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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The View Outside The Premier League: Posh shock Cardiff and McGhee runs out of Gas


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Sqf hugh larkin

No team seems able to stamp their authority on the Championship this season and on Saturday Peterborough United proved what a tough league it is by winning at Cardiff City - the Welsh side hadn't dropped a home point in 10 games.

Posh went to South Wales as the bottom placed side and without a win in eight games, yet Darren Ferguson's side came away with a 2-1 win. Cardiff stay top because Crystal Palace could only draw - the main beneficiaries were Middlesbrough who left it late to see off Wolves.

It's been a strange season for Peterborough; they now have more away wins than home victories and at times have played some excellent football. Equally, they have turned in some decidedly awful performances but they are still in touch at the bottom.

The way things are shaping up, even a points tally as low as 40 points might keep a team in the Championship, such is the level of inconsistency in the bottom half. On Saturday Sheffield Wednesday won their South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley, which dragged Keith Hill's side into the relegation slots.

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A feature of the introduction of relegation to the Conference has been the number of teams who have suffered one bad season which has threatened to dump them out of the Football League. The latest side in this position are Bristol Rovers.

The Gas are by no means natural cellar dwellers but their current campaign has been going from bad to worse. Saturday's 4-1 loss at York City (themselves recently returned after suffering a similar slide) saw the end of Mark McGhee's time in charge of the club.

McGhee departs with Rovers sitting in the relegation places and in a bad trough of results. Defensively, the team have let in 44 goals at exactly two goals a game - the priority is obviously to stem the leaky rearguard as few teams can expect to gather points with that sort of record.

John Ward returns for a second spell with the club. He himself was sacked from his last job at Colchester which shows what the managerial merry-go round can be like in the lower divisions.

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Brentford have slipped into second spot in League Two - a rare moment in the spotlight for the Bees who struggle for publicity among London's glittering clubs. Ex-Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler is making a fine impression in the dugout.

The Bees haven't lost in the League since October 20 and their last three wins in League One have come against Sheffield United, MK Dons and Notts County - probably the three promotion favourites at the start of the season.

It's very much a team effort but Clayton Donaldson's 12 league goals stand out. The striker is very much a lower league professional but he has a more than decent record from his time at Crewe and York City.

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Charlie Austin scored from the spot for Burnley against Watford and Clarets fans will hope that will kick start their striker again. After zooming to 20 goals in club record time Austin hit a relatively lean patch with one in six games - and the team's results suffered for it.

Most of the high scorers in the division are going it alone for their clubs though, except at Watford. The Hornets have jumped up to seventh place with nine strikes from Troy Deeney and eight from Matej Vydra.

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Hugh Larkin

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