It is one of the most awkward NFL Draft images of all time.

Eli Manning, stood next to then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, holding up a San Diego Chargers jersey he never had any intention of wearing.

Manning, the top pick of the 2004 draft, made clear his desire not to play for San Diego, and his refusal to do so led to him being swiftly traded to the New York Giants for fellow quarterback Philip Rivers.

Friday marks 16 years to the day of that tumultuous first round, which will forever live in NFL infamy.

But Manning is far from the only sports star to refuse to play for his team.

Here we look at five others to have taken that stance.

Geoffrey Boycott 1974-77

One of English cricket's greatest batsmen, Boycott went into self-enforced exile from the international game for reasons that remain unclear.

Boycott has since stated a loss of appetite for Test cricket was behind that decision, but others point to Mike Denness and Tony Greig's appointments to the England captaincy.

The observation has been made that Boycott left the England set-up during the peak of the careers of several legendary fast bowlers including Dennis Lillee and Michael Holding.

Boycott has taken a dim view of such comments and he made his return in 1977 against Australia and in a display of the obduracy that defined his career, batted on each of the five days at Trent Bridge, a feat only three other England players have subsequently emulated.

Dominique Wilkins 1982

Having starred at the University of Georgia, Wilkins was unhappy at being selected third overall in the NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.

Unwilling to play for the Jazz, who at the time were blighted by cash-flow problems, Wilkins was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks months later.

In exchange for Wilkins, the Jazz received John Drew, Freeman Williams, and $1million, but the deal was one they would live to regret.

Wilkins went on to become a nine-time All-Star, while Drew and Williams played only a combined four seasons for Utah.

John Elway 1983

A sought-after prospect in both American football and baseball, Elway leveraged his appeal to the latter to get out of playing for the NFL's then Baltimore Colts.

Elway was said to be reluctant to play for the Colts and his father cautioned him against working under head coach Frank Kush.

He took the advice of his dad and, when the Colts selected him first overall, reacted by saying: "As I stand here right now, I'm playing baseball."

That was a legitimate option for Elway, who had been drafted in the second round of the 1981 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.

A Major League Baseball career never came to pass, though, as the Colts agreed to trade Elway to the Denver Broncos for offensive lineman Chris Hinton, backup quarterback Mark Herrmann and a first-round pick in 1984.

Elway would go on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and won two Super Bowls with the Broncos. His concerns about the Colts proved justified, as they moved to Indianapolis in 1984 and continued to struggle until the 1990s.

Bo Jackson 1986

One man who did play in both MLB and the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed out on one of the most dynamic athletes in American sports history despite selecting Jackson first overall.

Jackson refused to play for the Buccaneers as a visit to their facilities proved to be against NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) rules when Tampa Bay had insisted it was permitted.

As a result, Jackson missed the rest of his final college baseball season and elected to re-enter the draft the following year while spending 1986 playing for MLB's Kansas City Royals.

He was selected in the seventh round of the 1987 draft by the Oakland Raiders, whose owner Al Davis permitted him to play both sports.

The 1989 All-Star Game MVP, Jackson's achievements in baseball surpassed what he did on the football field, with a hip injury meaning he played only four seasons in the NFL.

Still, for the Bucs it was a case of what might have been.

Pierre van Hooijdonk 1998

Having returned from the World Cup to find promises of squad strengthening had not been met, Nottingham Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk asked for a transfer.

That request was rejected, leading Van Hooijdonk, furious at the sale of strike partner Kevin Campbell and adamant he had previously been told he could leave if he wished, went on strike, keeping fit by training with former club NAC Breda.

Forest refused to entertain offers for Van Hooijdonk, leading to an impasse that lasted until November, when he finally returned.

He scored six goals but was unable to keep Forest in the Premier League, as they finished bottom and made an immediate return to the second tier.

Their relegation led to Van Hooijdonk getting his wish in the form of a move to Vitesse, and spells with Benfica, Feyenoord and Fenerbahce followed.

Seventy-three years after his MLB debut on April 15, Jackie Robinson continues to be remembered by MLB.

The man who broke the colour barrier is celebrated on Jackie Robinson Day, with players, coaches and managers alike wearing his number 42 during games.

April 15 is poignant for Liverpool fans, due to the Hillsborough disaster, and Bostonians, because of the Boston Marathon bombing.

