Bournemouth missed the chance to move back above Huddersfield into second in the Championship as they were stunned by a controversial late Preston winner at Deepdale. Emil Riis Jakobsen struck in the 89th minute, but Scott Parker called the decision not to award Bournemouth a free-kick in the buildup “unforgivable”.
The Bournemouth manager and defender Adam Smith were dismissed from the dugout by the referee, Matt Donohue, for their protests after Philip Billing appeared to have been fouled. “I just haven’t got a clue for the life of me why the ref didn’t pull it back for a foul,” said Parker afterwards.
“I can forgive mistakes – I’ve made plenty and so have the players. But there are some that are unforgivable, and that decision was a stonewall foul. The inconsistency was frustrating and my emotions got the better of me.” The 2-1 defeat allowed Fulham to move 11 points clear at the top with a 2-0 lunchtime victory over Blackburn.
Play-off hopefuls QPR, who had won just one of their previous six, lost more ground as they surrendered a lead to lose 2-1 at home to Cardiff. Andre Gray gave Rangers the lead seven minutes before the break but two Cardiff goals in the space of four second-half minutes from Isaak Davies and Rubin Colwill turned the game around.
Steve Bruce finally claimed his first win as West Brom manager at the sixth time of asking by overseeing a 2-0 success over former club Hull. Karlan Grant was on target twice for the Baggies, opening the scoring in the 17th minute and then adding a second from the penalty spot. West Brom are in 13th place, six points off the play-off places.
“I thought we were worthy winners,” Bruce said. It’s the longest I’ve waited in 22 years [for a first win as a manager] so let’s hope it’s the start of things to come. Anyone who puts a run together has a chance [of reaching the play-offs]. This gives us a chance, but that’s all it is at this moment in time.”
Ravel Morrison struck twice as relegation-threatened Derby reignited their unlikely escape bid by claiming their first win in four games with a 2-0 success over fellow strugglers Barnsley. Morrison netted in each half – his first goals in English league football since 2014 – to lift Wayne Rooney’s Rams above the Tykes and within five points of Reading in 21st place.
The Derby assistant manager, Liam Rosenior, was full of praise for Morrison after the match. “He’s affecting the game exactly where we want him to, which is in the final third,” Rosenior said. “He’s really enjoying it – in terms of his energy and pressing today, and the moments of quality he brings … he was absolutely outstanding.”
Derby’s hopes were enhanced as Reading slipped up at home to improving Millwall. Jake Cooper headed the only goal of a 1-0 win for the Lions, a fifth successive victory for the Londoners that further boosted their growing play-off hopes.
Middlesbrough climbed into the top six after edging out Luton 2-1. An early Paddy McNair penalty put the hosts in control but it was not until Duncan Watmore’s effort three minutes from time they began to breathe easily. Even then Harry Cornick responded for the Hatters but it proved to be no more than a consolation.
Swansea were comfortable 3-1 home winners over Coventry. Michael Obafemi struck either side of half-time after Jamie Paterson had opened the scoring. Gustavo Hamer scored a late consolation for the visitors. Josh Bowler scored an 86th-minute winner as Blackpool snatched a 1-0 victory at Stoke.
Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong scored his first goal in English football as Birmingham won 2-1 at Bristol City. Chong, making his first start since October following injury, was on target after just two minutes at Ashton Gate before Nico Gordon soon added a second. Alex Scott pulled one back for the hosts.