Championship roundup: Manuel Benson puts Burnley six points clear

Manuel Benson scored twice, making up for an earlier costly error, as Vincent Kompany’s Burnley moved six points clear at the top of the Championship with a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough.

The 25-year-old winger was on the mark twice in seven second-half minutes, having gifted Michael Carrick’s visitors the opening goal of the game just after half-time at Turf Moor. That Boro goal, scored by the substitute Duncan Watmore, came as Benson attempted to keep a loose ball in play on the halfway line. He succeeded only in hooking the ball blindly back towards his own goal, allowing Watmore to race through and convert.

Benson made amends on the hour, cutting past the full-back Ryan Giles before scoring the equaliser with a low, left-footed drive past Zack Steffen. Seven minutes later, he put Burnley in front when his dangerous right-wing cross was misjudged by Steffen and bounced in off the inside of the far post. Burnley then made it three goals in 12 minutes from Josh Brownhill’s 72nd-minute corner, with Jonny Howson flicking the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear.

There was late drama when, in the final minute of normal time, Boro were awarded a penalty and Connor Roberts shown a straight red card when the Burnley defender was judged to have punched Chuba Akpom’s header off the line after it had struck the crossbar. But Akpom’s spot-kick was saved well by Arijanet Muric, diving smartly low to his right, and Burnley could celebrate victory.

A second-half double from João Pedro earned Watford a 2-0 win over bottom-placed Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium. Slaven Bilic’s side sat back in the opening period as Huddersfield dominated possession but rarely troubled the visitors’ goal.

The Watford forward Keinan Davis was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty midway through the first half after being hauled back in the area, and they should have taken the lead before the break when João Pedro somehow missed from close range. But he made up for that early in the second half, scoring from eight yards out, before a late second from a corner with four minutes remaining sealed the points.

Blackburn climbed back above Watford into third after beating fifth-placed Norwich 2-0 at Carrow Road in the late match. Ben Gibson’s early own goal put Rovers ahead and Norwich could count themselves unfortunate when Tyrhys Dolan’s shot was deflected in for the visitors’ second four minutes from time.

Neil Critchley enjoyed a perfect return to Championship management as Jimmy Dunne’s second-half strike fired QPR to a much-needed 1-0 win at Preston. Dunne’s 58th-minute goal proved the difference between the two sides as Preston were continually frustrated by the visitors. The result marked the best start possible for the former Blackpool manager Critchley, who replaced Michael Beale at QPR after his high-profile departure to Rangers last month.

The substitute Liam Cullen completed a remarkable comeback as Swansea came from three goals down to salvage a dramatic 3-3 draw against Coventry at the CBS Arena. Jonathan Panzo, Jamie Allen and Viktor Gyokeres put the Sky Blues in the driving seat before Joel Piroe and Jay Fulton reduced the deficit. Cullen had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when he poked in from close range to complete the turnaround for Swansea, who came into the match without a win in six.

West Brom picked up their fifth successive league victory under their new manager, Carlos Corberán, as they beat Rotherham 3-0. Jed Wallace opened the scoring inside 20 minutes at the Hawthorns, Grady Diangana added another in the 58th minute and the points were secured in the 70th when Brandon Thomas-Asante converted the rebound from a penalty he had won.

Jacob Brown scored a second-half winner as Stoke came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate. The hosts took a 33rd-minute lead when Nahki Wells converted from close range for his eighth goal of the season, but Stoke were level in first-half stoppage time when Liam Delap capitalised on a defensive mix-up. The Potters went in front 12 minutes after the break through Brown’s low drive from an angle inside the box after good work from Josh Tymon and Tyrese Campbell.

Gary Madine returned to haunt his former club Cardiff with a second-half equaliser that secured a 1-1 draw for Blackpool. Madine, who failed to find the net in 28 games for the Bluebirds across three seasons after they paid Bolton £6m for the striker in 2017, scored with a deflected header in the 67th minute to rescue a point for the Tangerines, who up to then had been dismal. Cardiff had led through a 36th-minute Kion Etete strike and will be deeply frustrated at letting the victory slip.

Earlier, Cardiff confirmed to the BBC that they had been placed under a transfer embargo after failing to pay the first instalment of the fee owed to the Ligue 1 club Nantes for Emiliano Sala. Sala’s plane crashed in the Channel, killing him as well as the pilot, as the Argentinian travelled to Cardiff after signing for £15m in January 2019.

Cardiff had appealed against a Fifa decision ordering them to pay the first instalment of his transfer fee, which amounted to €6m. The court of arbitration for sport (Cas) said in August that Cardiff had to pay Nantes the first instalment. The Welsh club appealed the Cas decision to a Swiss federal court, with a verdict expected next year.

Cardiff said they are also talking to the English Football League and Fifa to resolve the issue.

Ozan Tufan rescued a point for Hull as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with 10-men Sunderland at the MKM Stadium. The midfielder was the man who lost the ball in the build-up to Ross Stewart’s opener for Sunderland in the 74th minute, with the forward breaking free to slot the ball home on his return from injury. But Tufan’s goal spared some blushes for the home side, who had the numerical advantage for most of the second half following Elliot Embleton’s red card, as he poked a Ryan Woods cross home with just eight minutes remaining.