 

1947 - Jackie Robinson breaks down the colour barrier

In 1947, 28-year-old Robinson walked out onto Ebbets Field, Brooklyn and became the first black player ever to appear in MLB.

Robinson was a six-time All-Star, a National League MVP and a 1955 World Series champion during his time with the Dodgers.

He would go on to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame and his number 42 has been retired by all MLB teams.

 

1986 - Richards' rapid century against England

One of Test cricket's finest batsmen produced one of his greatest innings against England in Antigua.

West Indian Viv Richards needed just 56 balls to reach three figures, smashing seven sixes and as many fours before finishing unbeaten on 110 not out from 58 deliveries.

It was a record that stood for 30 years before New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, the current record-holder, broke the mark in two fewer deliveries.

 

1986 - 96 fans die in Hillsborough disaster 

On the same day as Richards was making history, Liverpool were mourning the worst sporting disaster in British history.

Ninety-six people lost their lives while 766 were injured when fans were crushed at Hillsborough in Sheffield during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday.

In a subsequent enquiry, The Taylor Report recommended a move to all-seater stadia, which led to a ban on standing for clubs in the top two flights in 1994.

 

2013 - Boston Marathon bombings kill three, injure hundreds

During the 117th annual Boston Marathon, which took place on Patriots Day seven years ago, two bombs detonated near the finish line.

Three people died while a further 264 were injured. At least 14 people required amputations.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who remains on death row, later admitted to carrying out the attack with his brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during the manhunt that followed the bombing.

Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has funded a new intensive care unit at a Greek hospital worth more than €1.5million.

Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus on March 10 and was treated back in his homeland.

The 52-year-old announced two weeks later that he had fully recovered from the virus and praised the "hero" health workers who treated him.

Marinakis has now contributed money towards an ICU at the General Public Hospital of Nikaia.

In a statement, Olympiacos said Marinakis had provided "once more a helping hand so that our public health system may cope with the huge challenges that have occurred".

They said: "The leader of Olympiacos along with Mrs. Aggeliki Fragkou and ΙΟΝ SA ΙΟΝ Α.Ε. donated an amount that exceeded €1.5m in total to be used for the procurement of 12 fully-equipped ICUs spaces (ICU-specific beds, high-tech ventilators, specific monitors, pumps, defibrillators, etc..), payment of all required installation and room configuration costs, E/M works, health and medical equipment, as well as all additional costs of the additional extension of the Hospital's intensive care unit."

It is hoped the new facility will be ready to receive patients in the next two months.

Greece has recorded 2,011 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 90 deaths.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, European football is continuing to deal with its consequences.

We take a look at how COVID-19 has affected the top five leagues, as well as associated players and teams.

 

Italy

Serie A, Serie B, Coppa Italia – POSTPONED

Following a government decree issued on Monday, all public gathering are prohibited until April 3, with the whole country put on lockdown.

This directly impacts domestic football, which has been postponed. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is exploring alternatives if the Serie A season – which is constrained by international deadlines relating to Euro 2020 – cannot run its course.

The three suggestions the FIGC has put forward are: to end the season early and crown the leader at that point as champions; halt the 2019-20 campaign without any team winning the title; or have play-offs for the Scudetto and relegation spots.

Germany

Bundesliga, 2.Bundesliga – ACTIVE

The situation in Germany is being dealt with on a case-by-case basis in local regions and is yet to cause widespread disruption to the two highest divisions, however COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.

Bavaria's government has prohibited events with more than 1,000 people until April 19, in a move that will impact Bayern Munich and Augsburg from the Bundesliga.

Die Roten's Champions League meeting with Chelsea next Wednesday will take place in an empty Allianz Arena, though their away match against Union Berlin this weekend is set to go ahead as normal.

Next Wednesday's Rhine derby between Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne has already been confirmed as the first Bundesliga game to be played with no fans.

Germany's Euro 2020 warm-up friendly against Italy on March 31 will also be behind closed doors.

France

Ligue 1, Ligue 2 – BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

After a previous government decision had announced matches could only be played in front of a maximum of 1,000 fans, authorities have since demanded all games go ahead with no spectators until April 15.

Paris Saint-Germain have already had their meeting with Strasbourg – initially set for last weekend – postponed due to coronavirus, while their upcoming Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund will be played without fans.

LaLiga

LaLiga, La Segunda – BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

It was confirmed on Tuesday that all sporting events in Spain will be played behind closed doors over the next two weeks.

