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Championship Review: Newcastle stumble again as relegation battle heats up

Newcastle United are only top of the Championship on goal difference after Fulham stormed to a 3-1 win at St James' Park.

Promotion rivals Brighton and Hove Albion moved level on points with Rafael Benitez's men by dispatching Derby County 3-0 on Friday and Newcastle could not respond in kind as 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon hit a memorable brace for play-off chasing Fulham.

Huddersfield Town, beaten by Newcastle last weekend, kept up their pursuit of the top two as winger Rajiv van La Parra scored the only goal at Brentford.

At the other end of the table, Bristol City climbed out of the bottom three by beating fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium courtesy of a late Aden Flint goal.



Fulham competed a season double over Newcastle, who suffered their second setback of the week having been held to a goalless draw by Reading on Tuesday.

Slavisa Jokanovic's men hit the front after 15 minutes as Tom Cairney arrowed a superb strike into the top corner and Sessegnon collected Sone Aluko's backheel to double the advantage after half-time.

The youngster made it two goals in eight minutes before the hour before Daryl Murphy curled home a consolation for the hosts, although Fulham's run of five matches unbeaten rarely looked under threat and Tim Ream missed an injury time penalty for the visitors.

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Sheffield Wednesday lost 2-0 at Aston Villa – Jonathan Kodjia's brace taking him to 15 for the season and moving Steve Bruce's side 10 points clear of the drop zone – leaving Fulham just two points shy of the top six.

Brentford sit a point below Villa in a congested mid-table after Van La Parra cut in from the flank to secure Huddersfield's ninth away victory of the season.

Preston North End are up to eighth having done what Newcastle could not manage by thumping fifth-place Reading 3-0. 

Leeds United were held to a goalless draw by QPR at Elland Road, meaning they are five points adrift of near neighbours Huddersfield in fourth having played a game more.

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Norwich City dismissed manager Alex Neil on the eve of Blackburn Rovers' trip to Carrow Road and the Canaries had Mitchell Dijks sent off for a rash challenge on Marvin Emnes after Cameron Jerome put them ahead.

A quickfire brace inside the final 20 minutes from Lucas Joao appeared to be moving Rovers away from the relegation zone but Jerome earned a share of the spoils.

Flint's intervention from an 88th-minute Bristol City corner means Tony Mowbray's team are third bottom on goal difference.

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Basement boys Rotherham United are counting down the days to relegation after Wolves' Andreas Weimann netted the only goal in first-half injury time at Molineux, keeping the hosts' heads above water and leaving the Millers 21 points adrift of safety.

Elsewhere, Burton Albion leapfrogged Nottingham Forest as Cauley Woodrow's free-kick sealed a 1-0 win, while Ipswich Town and Birmingham City struck late to claim 1-1 draws at Barnsley and Cardiff City respectively.