Championship round-up: Newcastle held 0-0 at Birmingham
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 19/03/17 5:47pm
Newcastle's bid for automatic promotion hit a stumbling block in the Midlands on Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Birmingham.
But Brighton squandered the opportunity to leapfrog Newcastle and go top of the table, beaten 2-0 in the evening game at Leeds, who are now fourth.
Elsewhere, Brentford came from 3-1 down at half-time to secure a stunning 5-3 win at Burton, Wolves eased their relegation worries with a 2-1 win at Fulham, Rotherham moved even closer to the drop as they were hammered 5-1 at QPR and Wigan also suffered a wounding defeat, 2-0 at home to Aston Villa.
Newcastle surprisingly left Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey on the bench and were unable to break down a resolute Birmingham side.
The Magpies have now gone three games without a win for the first time in the Championship season and Birmingham were the better side for long periods of the game.
Newcastle staged a late surge but Birmingham steadfastly refused to surrender, as goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak made a string of fine saves.
Fulham missed the chance to climb into the play-off places as they lost 3-1 at home to Wolves, who have climbed five points clear of the drop zone.
Ivan Cavaleiro gave Wolves a half-time lead after great approach work down the left from Helder Costa and Andreas Weimann put them 2-0 ahead early in the second period, shooting home left-footed after a great first touch.
Substitute Denis Odoi pulled one back for Fulham seven minutes later with a deflected effort from distance, but Dave Edwards restored the visitors' two-goal advantage, tapping into an empty net after further Costa excellence.
Burton are just a point above the drop zone after they threw away a 3-1 lead to lose 5-3 at home to Brentford.
Marvin Sordell's first-half close-range double from a pair of right-wing corners cancelled out Sergi Canos' early opener for Brentford and Cauley Woodrow's well-placed free-kick put Burton 3-1 up at the interval.
But Lasse Vibe struck twice after the break, either side of Canos' second, and Ramallo Jota added a late fifth for the Bees, getting on the end of a right-wing cross to delight the visiting fans.
QPR condemned rock-bottom Rotherham to a seventh straight defeat, as they romped to a 5-1 win at Loftus Road.
Matt Smith's early goal for the hosts was cancelled out by a superb long-range strike from Rotherham's Joe Newell.
But Luke Freeman capitalised on hesitation in the visiting defence to make it 2-1 to QPR and Yeni Ngbakoto added a 49th-minute penalty - for Aymen Belaid's foul on Smith when a long throw was hurled into the box.
Derby vs QPR
March 31, 2017, 7:00pm
Massimo Luongo then headed home his first QPR goal and Nedum Onuoha's late effort ensured another miserable afternoon for the struggling visitors.
Managerless Norwich halted their six-game winless run with a 2-0 home victory against Barnsley.
Jacob Murphy edged Norwich ahead just before the break with an angled shot into the far corner and Angus MacDonald's very unfortunate second-half own goal sealed Barnsley's fate.
Cardiff secured their first win in five with a 3-1 home victory over Ipswich, who had drawn their previous six.
Luke Chambers headed Ipswich into the lead, but Kenneth Zohore equalised before the break and notched his second soon after the restart, before Joe Bennett added Cardiff's third.
Aston Villa registered their fifth win in six league games, claiming a 2-0 victory at struggling Wigan thanks to second-half goals from James Chester and substitute Scott Hogan.
The lunchtime kick-offs provided great drama as Nottingham Forest and Preston both scored equalisers well into stoppage-time to salvage draws with Derby and Blackburn respectively.
There was a cracking derby at the City Ground, where Mark Warburton and Gary Rowett began their reigns in charge of Nottingham Forest and Derby.
Warburton's Forest tenure got off to a brilliant start when Zach Clough was on target after just four minutes.
But Derby then scored twice in two second-half minutes, Matej Vydra converting a left-wing cross from close range and David Nugent's header going in off the post, and it looked like Rowett was going to begin with a victory.
However, Daniel Pinillos bagged an equaliser deep into injury time, powerfully heading home a Ben Osborn corner to ensure both managers started out with a point.
Aidan McGeady was the hero for Preston at Blackburn, finding the net in the closing moments to secure a 2-2 draw and keep North End's play-off hopes alive.
All seemed to be going well for the visitors when Tom Barkhuizen expertly fired them into a 13th-minute lead, but Rovers battled back admirably through Elliott Bennett's 30-yard piledriver in the 43rd minute and Craig Conway's composed effort 13 minutes later.
Rovers were good value for the lead and could count themselves unfortunate when McGeady's cool finish from 12 yards out denied them victory.
The hosts did stretch their unbeaten run under head coach Tony Mowbray to seven games but they remain in the relegation zone.
Brighton had a chance to go top of the table with a win in the evening game but they were defeated 2-0 by Leeds at Elland Road.
Chris Wood struck his 23rd and 24th league goals of the season after the interval, his second from the penalty spot, to lift Leeds up to fourth, and they are now eight points behind Brighton, who occupy the second automatic promotion place.
Wood broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when he found the net with a looping header from Charlie Taylor's cross, and he slammed home his second from the penalty spot five minutes from full-time after Fikayo Tomori had brought down Souleymane Doukara.
Reading vs Leeds
April 1, 2017, 5:15pm