Watford to beat Stoke City, Bristol to draw, West Brom to beat Leicester and more

So near yet so far away! If Big Darius Henderson had converted from the spot at Ashton Gate I would have been writing this article in a much more optimistic mood. What I didn’t know at the time was that Hendo actually had no chance!

Anyway, there’s a big weekend ahead at both ends of the Championship table. Here’s a look at what happened in midweek:


(Graham’s predictions)

Barnsley 4 v 1 Ipswich (2-1)
Counago put play-off chasing Ipswich ahead, but Barnsley hit back through Howard 2, Macken and an own goal to give the game a deceptive scoreline. Ipswich hit the woodwork twice and will be wondering how they came to lose so heavily.

Barnsley suffered no Cup hangover and have eased the pressure at the bottom with these very valuable three poins.

Bristol City 0 v 0 Watford (0-3)
Big Darius Henderson had the chance from the spot in the first half to send me into a stint of confident boasting and arrogant predictions. His shot was saved by City keeper Basso and I’m forced to continue nervously biting my nails and dreading the play-offs.

A draw was the fair result with City having most of the possession but with neither side creating too many clear cut chances.

Burnley 1 v 0 Charlton (1-1)
A wonder strike from Wade Elliott gave Burnley the points and keep up their play-off hopes. Charlton were left disappointed and now look to be out of contention for automatic promotion.

Cardiff 1 v 0 Hull (0-1)
The only goal of the game came in the second minute through Stephen McPhail. This result is a big blow to Hull’s play-off aspirations.

Colchester 1 v 2 Sheffield Wednesday (0-1)
Lisbie put bottom club Colchester ahead but goals from Burton and Small were enough to take Wednesday out of the drop zone. Colchester look doomed some ten points from safety, but Wednesday are fighting for their lives.

Norwich 0 v 1 Stoke (1-1)
Mamady Sidibe scored the goal that takes Stoke to within a point of Bristol City at the top. They have opened up a three point gap on Watford in third. It could all have been different if Jamie Cureton had converted a good late chace for the home side. Thanks a lot Jamie!

Preston 2 v 1 Wolves (1-0)
As predicted, Preston continued their climb to safety and Wolves continued their slide to mid-table mediocrity. Andy Keogh had given Wolves hope but Davidson from the spot, and Whaley, gave the home side the victory.

Scunthorpe 1 v 0 Plymouth (0-2)
Ian Morris was the hero for Scunny as they continue their unlikely fight against relegation. Plymouth keeper McCormick was sent off for deliberate handball with twenty minutes to go, effectively ending Plymouth’s chances.

Sheffield United 2 v 1 Coventry (1-1)
Sheffield United edged closer to safety whilst pushing Coventry back into trouble at the bottom. Billy Sharp finally got his first goal for United and Gary Speed doubled the lead when he put in the rebound after his penalty kick had been saved. Ward pulled one back for Coventry from the spot but it was too little too late.

Southampton 1 v 0 Leicester (0-1)
This was a massive win for The Saints as they fight for survival. For Leicester the opposite is true as they slip into the drop zone following this result. Stern John scored the only goal 14 minutes from the end.

QPR 3 v 2 Blackpool (2-1)
QPR took a three nil lead against Blackpool with goals from Buzsaky, Vine and Rowlands. Burgess and Mcphee replied in the second half but it wasn’t enough.

The game was watched by the King of Ghana and the Real Madrid President! I think QPR might just be going places.

West Brom 1 v 1 Crystal Palace (2-0)
The 200th goal of Kevin Phillips’ career looked to be giving West Brom a crucial win but Victor Moses popped up for Palace to earn a point. West Brom missed a great opportunity to go above Watford in the table. Never mind, eh?

My predictions are not really getting any better in this ‘difficult to predict’ league. Four correct results and three further games where I was only one goal away from a perfect score. I’m doing my best!