However, following the request of Segunda side Real Zaragoza to postpone all matches instead, the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) added weight to such a call, insisting Spain should be following the lead of countries like Italy and Switzerland.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is set to make a decision on Friday regarding the friendly with Germany at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid on March 26.

England

Premier League, the Football League – ACTIVE

As of March 10, English football is yet to be directly impacted by COVID-19.

However, Championship side Nottingham Forest confirmed on Tuesday their owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for the virus.

It is unclear how that will impact on Forest and the division as a whole.

The coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Tuesday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while games taking place in empty arenas will become a regular sight in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

In France, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games will be played behind closed doors until April 15. France's minister for sport Roxana Maracineanu had on Monday said games could be played with a limit of 1,000 fans, but the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed on Tuesday that no fans will be permitted. Earlier, Maracineanu called for fans to show "responsibility" and avoid "any damaging impact on public order" when Paris Saint-Germain play Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The friendly between Germany and Italy, set to take place on March 31 in Nuremberg, will now be played behind closed doors, the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed. Additionally, there will be no fans at the Bundesliga game between Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin on March 14.

Also in Germany, the rearranged Bundesliga match between rivals Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne, which was originally cancelled due to Storm Ciara, will now be played behind closed doors on Wednesday.

Gladbach CEO Stephan Schippers expressed his concern at a news conference, saying: "From a commercial perspective, you can't plan for something like this. 

"We will lose €2million per game. We have insurance against games that are called off, but not if they are played behind closed doors. That will hurt all clubs, including Borussia, financially.

"Fans have the right to be reimbursed. The settlement process will be discussed, but for now we need to see if more games will also follow. In that sense, we will find the right solution."

All sporting activity in Italy is suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions. Following that, it was confirmed the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Napoli at Camp Nou on March 18 will go ahead behind closed doors. The Italian club insisted reports claiming they wanted the match to be postponed were "fake news".

The PGA of America and PGA Tour have rejected suggestions the US PGA Championship, which is to be held from May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park, could be moved from San Francisco after this week's tennis tournaments in Indian Wells were cancelled. 

"They [PGA of America officials] are fully planning on proceeding with the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. "There is no plan at this point in time for the PGA Championship to be held here. It's going to be held at TPC Harding Park."

However, the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas, which was scheduled for April 3-5 in Austin, is postponed and will instead take place in November.

In the first indication that coronavirus could impact the NCAA men's basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, in the United States, the Ivy League announced its postseason tournament is cancelled. Yale have been declared Ivy League champions and will represent it in March Madness.

Wales will follow the advice of Italian authorities on whether Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be allowed to leave the country to take part in their home matches with Austria and USA later this month, amid the lockdown on travel in Italy.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport released a statement insisting there was "no rationale" to postponing sporting events at this stage in the United Kingdom. Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said the message sporting authorities had received from the government was "let's not panic".

Matches in Poland's top flight, the Ekstraklasa, will be played without supporters until further notice. The Europa League final is scheduled to be played in Gdansk on May 27.

Ticket sales for Northern Ireland's away Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 26 have been suspended amid fears over the outbreak.

The Euro 2020 play-off match between the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia in Bratislava on March 26 will be played with no fans present on the instruction of the Slovakian government, with all supporters who bought tickets to be refunded.

The owner of Greek side Olympiacos and Championship club Nottingham Forest, Evangelos Marinakis, has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19. He wrote on Instagram: "The virus has 'visited' me and I felt obliged to let the public know. I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors' instructions."

The coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Tuesday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while games taking place in empty arenas will become a regular sight in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

In Germany, the rearranged Bundesliga match between rivals Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne, which was originally cancelled due to Storm Ciara, will now be played behind closed doors on Wednesday.

All sporting activity in Italy is suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee, in a decision pending government ratification made on Monday. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions. Following that, it was confirmed the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Napoli on March 18 will go ahead behind closed doors. The Italian club insisted reports claiming they wanted the match to be postponed were "fake news".

Wales will follow the advice of Italian authorities on whether Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be allowed to leave the country to take part in their home matches with Austria and the United States later this month, amid the lockdown on travel in Italy.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport released a statement insisting there was "no rationale" to postponing sporting events at this stage in the United Kingdom. Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said the message sporting authorities had received from the government was "let's not panic".

