Harewood heroics for Forest
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Portsmouth, Leicester City and Reading all won to keep the status quo at the top of the table, but Forest jump above The Blades into fourth as the Steel City outfit fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Norwich, and also ended the game with nine men.
Brighton managed to lift themselves out of the drop zone at the foot of the table with a slender win over Millwall and Grimsby replace them after watching three points fall from their grasp as Ipswich Town left it late to grab a point at Portman Road.
Harewood enjoyed an amazing first half at the City Ground against Stoke City when he rattled in four goals, three in the first 27 minutes and a penalty on the stroke of half time to put the hosts 4-0 up.
Petur Marteinsson was sent off for the visitors for handball resulting in the penalty, but the ten men managed to do a little better in the second 45 minutes by only allowing David Johnson and Eoin Jess to add to the score to finish an impressive 6-0 win for Forest and send them above Sheffield United into fourth.
Reading also continued their fine run of form as they grabbed their fifth win on the bounce with a comfortable 3-0 win against Rotherham at the Madejski Stadium.
The Royals had the game wrapped up by the time the half time whistle blew, with goals from James Harper (15), Andy Hughes (32) and Nicky Forster (40) grabbing the points for Alan Pardew's men who cement their third place spot and keep the pressure on the leaders.
Leicester City also enjoyed a comfortable win at home as a Paul Dickov hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win against Wimbledon, with Trevor Benjamin getting his second goal in two games to seal the win.
The Foxes held a vote amongst the crowd at half time in the game where the majority of the supporters favoured remaining as Leciester City, rejecting the plan of reverting to former name Leciester Fosse.
Portsmouth stay out in front at the top of the table as they ground out a gritty 1-0 win against a stubborn Gillingham side at Fratton Park thanks to a single goal from Arjan de Zeeuw.
Wolves strengthened their play-off place in sixth with a 2-0 win away at Preston North End thanks to goals from George Ndah and Kenny Miller and Dave Jones's troops now sit just a point behind Sheffield United.
Neil Warnock's Blades were the big losers of the day as the only side in the promotion race not to win as they suffered the second home defeat on the spin, this time a 1-0 reverse against Norwich City.
On-loan defender Wayne Quinn was sent off for The Blades just after the hour mark and things got even worse for the hosts when Paul McVeigh opened the scoring on 69 minutes.
Peter Ndlovu then made matters even worse as he was dismissed in the dying moments to cap a dreadful day for Warnock's stuttering side.
Brighton moved out of the relegation zone after a single goal from debutant Tony Rougier was enough for Steve Coppell's battlers to grind out a 1-0 win against Millwall at The Withdean.
Grimsby Town slipped back into the drop zone as a late leveller denied them an impressive win at Portman Road.
Darren Bent grabbed his second of the match in the last minute to level strikes from Paul Groves and Michael Boulding that looked to have handed The Mariners the points in Suffolk.
The 2-2 draw did neither side any favours as it further stunted Ipswich's charge towards the play-offs and saw Grimsby drop into the dreaded relegation zone.
Bradford enjoyed a good away day at Highfield Road as they earned a 2-0 win against Coventry City thanks to strikes from Andy Gray and Claus Jorgensen.
Burnley warmed up for their FA Cup replay with Fulham by grabbing a 2-0 win against Derby County at Turf Moor.
Ian Moore scored early on and Gareth Taylor doubled the lead on 23 minutes to grab all three points for Stan Ternent's side.
Walsall did their survival hopes the power of good by recording a 2-0 win over promotion hopefuls Watford at The Bescot Stadium.
Junior gave the The Saddlers the lead after 25 minutes and Jorge Leitao added a second late on to seal the win and dent The Hornets' play-off ambitions.
Sheffield Wednesday continue to show gradual improvement in their fight against the drop as they got a valuable point at Crystal Palace and remain three points from safety.