League Table

1 Bristol City 38 67
2 Stoke 38 66
3 Watford 37 63
4 West Brom 36 62
5 Charlton 38 56
6 Hull 37 56
7 Plymouth 38 55
8 Burnley 38 55
9 Crystal Palace 38 54
10 Ipswich 37 53
11 Wolverhampton 36 51
12 Cardiff 36 48
13 QPR 38 48
14 Blackpool 38 47
15 Sheff Utd 37 47
16 Preston 38 46
17 Barnsley 37 46
18 Norwich 38 46
19 Southampton 38 45
20 Coventry 37 43
21 Sheff Wed 36 42
22 Leicester 38 41
23 Scunthorpe 37 38
24 Colchester 37 32

Weekend Fixtures

Blackpool v Preston
Blackpool and Preston are almost safe now. A point each here and they can light a cigar and look forward to Championship football next season.

Graham’s prediction: 1-1

Bristol City v Plymouth
Plymouth will be desperate to bounce back from defeat at Scunny and rekindle their play-off hopes. Bristol City will be relieved after their incredibly lucky draw against Watford, and will need to hold their nerve. I fancy a draw here. Wishfull thinking?

Graham’s prediction: 1-1

Burnley v Wolves
Burnley kept their play-off hopes alive with victory over Charlton in midweek. Wolves lost again and it is painful to watch their decline and the last few days of Mick McCarthy’s tenure as manager. It would be fairer and kinder for everyone if they just put Mick out of his misery now. Maybe defeat here will be the final nail in his coffin.

Graham’s prediction: 2-1

Colchester v Cardiff
Colchester are playing for pride. Cardiff are playing for places in the FA Cup semi-final team. The latter might just be enough to see the visitors to victory in this one.

Graham’s prediction: 0-2

Coventry v Sheffield Wednesday
This is a real six-pointer at the bottom. Occupying the two places immediately above the drop zone these two teams are only two points and one point respectively, away from the gloom of the relegation places. Wednesday are on a bit of a high after escaping the bottom three and Coventry are on a bit of a low as they head towards it.

Graham’s prediction:0-1

Crystal Palace v Barnsley
Palace are still in with a shout for the play-offs and Barnsley are almost safe and have a Wembley appearance to look forward to. Should be a good game with both teams giving it everything for different reasons. Neil Warnock is a canny manager and I think he’ll lead Palace to a win in this one.

Graham’s prediction: 2-0

Hull v Southampton
Hull still occupy the last play-off place although their defeat at Cardiff has given hope to the large chasing pack. Southampton got a crucial win in the week and they are breathing just a little easier. With a takeover on the horizon, maybe things are just getting better for the South Coast club. Don’t think they will this weekend though!

Graham’s prediction: 2-1

Ipswich v Charlton
Ipswich have slipped away a little and Charlton are doing their best to do so. Both teams are low on confidence and badly need a win. I have a feeling that neither of them will get one.

Graham’s prediction: 0-0

QPR v Scunthorpe
It’s a long shot, but QPR haven’t written off their play-off chances. It’s a long shot but Scunny haven’t written off their survival chances. Money bags Rangers will no doubt have visiting royalty and celebrities in the crowd and all these new QPR fans will probably be celebrating three points.

Graham’s prediction: 3-1

Sheffield United v Norwich
Sheffield United are slowly climbing to safety under Kevin Blackwell and Norwich, having looked safe, are slipping ever so slowly towards the bottom. They should be OK but they need to pick up some points soon.

Graham’s prediction: 2-1

Watford v Stoke
They don’t come much bigger than this. Well, for me they don’t. Stoke are three points above us and we’ve got a game in hand. A win here and I reckon we’ll go up automatically. Anything less and it will probably be the play-offs. My heart says win, my head says…

Graham’s prediction: 3-0

West Brom v Leicester
West Brom will be smarting from their failure to beat Palace on Wednesday and Leicester will be reeling from their disastrous defeat at Southampton. Much as I’d love Ian Holloway’s Leicester to do themselves a favour and Watford in the process, I just can’t see it.

Graham’s prediction: 2-0

It’s tight at the top and it’s tight at the bottom. It may well go to the last weekend of the season before we know who is going up or down. The results this weekend will give us a clearer picture but won’t be conclusive. It should be exciting.

Come on you Hornets!

Graham writes at Views of a fan

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