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Championship roundup: Promotion challengers stumbling over final stretch

Ed Sykes / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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The race for guaranteed promotion to the Premier League took another twist on Saturday as more teams at the top of the Championship table dropped points.

After Leicester stumbled again with a 1-0 defeat at Plymouth on Friday and Leeds lost ground by losing to Blackburn by the same score earlier on Saturday, it left Ipswich with a chance to pull clear.

But Ipswich had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Middlesbrough. A share of the spoils at Portman Road put Ipswich a point clear of Leicester at the top.

Ipswich have three league fixtures left to play but Leicester have a game in hand.

Only the top two teams at the end of the regular season are guaranteed automatic promotion to the lucrative Premier League, with the final place decided by a series of play-off games involving the teams finishing third to sixth. 

Middlesbrough took the lead after 20 minutes through a header from Emmanuel Latte Lath but Ipswich equalised 10 minutes later when Massimo Luongo thundered in a corner.

"Frustration isn't my feeling at the moment," said Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna. "Maybe it will be tomorrow, but at the moment it's pride around the performance."

Leeds were left third, a point behind Leicester, after Sammie Szmodics's 24th league goal of the season, eight minutes from time, sealed a 1-0 win for Blackburn.

Southampton looked as if they were on course for a comfortable win over Watford as goals from Will Smallbone and Che Adams put them 2-0 up.

But the Hornets hit back through Ryan Porteous and Ismael Kone before, nine minutes into injury time, Flynn Downes grabbed a 3-2 win for the Saints.

Victory left Southampton in fourth, seven points adrift of the top two, but with two games in hand.

West Brom should still make the play-offs but lost 1-0 at home to Sunderland, Pierre Ekwah scoring after West Brom's Brandon Thomas-Asante had been sent off.

Sixth-placed Norwich remained six points clear of Hull after Gabriel Sara's late goal sealed a 1-0 win at Preston.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield Wednesday were left in the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw with Stoke.

Liam Palmer put the Owls ahead in the 68th minute but eight minutes later Stoke were level through Liam Cundle.

Huddersfield joined Wednesday in the bottom three after they too were held to a 1-1 draw by Bristol City.

It looked as if Huddersfield would climb out of the drop zone after Josh Koroma put them ahead before former Town striker Nakhi Wells equalised with a penalty in the 10th minute of added time.

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