Football League roundup: Bristol City sack Holden as referee confronts player


Bristol City have sacked their head coach, Dean Holden, after a sixth successive defeat, while Watford moved up to third in the Championship after beating Preston 1-0.

Lucas João and Michael Morrison ensured Reading returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory at Ashton Gate. Holden’s departure was confirmed within an hour of the final whistle.

“Dean Holden has been relieved of his duties with immediate effect,” read a club statement. “Following a sixth successive defeat, the Bristol City Board have decided that a change of head coach is necessary. Assistant head coaches Paul Simpson and Keith Downing will take charge of training until further notice.

“The club would like to thank Dean for his service to the club over the years and we wish him well for the future. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

João Pedro won and then converted a penalty to make it back-to-back league wins for Watford, who leapfrogged Swansea and are now three points behind second-placed Brentford. Preston’s struggles at home continue – they have picked up 14 points from 15 games at Deepdale and scored only 11 goals.

Stoke notched their first win of 2021 when Steven Fletcher scrambled home the only goal of the game late on in a 1-0 victory over his former club Sheffield Wednesday. Stoke looked set to make it 10 league games without a win until the 84th minute when the veteran striker turned in a knock-down from a corner to sink the club he left last summer. It was a relief for Michael O’Neill’s hosts who had dominated the second half and gone close though Joe Allen, Nick Powell and Fletcher.

Elsewhere, Andre Wisdom struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Derby pulled further clear of the Championship relegation zone with a 2-1 victory at bottom side Wycombe. Derby are now six points above the bottom three following a fifth win in seven matches for Wayne Rooney’s side.

Middlesbrough claimed their first home win since mid-December as first-half goals from Duncan Watmore and Ashley Fletcher secured a 2-1 comeback win over Huddersfield. An Isaac Mbenza free-kick fired the visitors into an early lead, but a superb solo goal from Watmore and a penalty from Fletcher ensured Boro were ahead at the interval.

Referee appears to confront Ipswich’s Judge
Referee Darren Drysdale was involved in an apparent confrontation with Ipswich midfielder Alan Judge in a League One match on Tuesday.

The incident happened in the closing stages of Ipswich’s goalless draw against Northampton at Portman Road. After Judge had been given a yellow card, the Ipswich player approached the referee.

A confrontation between the two briefly ensued, with Drysdale appearing to move his head towards Judge, before Ipswich’s Flynn Downes and Jack Lankester and Northampton defender Lloyd Jones stepped in and calmed the situation.

There was a red card shortly afterwards, with Downes picking up a second yellow card.