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Canaries forced to wait for promotion party

 

Cool finish: Northern Ireland international Jamal Lewis looks on as Norwich goalscorer Onel Hernandez celebrates yesterday
Cool finish: Northern Ireland international Jamal Lewis looks on as Norwich goalscorer Onel Hernandez celebrates yesterday

By Andy Hampson

Sky Bet Championship leaders Norwich City were forced to wait to secure promotion to the Premier League after being held to a 2-2 draw by Stoke.

The Canaries could have sealed top spot with victory at the Bet365 Stadium but they had to settle for a point for a fourth game in succession.

That allowed Sheffield United to cut the gap at the top to three points but Norwich will still return to the top flight if they take a point from either of their two remaining games.

Onel Hernandez fired Daniel Farke's side ahead against Stoke after 24 minutes but the Potters responded after the break through Ashley Williams. Teemu Pukki, netting his 28th league goal of the season, restored Norwich's lead against the run of play but a low strike from Tom Edwards ensured a deserved draw for the hosts.

The second-placed Blades had little trouble seeing off Hull, easing to a 3-0 victory at the KCOM Stadium with all their goals coming in the first half.

David McGoldrick headed the opener and added a second with a long-range effort before Enda Stevens nodded a third.

Leeds failed to keep up the pressure in third and their hopes of automatic promotion suffered a blow as they slumped to a 2-0 loss at Brentford.

Neal Maupay and Sergi Canos scored either side of half-time for the Bees, condemning Marcelo Bielsa's side to back-to-back losses over the Easter weekend.

At the bottom of the table, Rotherham remain three points adrift of safety after surrendering a lead to lose 3-1 at home to Birmingham.

Wigan ensured their safety with a 2-0 win over 10-man Preston North End.

Millwall remain just outside the bottom three after losing 1-0 to form side Aston Villa, whose victory - courtesy of a 30th minute goal from Jonathan Kodjia - was a new club record 10th in succession and secured their place in the play-offs.

Reading inched closer to safety as they drew 0-0 at fourth-placed West Brom, who also made sure of a play-off position.

Harry Wilson scored twice in injury time as Derby snatched a dramatic 2-0 win over QPR. That meant the Rams leapfrogged Middlesbrough and Bristol City, who both slipped up.

Boro, who began the day in sixth, were beaten 3-0 at Nottingham Forest.

Bristol City went down 2-0 at Sheffield Wednesday, while Wayne Routledge was on target as relegated Ipswich Town lost 1-0 at home to Swansea City.

Bolton, who are also heading down to League One, were beaten 2-0 at Blackburn after goals from Ben Brereton and Adam Armstrong.

• Gavin Whyte netted his first hat-trick in professional football for Oxford United yesterday.

The former Crusaders hero fired his side to a 3-2 win over Shrewsbury Town in League One.

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