Former Manchester United captain, Salford City co-owner and influential pundit Gary Neville has declared he is not in support of matches behind closed doors. "If it's necessary to shut down stadiums the associations must find a way of delaying the season and playing the games when it is safe to do so to protect the revenues for clubs that require this income to survive," he tweeted.

Matches in Poland's top flight, the Ekstraklasa, will be played without supporters until further notice. The Europa League final is scheduled to be played in Gdansk on May 27.

Ticket sales for Northern Ireland's away Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 26 have been suspended amid fears over the outbreak.

The owner of Championship club Nottingham Forest, Evangelos Marinakis, has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19. He wrote on Instagram: "The virus has 'visited' me and I felt obliged to let the public know. I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors' instructions."

Millwall stunned Nottingham Forest on Friday as a Matt Smith hat-trick secured a 3-0 Championship win at the City Ground.

Sabri Lamouchi's men went into the match knowing victory would have taken them level on points with third-place Fulham and five adrift of Leeds United in the automatic promotion places.

However, they were undone by three Smith goals in 13 first-half minutes as Millwall closed to within two points of the play-offs.

Smith's clever header from Murray Wallace's cross put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes, and he was credited with a second when he deflected Jayson Molumby's effort beyond goalkeeper Brice Samba.

The striker completed his treble by nodding in Shane Ferguson's corner, leaving Forest to ponder a run of form that has seen them win just twice in eight league matches.

Lewis Grabban rescued a 2-2 draw for Nottingham Forest after Championship strugglers Middlesbrough looked set to end their long wait for a victory at the Riverside Stadium on Monday.

Forest knew a win on Teesside would move them six points behind second-placed Leeds United in the battle for automatic promotion and they hit the front courtesy of Ryan Yates' first-time strike 29 minutes in.

Boro turned it around with two goals in the space of four minutes late in the first half, though, Rudy Gestede heading home before Brice Samba allowed Lewis Wing's shot to beat him too easily.

Jonathan Woodgate's side appeared to be climbing out of the relegation zone with what would have been a first win in 12 matches across all competitions, but Grabban capitalised on weak goalkeeping from Aynsley Pears to finish four minutes from time.

Championship leaders West Brom extended their advantage over Leeds United to seven points on Tuesday but Brentford's winless run goes on after they slipped up on their travels.

With their nearest rivals in the table not in action until Wednesday, the Baggies recorded a fifth win in six league outings as they overcame a Preston North End side who had Darnell Fisher sent off in the second half.

While Nottingham Forest moved up to third place thanks to a narrow triumph away to Cardiff City, fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City slumped to a 2-1 loss at Huddersfield Town.

QPR prevailed by a 2-1 score at home to Derby County, too, with Ilias Chair grabbing the winner for the hosts in the 75th minute.

 

HAL JUST HEAVENLY FOR BAGGIES

Preston are still searching for their first away win over West Brom since 1992 after going down 2-0 at a snowy Hawthorns.

Hal Robson-Kanu opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Jake Livermore doubled the advantage for Slaven Bilic's side in first-half stoppage time, with the visitors' hopes of a comeback curtailed when Fisher was shown a straight red for a challenge on Callum Robinson.

Leeds will hope to cut the gap when they visit Middlesbrough, but Forest are now only three points behind the Yorkshire club after Tiago Silva's 49th-minute goal was enough to beat Cardiff.

 

BEES BUZZED IN PROMOTION FIGHT

Brentford have now gone four league games without a victory after they were beaten 2-1 at struggling Luton Town.

The Bees were stung by an own goal by Shandon Baptiste in the ninth minute, with Martin Cranie then putting the hosts 2-0 up before the break.

Ollie Watkins pulled one back late on, yet Luton hung on for their 10th win of the campaign, lifting them off the bottom of the table as they climbed above Barnsley.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, moved further clear of the drop zone. Chris Willock and Karlan Grant, who converted from the spot, secured them the three points at the expense of seventh-placed Bristol City.

Leeds United beat Reading 1-0 at Elland Road to move five points clear of the chasing pack in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship.

Third-placed Fulham were held 1-1 by Derby County on Friday and Brentford in fourth played out a 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers.

Nottingham Forest and Bristol City also dropped points, drawing 0-0 with QPR and losing 3-0 to leaders West Brom respectively, with the Baggies maintaining their four-point gap on Leeds.

Elsewhere, Wigan Athletic and Barnsley picked up wins to boost their survival hopes.

