Ben Brereton Diaz struck his 20th Championship goal of the season as Blackburn beat struggling Barnsley 2-1 to move level on points with second-placed Fulham.
The Chile international’s clinical finish in the 65th minute settled a game that the hosts threatened to run away with but could not shake off the Tykes who put up a spirited display that belied their lowly position.
Joe Rothwell slotted in Blackburn’s opener after 24 minutes to cap a sustained spell of pressure.
Barnsley survived the onslaught and equalised through Carlton Morris’ deflected strike which breached the Rovers defence for the first time in nine hours.
But Blackburn’s star man showed why he is in demand, providing the extra quality to seal the points and a sixth consecutive league victory – the first time they have achieved that feat since November 2000, when they beat Barnsley.
Middlesbrough substitute Duncan Watmore struck a dramatic 93rd-minute goal to hand his side a 2-1 win at Blackpool.
Watmore charged in to slide home Isaiah Jones’ low cross to cap a frantic finish on the Fylde coast.
Blackpool thought they had earned themselves a point when sub Shayne Lavery struck to make it 1-1 in the 91st minute, but Watmore was on hand to stun the hosts.
Boro consolidated their place in the Championship play-off places thanks to a fifth win in six games.
Tom Bradshaw stabbed home his fourth goal in as many games as a depleted Millwall earned an unlikely 1-0 win at Coventry.
The EFL had denied the Lions’ request for the match to be postponed and arrived in Coventry with just 15 senior players available. Boss Gary Rowett filled his bench with Under-23 players Nana Boateng and Besart Topalloj and 15-year-old striker Zak Lovelace.
Millwall had to request for the teenager’s parents and school to approve his inclusion in the matchday squad as Rowett made four changes from his side’s 2-1 defeat to Peterborough on December 11, of which just one was Covid-related.
Sky Bet League One
James Norwood scored the easiest goal of his career to earn Ipswich a 1-0 victory and give new boss Kieran McKenna a winning start to his career in management.
The former Manchester United first-team coach looked on proudly as the Tractor Boys held on to Norwood’s goal just before half-time to claim all three points.
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth was absent after testing positive for Covid-19 and looked on from home as his team suffered their first defeat in six League One games.
Oxford turned on the style as they thrashed AFC Wimbledon 3-0 to climb up to fifth.
Mark Sykes opened the scoring in the 27th minute, firing home from 12 yards from Ryan Williams’ cutback.
Matty Taylor doubled the lead seven minutes before the break, turning home a cross from the other flank from Gavin Whyte for his fourth goal in the last five games.
And full-back Sam Long buried a far-post volley from another telling Whyte cross on the hour mark.
A superb second-half strike from Luke Murphy gave Crewe a vital 2-1 victory at fellow strugglers Morecambe.
Murphy volleyed past Morecambe keeper Kyle Letheren after 59 minutes to give Dave Artell’s side their first away win of the season and at the same time put Morecambe under more pressure at the wrong end of the table.
Shrewsbury and Accrington drew 0-0.
Sky Bet League Two
Managerless Oldham remain bottom of League Two after a goalless draw against fellow strugglers Barrow.
The stalemate left the Latics two points from safety, and six behind Barrow.
Swindon rounded off 2021 with a lacklustre 0-0 home draw with relegation-threatened Stevenage as they managed just one shot on target at the County Ground.