Division One Round-Up

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Norwich opened up a three-point gap at the head of Division One after edging out Nottingham Forest 1-0 at Carrow Road.

Striker Mathias Svensson proved to be the difference between the two sides, sliding home the winner after just 14 minutes.

The Swedish hit-man got on the end of an inch-perfect right flank cross from Ian Henderson to convert low left-footed from six yards.

The visitors really should have moved ahead before Svensson's intervention, but Andy Reid somehow fired wide from close range with the goal at his mercy.

Both sides had chances in what proved to be an even encounter, but when Eoin Jess volleyed over from six yards with 13 minutes remaining, Forest's hopes of taking a point went with his wild effort.

West Brom blew the chance to keep pace with The Canaries after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Derby County.

The point was the very least the visitors deserved after looking the better side for long periods, and indeed Russell Hoult had to produce an excellent first-half save from a Marcus Tudgay header to keep the scores level.

With just four minutes remaining, substitute Candido Costa seemed to have netted the decisive goal after advancing from midfield and slotting home from the edge of the box.

However, in the dying moments Danish defender Thomas Gaardsoe popped up to rescue a draw for the hosts.

Sheffield United took advantage of West Brom's slip to close to within a point of The Baggies after a narrow 1-0 away win at Coventry.

Jack Lester was the hero for Neil Warnock's men, converting a 56th minute penalty to seal all three points in a hard-fought affair.

However, Wigan, who started the day level on points with United, lost ground on the automatic promotion chasers after being stunned by two late goals from Rotherham's Will Hoskins.

The 17-year-old forward was making his senior bow for The Millers after coming on as a substitute, and netted two goals in two minutes (82 & 83) to extend Ronnie Moore's side's unbeaten league run to eight games.

Nathan Ellington pulled back a late consolation but it was too little too late for the hosts.

Ipswich Town put themselves back amongst the leaders of Division One coming from behind to register a fine 2-1 victory over West Ham courtesy of a Pablo Counago brace.

West Ham had been hoping to leapfrog Ipswich by taking the points, but the visitors spoiled The Irons' Christmas by cancelling out a second half Jermain Defoe goal to grab victory.

Counago was the hero, coming off the bench to inspire his side to victory.

The Spaniard levelled things up when he was felled in the penalty area, converting himself  from the spot, and then sidefooted home a second to claim the points for the visitors.

Preston remain seventh, and will feel aggrieved not to have claimed their fourth win in five matches after a last-gasp equaliser denied them at Stoke.

Craig Brown's men seemed set for maximum points after David Healy's strike midway through the second period, but with the away fans poised to celebrate Stoke were awarded a late penalty for which Michael Jackson was given his marching orders.

John Eustace dispatched the spot kick, though Preston were left fuming by the decision.

Sunderland moved into the play-off places after a convincing 3-0 defeat of struggling Bradford.

The result was never in doubt after Jason McAteer had opened the scoring on the stroke of half time with a stunning long-range effort.

The lively Tommy Smith added a second midway through the second period, and Kevin Kyle put a gloss on the scoreline with a thumping header nine minutes from the end.

Iain Dowie's first game as Crystal Palace manager ended in disappointment, with his side missing a penalty in a 1-0 defeat to Millwall at home.

A good finish from Neil Harris gave the visitors all three points, the forward benefitting from good work by Tim Cahill to convert.

Andy Johnson had the opportunity to level after earning a penalty, but the Palace man failed to beat Tony Warner in the Millwall goal from the spot.

Crewe climbed into the relative security of 12th spot after a convincing 3-1 win over Burnley at Gresty Road.

Dean Ashton added to his ever-growing reputation by opening Alex's account seven minutes before the interval, and Steve Jones gave the hosts some breathing space with a second on 55.

The Clarets gave themselves brief hope just before the final whistle when Robbie Blake converted a penalty following a foul on Luke Chadwick, but Jones grabbed his second almost instantly to kill off hopes of a comeback.

Elsewhere, Walsall shocked Cardiff at Ninian Park with a 1-0 victory.

Neil Emblen had been tasked with taking on the missing Paul Merson's playmaker role, and not only excelled but also claimed the only goal of the game to give The Saddlers a win.

Gillingham eased their relegation worries with a welcome 1-0 home win over fellow strugglers Watford, John Hills scored the all-important goal from the penalty spot on 56 minutes.

The shock result of the afternoon came at the Madejski Stadium where basement boys Wimbledon stunned Reading with a magnificent 3-0 triumph.

Early goals from Wade Small and Dean Lewington on nine and 23 respectively put Terry Burton's men in control, and though Reading put the visitors under heavy pressure in a bid to get back into the game, Jobi McAnuff notched a late third to complete an unexpected result which moves the South Londoners level on points with Bradford.

Click on the links below for individual reports when available:
West Ham United 1-2 Ipswich Town
Cardiff City 0 Walsall 1
Crystal Palace 0 Millwall 1
Coventry 0-1 Sheffield United
Crewe 3-1 Burnley
Gillingham 1-0 Watford
Reading 0-3 Wimbledon
Stoke 1-1 Preston
Sunderland 3-0 Bradford
West Brom 1-1 Derby
Wigan 1-2 Rotherham
Norwich v Nottingham Forest

Click here for updated Division One table