Watford and Bournemouth have become the teams in pole position for the two automatic promotion places in the Championship. Middlesbrough's victory at Norwich on Friday leaves them in 3rd place after the weekend, one point behind leaders Watford and behind the Cherries only on goal difference. Norwich are now the outsiders to go up to the Premier League automatically, having dropped to 4th place and trailing Boro by two crucial points. With two games remaining and six points to fight for though, all four teams still have hopes of clinching promotion without requiring the play-offs.
Middlesbrough's stout defensive display at Carrow Road to ensure a 1-0 victory piled the pressure back on to the teams playing on Saturday afternoon. Watford seem adept at maintaining their form though and climbed to the summit courtesy of a solitary goal from Craig Cathcart in a 1-0 success against Birmingham City. Their breakthrough arrived 11 minutes into the second half, ensuring that promotion is now very much in their own hands. The goal was worthy of taking all three points, a stunning volley from the defender which he hooked over his left shoulder and into the net. In truth though, the Hornets had opportunities for more goals. Matej Vydra was unlucky on a number of occasions, especially when a first-half shot struck the crossbar after Troy Deeney's original effort had been saved.
Watford are now a point ahead of previous leaders Bournemouth who slipped to second, after Eddie Howe's men were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Sheffield Wednesday. In a topsy-turvy game, Wednesday took the lead 9 minutes before the break through Kieran Lee. The Owls held on to their advantage until the 69th minute, when Yann Kermorgant popped up to equalise with a neat header. Despite being reduced to ten men when Simon Francis received a second yellow card, the home side took the lead with just 6 minutes to go. Matt Ritchie's 25-yard strike looked likely to prove decisive, only for Wednesday to snatch a point right at the death. Chris Maguire scored from the penalty spot after Atdhe Nuhiu had been fouled by Adam Smith with the game entering added on time. With Bournemouth's goal difference being an enormous 15 goals better than Boro's, two wins seem the basic requirement to see them promoted.
Watford - Brighton (away); Sheffield Wednesday (home)
Bournemouth - Bolton Wanderers (home); Charlton Athletic (away)
Middlesbrough - Fulham (away); Brighton (home) #Football