propel themselves into the playoff places. In a hotly contested match that seen 3 players dismissed, Robbie Weir’s strike just before the hour was enough to settle the tie. Rovers’ Beardsley was dismissed for a tackle just before the only goal, whilst Jimmy Phillips of Burton and O’Toole of Rovers were given their marching orders in injury time. With Albion inflicting Rover’s first defeat in 5, it was enough to move up to 7th and if they can cut out the inconsistency which has dogged their early season form they could be real contenders come May.
So with all sides picking up good results it was difficult to pick the performance of the week. However, with Leicester beating an in form Ipswich side away from home they just pip the rest. Without many talking about them they are quietly amassing points and look a real force in this year’s Championship promotion race.