Summary of the last one Sky Bet Championship actions during the intense stage of the drama in the race for promotion and survival.
The weekend saw a busy battle for automatic promotion as one team began to slide back into the play-off race, while the battle for survival intensified.
Ten teams then competed in five rearranged midweek games that saw further movement in the playoff race.
Ashley Barnes’ 78th-minute penalty after Gabriel Osho’s handball gave Burnley a narrow win over fourth-placed Luton as the hosts finished with ten men after Tom Locker was shown a red card for complaining too much about a spot-kick decision :
Tom Bradshaw’s hat-trick saw Millwall condemn second-placed Sheffield United to a second straight defeat, although Tommy Doyle and James McAtee twice pulled the Blades level from behind.
Middlesbrough therefore moved four points clear of the Blades after a second-half brace from Chuba Akpom and a goal from Riley McGree sealed a 3-0 win over QPR, leading to the Hoops sacking Neil Critchley and appointing Gareth Ainsworth as his replacement.
Ken Sema’s brace saw Watford beat West Brom 3-2 in a five-goal thriller as the Baggies twice came from behind to equalize before Sema headed home the winner from Eric Pieters’ deflection in the 78th minute.
Sunderland complete the top six after Jack Clarke’s opener canceled out Nahi Wells’ injury-time penalty to draw 1-1 at home to Bristol City.
Wigan dropped into the relegation zone on goal difference after being held to a goalless draw at home to Norwich.
Blackpool moved up to second after Ian Poveda scored in the seventh minute to beat Stoke City at Bloomfield Road.
Jaheim Hedley provided an assist for Joseph Hungbo’s equaliser, before he scored himself in the 49th minute as Huddersfield recovered to beat Birmingham City 2-1 to move up to third.
Rotherham stayed two points clear of relegation after losing 2-0 at home to Coventry, with Jamie Allen and Victor Gokeres both scoring for the visitors in the second half.
Elsewhere, Daniel Ayala headed home in the 89th minute as Blackburn cruised to a home win against Swansea.
Romain Sawyers’ 91st-minute smash-and-grab winner saw Cardiff beat Reading 1-0 at home to move the Bluebirds four points clear of the bottom three.
Hull were held to a goalless draw at home to Preston, who were dominant but poor, while the Lilywhites failed to get a shot on target.
In the middle of the week
Tom Bradshaw canceled out Ashley Barnes’ 51st-minute opener as Millwall struggled to hold onto the lead as Burnley held to a 1-1 draw at The Den, which also lifted Gary Rowett’s Lions up to fifth.
Blackburn moved up to fourth when Tyrese Dolan scored in the 31st minute to beat second-placed Blackpool at Ewood Park.
Sunderland therefore crashed out of the play-offs after a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham as the Millers moved five points clear of the relegation zone after Oliver Rathbone and Shane Ferguson scored for the home side before Joe Gelhard scored in the 61st minute header consolation goal.
Marcelino Nunez’s brace plus an assist from Christos Tsolis’ injury time goal helped ninth-placed Norwich beat Birmingham City 3-1 at Carrow Road.
Finally, a brace from Josh Lauren and an injury-time goal from Nathan Baker saw Stoke City come from behind to beat Swansea after the Swans had taken a second-minute lead through Morgan Whittaker.