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Championship: Blackpool hit QPR for six, Wilder earns first Watford win

Blackpool gave themselves renewed hope of avoiding relegation from the Championship thanks to a thumping 6-1 victory against QPR.

The Seasiders recorded by far their biggest win of the season to move within just three points of potential safety, and seven points off their fast-falling opponents. Victory was all but secured for Mick McCarthy’s side as they went three up inside the first 14 minutes at Bloomfield Road.

The hosts were awarded a penalty after only 44 seconds, with Rob Dickie adjudged to have handled Jerry Yates’ shot in the area. Yates fired the penalty into the top corner, before Andy Lyons made it two from CJ Hamilton’s superb drag-back after 11 minutes.

Just three minutes later, QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng hopelessly spilt James Husband’s cross at the feet of Curtis Nelson, who slotted into an empty net from 15 yards. Nine minutes before the break, Jordan Thorniley headed home from Charlie Patino’s corner, leading some away fans to head for the exits before Chris Martin pulled a goal back for Gareth Ainsworth’s visitors.

It was five for Blackpool just three minutes after the restart. After Dieng had tipped Lyons’ thunderbolt over the crossbar, the midfielder then headed home from another Patino corner. Rogers hit the inside of the post, before substitute Kenny Dougall’s crisp late finish made it six.

Chris Wilder earned his first victory as Watford manager on his debut in the home dugout as the Hornets saw off Birmingham 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

Imran Louza and Keinan Davis scored within the first 16 minutes of a painful evening for Blues manager John Eustace – a former Watford captain as a player. Louza fired home from Ken Sema’s cross after seven minutes and then set up Aston Villa loanee Davis to finish a counterattacking move.

Birmingham were relieved to get in at half-time only two goals down, but rallied in the second half with Scott Hogan and Auston Trusty missing chances to cut the deficit. They were punished 15 minutes from time when substitute Britt Assombalonga bundled past John Ruddy for Watford’s third goal.

Middlesbrough missed the chance to go within a point of Sheffield United in second as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke at the Riverside Stadium.

Boro hit the front midway through the first half when Chuba Akpom tucked in his 23rd goal of the season, but Ki-Jana Hoever levelled just before half-time with his third goal in two games. Alex Neil’s visitors largely kept the hosts quiet and came closest to a winner through Jacob Brown’s close-range header.

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Millwall consolidated their position in the play-off places by beating struggling Swansea 2-1 at the Den. After a low-key first half, the game burst into life soon after the restart as Charlie Cresswell poked home the hosts’ opening goal in the 48th minute.

Seven minutes later, Andreas Voglsammer doubled Millwall’s lead with his second in as many games as his scruffy shot squirmed past Swansea keeper Andy Fisher. Swansea struck back within three minutes, Ryan Manning deflecting Matt Grimes’ 20-yard strike past George Long, but the visitors could not find an equaliser.

Wigan put their financial woes aside to earn a valuable point at home to Coventry and move off the bottom of the table in the process. Viktor Gyokeres headed the visitors in front from Jake Bidwell’s cross early in the second half, but with eight minutes to go, Ryan Nyambe’s cross went in off City defender Kyle McFadzean.

Preston kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 win at Rotherham, who are still looking over their shoulder despite improved recent form. First-half goals from Tom Cannon and Ched Evans saw the hosts stretch their unbeaten run to seven games, with Hakeem Odoffin on target for the Millers in between North End’s goals.

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