Newcastle draw lets Brighton cut gap

Newcastle draw lets Brighton cut gap

Newcastle United’s lead at the top of England’s second-tier Championship was cut to three points after they could only draw 0-0 at Reading on Tuesday.

Second-place Brighton and Hove Albion bounced back from successive defeats with a 2-0 win at bottom club Rotherham United, while third-place Huddersfield Town beat Aston Villa 1-0.

Huddersfield trail Newcastle by nine points and Brighton by six, but have a game in hand, with the top two teams guaranteed automatic promotion.

“The main thing for us is we have to be happy to take seven points from the past three away games,” Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez told the BBC.

“Today was a pity as I think in the first half we had so many clear chances that there could’ve been three points there.”

Newcastle striker Daryl Murphy saw a header cleared off the line at the Madejski Stadium, but Garath McCleary almost snatched an injury-time winner for Reading with a shot that grazed the bar.

Brighton went in front early in the second half through Anthony Knockaert at Rotherham, with substitute Solly March adding a second goal 11 minutes from the end.

Huddersfield kept up the pressure on the leading pair thanks to defender Tommy Smith’s 69th-minute goal at home to Villa.

Leeds United remain fourth, three points below Huddersfield, after a stoppage-time Tom Cairney goal saw them held to a 1-1 draw at Fulham.

Tim Ream’s own goal had given Leeds the lead at Craven Cottage, but midfielder Kalvin Phillips’s dismissal gave the home side the initiative and they levelled through Cairney at the death.

Sheffield Wednesday remain sixth, two points behind Reading, following a 1-1 draw at home to Burton Albion, who earned a share of the points through Jackson Irvine’s sweet volley.

Ross Wallace had put Wednesday in front from long range effort in the 16th minute.

Second-bottom Wigan Athletic boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Birmingham City that left them two points from safety.

Third-bottom Bristol City fought back to draw 1-1 with Norwich City, while Blackburn Rovers claimed a 1-1 draw at home to Cardiff City courtesy of Derrick Williams’ last-minute equaliser.

Wolverhampton Wanderers continue to sit one place above the drop zone after a goalless draw at Ipswich Town, but they retain two games in hand on most of the teams around them.

Lasse Vibe scored twice as Brentford edged Nottingham Forest 3-2, Queens Park Rangers beat Barnsley 2-1 and Tom Barkhuizen’s injury-time strike earned Preston North End a 1-1 draw at Derby County.