Marshall strike puts Foxes first
Leicester moved to the top of the Championship on Saturday as Ben Marshall’s late equaliser at Birmingham saw them overhaul Cardiff on goal difference after the Welshmen fell to a 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Peter Lovenkrands netted for the hosts just before half-time at St Andrew’s, but Marshall’s 86th minute strike extended the Foxes unbeaten streak to six matches, and pleased punters who backed the draw at 5/2.
Lee Clark’s side have won just one of their last five league matches and sit only three points above the relegation places, leaving Bet Victor to price them at 10/1 for the drop, while Nigel Pearson’s new league leaders can be found at a best of 4/1 to lift the Championship trophy.
At the City Ground, an Andy Reid free-kick and Daniel Ayala header within two of minutes of each other handed Forest a two goal lead at the break, and sent them of their way to landing William Hill’s offering of 6/4 about the home win against Cardiff.
Billy Sharp netted shortly after the interval for the Reds, who have now won their last two, but Bluebird striker Heidar Helguson’s consolation and Adlene Guedioura’s second sending off of the campaign ensured a nervy finish for Sean O’Driscoll’s men.
Malky Mackay had seen his side win six of their previous seven outings, but they were disappointing in the Midlands, and Bet Victor have moved their promotion odds out to 11/8, while Forest can be backed at 4/1 to go up this term.
Charlie Austin continued his remarkable vein of goalscoring form with his 16th of the season, and eighth in four outings at Turf Moor, to ensure the hosts took the spoils at a best price of 2/1.
The Terrier’s loan striker James Vaughan and Jermaine Beckford put the 17/10 hosts two-up inside the opening half an hour. Simon Grayson’s troops held on despite Sylvan Ebanks-Blake netting after the hour mark, and they are now chalked up at 7/1 for promotion, in from 10/1 a fortnight ago.
The other two derbies in the Championship ended level this weekend, with Leeds taking a point from their visit to Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, while Crystal Palace let a two-goal lead slip at home to Millwall.
At Hillsborough, Jay Bothroyd headed the Owls into the lead shortly before the interval, but Michael Tonge’s stunning strike levelled matters, causing celebrations from United fans which saw Owls’ keeper Chris Kirkland assaulted by a fan in his penalty area.
Dougie Freedman’s side looked to be heading for a seventh win in eight outings when Mile Jedinak and Damien Delaney put the Eagles into the lead, but Dean Moxey’s dismissal handed the impetus to the Lions and Liam Trotter and Mark Beevers sealed a point for the visitors.
Results: Sheff Wed 1-1 Leeds (Friday), Crystal Palace 2-2 Millwall, Birmingham 1-1 Leicester, Bolton 3-2 Bristol City, Brighton 0-1 Middlesbrough, Charlton 0-1 Barnsley, Derby 1-1 Blackburn, Huddersfield 2-1 Wolves, Hull 2-1 Ipswich, Nott’m Forest 3-1 Cardiff, Watford 1-0 Peterborough, Burnley 1-0 Blackpool.
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