first_img Tony Pulis is off the mark as Middlesbrough manager 1 Preston North End 2-3 Middlesbrough: Tony Pulis picked up his first win as Middlesbrough manager as his side came from behind to earn a 3-2 victory over Preston, with Daniel Ayala scoring twice.Middlesbrough snatched the lead after 13 minutes as Stewart Downing’s whipped free-kick from the left was met by Ayala, who powered a header in from 12 yards.Preston hit back straight from the kick-off, Tom Barkhuizen delivering a cross to the far post where Robinson headed past Darren Randolph, who was the far busier keeper.Preston deservedly doubled their lead after 40 minutes, with Jordan Hugill’s header from six yards deflecting in off Ayala, leaving Randolph stranded, and they then came close to a third when Tom Barkhuizen’s effort hit the crossbar.Boro fired level after 65 minutes thanks to a lovely finish from Jonny Howson – the midfielder showing clever feet on the edge of the area before curling a right-footed effort into the top corner.And Boro completed the comeback when Ayala doubled his tally on 73 minutes. Preston were caught out by a short corner and Adama Traore’s cross eventually found the centre-back at the far post to nod in the winner from four yards.Defeat ends Preston’s unbeaten run of nine games as Alex Neil’s side were left to rue a number of missed first-half chances.Leeds United 0-0 Nottingham Forest:Nottingham Forest’s first match since Mark Warburton was sacked as manager ended in a hard-fought draw at Leeds.Warburton’s nine-month spell in charge of the club was ended on New Year’s Eve, with the club languishing in mid-table, and academy boss Gary Brazil was placed in caretaker charge for the trip to Elland Road.Neither side was able to make a breakthrough although Leeds came close through Pontus Jansson in the first half and then Kemar Roofe after the interval, and they remain in the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.Sunderland 0-1 Barnsley:Barnsley ended a ten-match run without a victory with a 1-0 win that pushed Sunderland back into the Sky Bet Championship’s relegation zone.Defender Ethan Pinnock was allowed the freedom inside the Black Cats box to head the winner inside two minutes of the second half at the Stadium of Light.Sunderland, who cannot put a run of victories together to climb away from trouble, had hoped to leapfrog the Tykes after winning at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.But manager Chris Coleman could only look on in frustration as Barnsley held on to their lead and it was deserved on Wearside.Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Cardiff City:Paul Smyth scored the winner on his QPR debut as Cardiff suffered a fourth consecutive defeat, going down 2-1 at Loftus Road.Joe Ralls put Cardiff ahead with a penalty nine minutes into the second half after Jake Bidwell was adjudged to have pushed Callum Patterson.But Matt Smith equalised on 62 minutes when he rose to head in Jack Robinson’s long throw-in and Northern Ireland Under-21 international Smyth struck with 18 minutes remaining.The 20-year-old forward, a summer signing from Linfield, skipped past defender Bruno Ecuele Manga on the left and fired home with the help of a slight deflection off Sol Bamba as the Cardiff captain slid in to try to block the shot.There was controversy late on with former QPR man Junior Hoilett having a goal disallowed. Hoilett found the net after exchanging passes with Kenneth Zohore but was ruled offside.Cardiff protested, seemingly arguing that a Rangers player had touched the ball before it ran to Hoilett, but referee Tim Robinson stood by the decision following a lengthy consultation with his assistant.It meant an unhappy return to west London for Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, whose hopes of a record-breaking eighth promotion have been severely dented by his team’s recent wobble.His seventh was during an eventful two-year spell at QPR, who now find themselves trying to avoid a slide into League One – this was only their second win in 11 matches.Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Burton Albion:Burton Albion claimed their third successive away win with a 3-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday as the Owls’ woeful form continued.Goals by Tom Flanagan, Lloyd Dyer and Tom Naylor earned three points for the Brewers, who also missed a penalty when Joe Wildsmith saved from Lucas Akins with the game goalless.It means Nigel Clough remains unbeaten as a manager in nine matches as the Brewers move to the brink of safety in the Championship.However, it was a miserable afternoon for the Owls who have now lost five of their last six games and have just one win in ten.Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Hull City:Gary Madine’s ninth goal of the season for Bolton secured a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Hull to lift Wanderers out of the Championship relegation zone.Madine’s previous strike earned Phil Parkinson’s side all three points at Sheffield United last Saturday.And his 20th minute free-kick proved good enough to give the Trotters back-to-back wins in the Championship for the first time since Boxing Day 2014.Hull, who have not tasted victory at Bolton since 1935, have now won only one of their last 13 second tier games.Nigel Adkins’ Tigers threw everything forward in search of an equaliser but Bolton held on for another priceless win and clean sheet on their 500th game at the Macron Stadium.Norwich City 2-1 Millwall:Norwich recovered from a half-time deficit to beat Millwall 2-1 at Carrow Road and make it seven points from a possible nine over the festive period.Trailing at the break to a stunning long range effort from ex-Canary Steve Morison, the hosts responded in impressive fashion and fully deserved to take the three points.Tom Trybull got them back on level terms six minutes after the interval, heading home a James Maddison free-kick and Maddison then fired home his seventh goal of the season with 13 minutes left to settle the issue.Derby County 1-1 Sheffield United:Matej Vydra scored his 15th goal of the season but Derby had to settle for a point as Sheffield United hit back to draw 1-1 at Pride Park.Vydra put the Rams in front from the penalty spot midway through the first half of the Sky Bet Championship clash, but the Blades kept their composure and deservedly equalised early in the second period through Leon Clarke.Both teams threatened to win it on the break several times in the closing stages but the two well-organised defences stood firm as Derby stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.last_img