LEEDS, WEST BROM PULLING AWAY

Pablo Hernandez's 57th-minute strike earned Leeds back-to-back 1-0 home wins.

West Brom appear over their mid-season wobble after making it four wins in five matches with a comfortable victory.

Callum Robinson put Slaven Bilic's side on course for an 11th away win of the campaign with a fortuitous opener and Hal Robson-Kanu netted twice, either side of Romaine Sawyers' straight red for grabbing Jamie Paterson by the throat.

CHASING PACK FALTER

Brentford fought from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Blackburn as they joined west London rivals Fulham in dropping points.

Ollie Watkins scored an impressive volley and Said Benrahma netted from the penalty spot to cancel out Adam Armstrong's double.

Forest missed out on the chance to move up to third after failing to break down QPR in a stalemate at City Ground, while Preston North End recovered from a goal down to beat Hull City 2-1.

HOPE FOR WIGAN, BARNSLEY

Shaun Hutchinson's own goal was enough for Wigan to earn just an eighth league win of the campaign at home to Millwall, while Barnsley built on their shock 3-0 win at Fulham last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

Wigan and Barnsley are now two and five points adrift of 21st-placed Huddersfield respectively following the Terriers' 3-1 defeat at Swansea City.

Luton Town are now occupying bottom place, with Lyle Taylor's double earning Charlton Athletic a 3-1 win.

Elsewhere, a Callum Paterson own goal and a scrambled finish from Joe Allen saw Stoke City earn a 2-0 home win against Cardiff City that leaves them three points clear of the drop-zone.

SIX-GOAL THRILLER AT ST ANDREW'S

Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday remain locked on 45 points following a 3-3 draw.

Garry Monk was denied a winning return to one of his former clubs by Scott Hogan's equaliser in added time, the Aston Villa loanee's fourth goal in five matches.

Wednesday had twice battled back from a goal down before Jacob Murphy put them in front, but they are now winless in six outings.

Leeds United ended a three-match winless run in the Championship as Luke Ayling's early strike earned Marcelo Bielsa's side a 1-0 victory over Bristol City.

That moved Leeds back to just four points behind leaders West Brom, who were held 2-2 at home by Nottingham Forest after Matty Cash's late leveller for the visitors at the Hawthorns.

Third-placed Fulham were thumped 3-0 at home by bottom-of-the-table Barnsley, while Brentford nudged above Forest and into fourth place thanks to a 1-1 draw at Birmingham.

Preston, who sit sixth, suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Millwall, further muddying the play-off picture in the English second tier.

Leeds emerge from a storm

With their promotion hopes hurt by recent defeats to Forest and Wigan, a midweek draw with Brentford offered Leeds some encouragement. They have made slumping after strong starts a familiar trait, yet Saturday's narrow success put their promotion push back on track.

Ayling, a former Bristol City player, drove home from eight yards in the 16th minute, his left-footed strike coming after the ball pinged around the penalty area.

In blustery conditions, Helder Costa should have scored a second for Leeds when he went around Daniel Bentley but allowed the City goalkeeper to get back to make a desperate save.

The conditions were far from helpful, with litter from the stands blowing across the pitch, but Leeds held strong to reignite their promotion push.

Baggies blow

West Brom and Forest played out an entertaining four-goal game in the early kick-off, but the Baggies' three-match winning run is over and that will give the likes of Leeds encouragement.

Callum Robinson fired West Brom ahead after 37 minutes, before Kyle Bartley's own goal levelled up the game by half-time. A second own goal, this time from Tobias Figueiredo, restored West Brom's lead and looked set to bring the hosts maximum points.

Yet a twist in the narrative arrived in the first minute of stoppage time, with Cash driving forward and cracking in a sublime leveller, a ferocious finish that arrowed across Sam Johnstone and into the far left corner.

 

Chasing pack step off the pace

Scott Parker saw his Fulham side flop against Barnsley, with Cauley Woodrow's double - the first a penalty - and Jacob Brown's fine strike giving the Tykes a stunning Craven Cottage win and a glimmer of hope in their attempt to beat the drop.

The goals came early at St Andrew's where Birmingham took a 13th-minute lead against Brentford through Lukas Jutkiewicz, with Ethan Pinnock grabbing an equaliser four minutes later.

