Fulham missed the chance to move further clear at the top of the Championship table after they were beaten 1-0 at West Bromthough second-placed Bournemouth were unable to take full advantage.
The hosts at the Hawthorns went close in the first half when Karlan Grant’s effort was pushed on to the post by Marek Rodak before Callum Robinson finally made the breakthrough just after the hour.
“It was not good enough. In the first half we were not here – it was just our shirts on the pitch,” said Fulham manager Marco Silva. “I don’t want to be unfair on West Brom because they were the best team and they deserved to win. We didn’t express ourselves, and they did what we expected. Mark [Rodak] kept us in the game. In the second half it was a little bit different. We had a big chance with Mitro [Aleksandar Mitrovic] where we should have equalized.”
Bournemouth failed to make up much ground as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Reading. Dominic Solanke got the home side off to a flying start inside eight minutes when he slotted home his 22nd Championship goal of the season. However, Tom Ince fired an equalizer for Reading – managed by his father, Paul – with seven minutes remaining.
Blackburn returned to form with a 3-1 home win over Derby. Ravel Morrison put the relegation-threatened visitors ahead just before the half-hour with his third goal in as many games. Blackburn – who had managed only one goal in the previous nine games – were level through Scott Wharton eight minutes into the second half and turned the game around when Tyrhys Dolan headed in on the hour following a corner. The substitute Sam Gallagher nodded in a third deep into stoppage time as Rovers cut the gap on Bournemouth to five points.
At the other end of the table, Barnsley kept alive their own survival hopes with a 2-0 home win over Bristol City. Carlton Morris fired the hosts in front from close range in the ninth minute and Michal Helik’s header doubled the lead midway through the first half. City’s night got worse when midfielder Alex Scott went off injured shortly before the break and then his replacement, Joe Williams, also had to be substituted 10 minutes into the second half.
In his previous club job, Barnsley manager Poya Asbaghi steered IFK Gothenburg into the Europa League after winning the Swedish Cup final. “This challenge would be my highest achievement, having come to a different country and a new league with just nine or 10 players available in January,” insisted Asbaghi.
Middlesbrough moved back into the top six with a 2-0 win at birmingham, who finished with 10 men. The on-loan Brighton forward Aaron Connolly gave Boro the lead on 23 minutes, with Folarin Balogun seeing his solo effort just before half-time ruled out by an offside flag. Middlesbrough had a penalty from Paddy McNair pushed on to a post by Neil Etheridge early in the second half, before Balogun eventually got their second goal just after the hour with a 20-yard strike. The Birmingham midfielder Kristian Pedersen was sent off for a second yellow card with four minutes left.