Championship Review: Pacesetters Leeds, Cardiff & Wolves battle to wins
Leeds United, Cardiff City and Wolves remain locked together at the Championship summit after they all battled to hard-earned wins that moved them on to 20 points.
Aston Villa prevailed in the battle of the former European Cup winners against Nottingham Forest at Villa Park, while neighbours Birmingham City began life after Harry Redknapp by holding Derby County to a draw.
That was one of six games to finish all-square on Saturday, although there was clear daylight between Bolton Wanderers and Brentford.
Christiansen lauds 'intense' Leeds win
Leeds will square off against Cardiff on Tuesday ahead of their opponents on goal difference after seeing off Ipswich Town in a thrilling 3-2 triumph at Elland Road.
Visiting goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski fumbled Pablo Hernandez's corner over the line – a blunder that would prove decisive – in the 67th minute, although Joe Garner set up a grandstand finish.
Important victory today and what a fantastic atmosphere at Elland Road .. pic.twitter.com/kyphAeAB3E
— P.-M. Lasogga (@Lasogga10) September 23, 2017
Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kalvin Phillips struck in the first half either side of David McGoldrick's headed equaliser and Leeds boss Thomas Cristiansen said: "It was an intense game that had everything. During the 90 minutes, we were in front and immediately after the 1-1 goal we managed to score.
"Then in the second half we should keep the result, trying to control the game a little better, but we suffered at the end. The most important thing is we got the three points."
Joe Ralls' 73rd-minute penalty gave Cardiff a 2-1 win at Sunderland, a first victory of the month for Neil Warnock's side that leaves the Black Cats in the relegation zone.
Wolves won by the same scoreline against Barnsley in dramatic circumstances at Molineux, where Adam Jackson cancelled out Bright Enobakhare's opener in the first minute of stoppage time, only for Alfred N'Diaye to strike two minutes later.
— Wolves (@Wolves) September 23, 2017
Back-to-back boost for Bruce
Conor Hourihane hit a career landmark at Villa Park, with his 50th league goal securing a 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest.
The visitors were level through Daryl Murphy – Albert Adomah having rounded Forest keeper Jordan Smith to open the scoring – but Hourihane's free-kick with an hour played ensured Steve Bruce's side backed up last weekend's 3-0 win at Barnsley.
Brentford arrived at Bolton searching for a first win of the season and got it as Yoann Barbet's free-kick, Nico Yennaris' superb long-range effort and Ollie Watkins' late third sealed an emphatic 3-0 triumph. The hosts are still waiting for their first victory.
The centre-back certainly took his chance... pic.twitter.com/0LeRVdbpbM
— EFL (@EFL) September 23, 2017
Carsley makes point with Blues
Birmingham remain second bottom, a place above Bolton, but left Derby with a point as City's Lukas Jutkiewicz and County's Sam Winnall traded second-half goals in a 1-1 draw.
It means caretaker manager Lee Carsley is on the board after a day when most teams ended with something to show for their efforts.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson's late leveller saved a 1-1 draw for Reading at home to Hull City, while Cyrus Christie did likewise for Middlesbrough at Fulham.
The games between Preston North End and Millwall, Norwich City and Bristol City and Burton Albion's trip to Queens Park Rangers all ended goalless.