Stoke led QPR 2-0 after 31 minutes at Loftus Road but crumbled to a 4-2 defeat, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Ilias Chair grabbing late goals for the London side. Ryan Tunnicliffe's strike gave Luton a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough, and Shaun Hutchinson headed Millwall to their victory at Preston.

Ten-man Owls humbled

Cardiff CIty drew 2-2 at home against Wigan, while Yakou Meite, George Puscas and Sam Baldock, with a stoppage-time penalty, netted as Reading romped home 3-0 at Sheffield Wednesday, who had Osaze Urhoghide sent off early in the second half.

John Buckley and Tosin Adarabioyo cracked in first-half goals at The Valley as Blackburn were 2-0 winners against Charlton, nudging Rovers closer to the play-off picture.

A 25-yard strike from Tom Lawrence gave Derby County the lead at home against Huddersfield, but it finished 1-1 at Pride Park after a surging run and smart finish from Harry Toffolo.

Kiko Casilla made another alarming blunder in the Leeds United goal on Tuesday, but Marcelo Bielsa's men nevertheless managed to avoid a fifth Championship defeat in six matches as they drew 1-1 at Brentford.

Out-of-form Leeds were always expecting a tough tussle with fellow promotion hopefuls Brentford, but in the end the home side failed to live up to expectations having won each of their previous two games.

Nottingham Forest would have moved level on 56 points with Leeds had they beaten Charlton Athletic, but the struggling Addicks came away from the City Ground with a shock 1-0 win to boost their survival hopes.

Swansea City will feel they missed an opportunity to close in on the play-off places, as they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to QPR.

CASILLA CULPABLE BUT LEEDS SHOW SPIRIT

Although they remain second in the Championship, Leeds' form of late has been utterly wretched, with a 3-2 win over Millwall their solitary victory in any competition this year.

Casilla has been a regular problem, with the experienced Spanish goalkeeper making several high-profile errors and he was at it again at Griffin Park in the first half, allowing a routine back-pass to slide under his foot and the in-form Said Benrahma pounced to open the scoring.

But generally, Leeds performed well and equalised late in the first half, Liam Cooper netting from close range following a corner.

A second half of few chances resulted in the two sides cancelling each other out, with Brentford unable to really get their much-vaunted attack into the match.

CHARLTON SPRING A SURPRISE

Heading into Tuesday's fixtures, Forest knew a victory could potentially put them up to second – as it was, they dropped down a place into fifth.

Charlton claimed only their second league win since Boxing Day, and the decisive goal was worthy of winning any match.

Naby Sarr made a wonderful challenge on the halfway line, ran on to the loose ball and then delivered a delightful cross towards the back post – Lyle Taylor turning it in on the volley.

Forest piled the pressure on at times in the second half, but they failed to find a way through, seemingly paying the price for significant rotation from the team that beat Leeds 2-0 on Saturday.

BLACKBURN CRUISE WITH LATE FLURRY

Rovers appeared to be heading for a third successive Championship match without a win, but three goals in the final 17 minutes ultimately secured them a straightforward 3-0 victory against Hull City.

Darragh Lenihan finally broke the deadlock, prodding home from close range after George Long failed to hold on to a corner, and Adam Armstrong made it 2-0 six minutes later with a ferocious strike.

Dominic Samuel wrapped up the three points soon after, moving Blackburn to within three points of the play-off spots.

Birmingham City were also victorious, beating Barnsley 1-0 in Yorkshire thanks to Scott Hogan's fine effort, while Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

West Brom returned to the top of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Luton Town after Leeds slumped to another stunning home defeat against struggling Wigan Athletic.

Leeds started their clash with third-bottom Wigan holding a two-point lead at the summit, but a Pablo Hernandez own goal was enough for Wigan to pull off a repeat of their victory at Elland Road last season.

A Donervon Daniels own goal and Semi Ajayi's header moved Albion a point clear of Leeds, while Fulham are just three points adrift of Marcelo Bielsa's men following their 3-2 defeat of Huddersfield Town.

Just six points separate the top six following wins for Brentford and Bristol City, with Nottingham Forest slipping to fourth after they went down 2-1 at Birmingham City.

Charlton Athletic's 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley moved them four points clear of the relegation zone. 

Preston North End were held to a 1-1 home draw Swansea City, while it was also all square in the encounters between Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall and Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers.

