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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Di Matteo grounded after decisive win

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo refused to get carried away after seeing his side establish an eight-point gap over over third-placed Nottingham Forest in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship.

The Baggies beat promotion-chasing Swansea 2-0 last night to move to within a point of leaders Newcastle, while Forest went down to a 2-1 defeat at Barnsley that leaves their hopes of a top-two finish looking shaky.

Graham Dorrans' 15th goal of the season and a late Ishmael Miller effort earned West Brom the spoils at the Liberty Stadium, and Baggies boss Di Matteo hailed the resolve of his side in securing a positive result at the league's fifth-placed outfit. He said: "It was important that we got something from this game.

"We have put ourselves in a good position after working hard all season and must continue to work hard so that we can stay there."

At Oakwell, Daniel Bogdanovic's brace, the second a penalty after Forest striker Robert Earnshaw fouled Filipe Teixeira, put the Tykes 2-0 up by the 65th minute.

Dexter Blackstock volleyed in Radoslaw Majewski's cross to halve the deficit but Forest were unable to stave off a sixth successive away league defeat.

Forest manager Billy Davies admitted his worst fears are now being realised after the damaging defeat, and reiterated his belief that his board of directors missed a trick by failing to sanction team-strengthening in January.

Davies said: "When you go 20 games undefeated and you go second in the league and you've got the best momentum and you're playing the best football in the division and you come off with a 3-1 result against West Brom on January 8, then, in my opinion, we needed three players."

Defender Bruno Berner's strike eight minutes after half-time earned fourth-placed Leicester a 1-0 win at 10-man Crystal Palace, who lost Claude Davis -- already booked -- to a straight red card three minutes before half-time.

Peter Whittingham, the division's top scorer, earned Cardiff, in sixth, the three points at Coventry with a last-minute penalty in a 2-1 win. Chris Burke had earlier cancelled out Clinton Morrison's opener for Coventry in the first half.

There was more late drama at the other end of the table as Plymouth, second from bottom, grabbed a last-minute winner to defeat Bristol City 3-2, and Peterborough were sunk by Doncaster's injury-time strike which sealed a 2-1 win.

Sheffield Wednesday moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference after overcoming a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 at Preston.

Gylfi Sigurdsson won and converted a penalty five minutes from time as Reading put daylight between themselves and the bottom three with a 1-0 win over QPR, while 10-man Middlesbrough earned a 2-2 draw at Derby.

Richard Cresswell's brace led Sheffield United to a 3-0 hammering of Blackpool while Watford were 2-1 winners over Ipswich.

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