The results might not have been ideal tonight but now that Brighton and Reading have got their fog-induced games in hand out of the way, the Championship now starts to look a little bit clearer.
Cardiff went to Brighton and surprised Hughton’s team, as they shaded the first half and were unlucky not to go in ahead at the break.
The second-half though a different matter, with Brighton dominating and Tomer Hemed eventually scoring the winner in the 73rd minute, the south coast team missing the suspended top scorer Glenn Murray.
As for Reading, John Swift saw his 49th minute penalty saved but Roy Beerens followed up to score with the rebound. Our friend from the Forest debacle, Steve Martin, the referee for the night.
The final minute of normal time then saw Chris Martin wasting the chance to equalise, after Steve Martin gave a spot-kick at the other end. Fulham have now failed to score seven of the last nine penalties they have been awarded…
Tuesday night results:
Brighton 1 Cardiff 0
Reading 1 Fulham 0
The Championship table now:
60 Brighton (GD +25)
58 Newcastle (+33)
49 Reading (+3)
49 Huddersfield (+2)
48 Leeds (+10)
45 Sheffield Wednesday (+5)
After tonight’s matches, all clubs have now played 27 matches and have 19 left.
No room for complacency of course but I get the feeling that it is only Brighton and Newcastle fans who still have any genuine concerns that they won’t be the top two at the end of the season.
The Newcastle upcoming Championship fixtures do tell a story though.
Two home games up next against QPR and Derby, with Newcastle needing the six points to stack up against a tough schedule ahead.
The following seven games see five of them away, facing Wolves who beat Newcastle at St James Park, then fellow relegated club Norwich, plus three away games in a week against the three other clubs currently in the top four.
Amongst that little lot are what look winnable home matches with Villa and Bristol City.
I know you have to play everybody home and away sometime but you certainly look at this run of games and can believe it has really been sent to test Rafa and his team’s credentials.
Wednesday 1 February – Newcastle v QPR (7.45pm) – SKY SPORTS
Saturday 4 February – Newcastle v Derby (3pm)
Saturday 11 February – Wolves v Newcastle (5.30pm) – SKY SPORTS
Tuesday 14 February – Norwich v Newcastle (7.45pm)
Monday 20 February – Newcastle v Aston Villa (8pm) – SKY SPORTS
Saturday 25 February – Newcastle v Bristol City (3pm)
Tuesday 28 February – Brighton v Newcastle (7.45pm) – SKY SPORTS
Saturday 4 March – Huddersfield v Newcastle (5.30pm) – SKY SPORTS
Tuesday 7 March – Reading v Newcastle (7.45pm)
Saturday 11 March – Newcastle v Fulham (3pm)
Saturday 18 March – Birmingham v Newcastle (3pm)