DEJA VU AT ELLAND ROAD FOR TOOTHLESS LEEDS

Leeds mounted a storming fightback to beat Millwall in midweek and a home encounter with Wigan appeared to be a great opportunity to build on what was their first win in four league matches.

Yet Wigan inflicted a costly 2-1 defeat late in the Yorkshire club's bid for automatic promotion last year and Paul Cook's side headed back to Lancashire with three precious points again this time around.

Joe Williams' corner deflected off Hernandez and into the net just before the hour-mark and wasteful Leeds were unable to respond, slumping to a third loss in four.

BAGGIES RESPOND, FIVE-STAR BEES THUMP HULL

West Brom were beaten at Cardiff on Tuesday after losing their previous Championship encounter with Stoke City, but there was no slip-up against bottom side Luton at The Hawthorns.

Brentford had failed to score in their previous three matches in all competitions, but Said Benrahma scored a hat-trick as they thrashed Hull City 5-1 at the KC Stadium to move four points behind Leeds.

All five goals came in the first half of Fulham's 3-2 victory over Huddersfield, while Bristol City have won four in a row in the league without conceding following a 1-0 success at QPR.

CHARLTON CLAIM PRECIOUS RARE WIN

Only a second Championship win in 18 games moved Charlton above Stoke, hammered by Derby County on Friday, and Huddersfield.

Lyle Taylor and Andre Green were on target for the Addicks, leaving Barnsley seven points behind a Stoke side sitting just above the bottom three.

Leeds United soared back to the top of the Championship as Patrick Bamford's double inspired a 3-2 victory over Millwall.

Marcelo Bielsa's side had trailed 2-0 early in the game at Elland Road but came roaring back to take the three points, while rivals West Brom tripped up 2-1 at Cardiff City.

Third-placed Nottingham Forest sit just two points adrift of struggling West Brom now, after edging out Brentford.

Wayne Rooney's first goal for Derby County, helped by a big deflection, gave Phillip Cocu's side the lead at Luton Town, but the former England captain finished on the losing side as the Hatters came back to score a 3-2 victory.

Blackburn were 2-1 victors against QPR, Huddersfield Town won 2-1 at Hull City, Bristol City recorded an away-day success at Reading, and lowly Wigan saw Jamal Lowe grab a stoppage-time winner to record a 2-1 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday.

 

BAMFORD THE HERO AS LEEDS RISE AGAIN

It would have been reasonable to ask if the wheels were coming off the Leeds bandwagon when they fell 2-0 behind against Millwall inside 23 minutes, as Shaun Hutchinson and Jed Wallace gave the visitors a dream start.

There have been worrying signs for Bielsa's Leeds in recent weeks but just as thoughts turned to their previous failures to capitalise on strong starts to league campaigns, the West Yorkshire side roused themselves.

Bamford began the recovery by striking from close range in the 48th minute, Pablo Hernandez cracked an equaliser just after the hour, and Bamford had Elland Road rocking when he stooped to head home Luke Ayling's cross to put the hosts ahead.

A 3-2 win, a long-standing rival sunk, a first win of 2020 secured. Crisis? What crisis?

NOW THIS IS A CRISIS: WEST BROM IN TURMOIL

Seven games without a win in the Championship for West Brom spells trouble - and the only saving grace is that they are still in the automatic promotion places.

Any hopes that the weekend win over West Ham in the FA Cup would prove a turning point were soon shattered at Cardiff.

Callum Paterson fired the Bluebirds ahead in the first minute of the second half, and despite Charlie Austin's penalty levelling up the match, Cardiff had the final say.

Lee Tomlin's free-kick was a sublime goal, curled over the West Brom wall and into the top left corner to clinch the points. Luton are next for West Brom, visiting the Hawthorns on Saturday.

 

FOREST EYE RETURN TO PROMISED LAND

It is worth remembering Nottingham Forest have not played Premier League football this century, having been relegated in 1999. Truth is, they have rarely looked like getting back, but maybe their time is approaching.

With the top two having looked suddenly vulnerable over recent weeks, Brentford and Forest have been among the teams making up ground at a rapid rate, which added spice to Tuesday's clash between the clubs.

Joe Lolley's strike made all the difference for Sabri Lamouchi's side, with the former Huddersfield player firing home with the help of a deflection in the 14th minute.

Forest last lost in the league at Huddersfield on December 21, their seven-game unbeaten run raising real hope in Nottingham of a return to the top flight for the former European Cup winners.

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