West Bromwich Albion moved to the top of England’s second-tier Championship in spite of being held to a goalless draw by Birmingham City at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
West Brom looked rusty on their return to action after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with their profligacy in front of goal proving costly.
Earlier in the day, Swansea striker Rhian Brewster scored the first goal of the Championship’s return in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.
The Liverpool loanee pounced on a loose ball inside the Middlesbrough penalty area and slotted past goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic before unveiling a t-shirt with the message “our colour is not a crime”.
Brewster added a second three minutes later before Andre Ayew’s penalty kick sealed a 3-0 victory for the visitors, who climbed to eighth place.
The defeat left Middlesbrough in 21st and outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
At Craven Cottage, Fulham’s bid for automatic promotion was dealt a massive blow as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat by Brentford.
Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, the league’s top scorer with 23 goals, missed a series of gilt-edged opportunities before Brentford winger Said Benrahma put his side in front in the 89th minute.
Substitute Emiliano Marcondes added Brentford’s second in stoppage time to seal the victory and move them to within one point of third-placed Fulham.
Meanwhile, Derby County kept themselves in contention for a top-six finish after edging out Millwall 3-2, with 18-year-old midfielder Louie Sibley netting a hat-trick.
Barnsley, second from bottom, breathed new life into their bid for survival as they eked out a 1-0 victory against 13th-placed Queens Park Rangers.
They moved to within four points of the safety zone.
Elsewhere, sixth-placed Preston North End were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom-side Luton Town.
Also, Charlton Athletic, who were without their top scorer Lyle Taylor, moved out of the relegation zone and into 19th.
They secured a 1-0 win against Hull City, who dropped into the bottom three.(Reuters/NAN)