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Monday, 23 January 2012

The View Outside The Premier League- Hammers Go Top And Sky Blues Shock Boro


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The word is that some West Ham fans don't like the way Sam Allardyce gets his teams to play - come to think of it, most fans don't care much for his style but when it wins points even diehard adherents of the beautiful game will swallow their doubts.

There's probably a debate waiting to happen about the club's direction once they are back in the top flight but for the present Big Sam is doing the job he was brought in to achieve. On Saturday the Hammers climbed to the Championship summit after a fairly functional victory over Nottingham Forest.

They won with two Mark Noble penalties but any fans disgruntled about the entertainment on offer might have thought differently after hearing the result from Coventry. There's a hard edge about West Ham that means they look a good bet to see out the rest of the campaign and win automatic promotion.

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Over at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry City showed their fans that all is not lost yet in the battle to avoid the drop. Serious financial problems forced the club to sell top scorer Leon Jutkiewicz to Middlesbrough earlier in the transfer window, leaving them with a squad with no player who had scored more than three League goals this season.

Jutliewicz couldn't play for his new club when they came to the Midlands on Saturday and he had to watch his new club go down to a damaging defeat. Typically Gary McSheffrey, a Coventry stalwart in two spells with the club, opened the scoring for the Sky Blues who benefitted from Kevin Thomson's over-enthusiasm in midfield.

The Boro man committed a pair of challenges, neither of which was malicious, but in the current climate each was good enough to get a yellow card. Even competing for 50-50 balls has a risk at the moment so Thomson's over-commitment was always taking a risk.

Later he was joined by Julio Arca for a straight red but by then the game was over. Tony Mowbray's Boro could lose touch with the automatic promotion spots unless they get back to winning ways soon. As for Coventry, they are still bottom but they cut the deficit to safety from seven to six points and hope springs eternal.

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Millwall demonstrated real character on Saturday. Last week they were hammered 6-0 at home by Birmingham City, albeit with two men being sent off. With the Lions already at the wrong end of the table that result could have shattered their season.

However, Kenny Jackett's men roared back to take all three points at Barnsley and Daruis Henderson bagged the match ball. Not a bad week's work from the striker as he also smashed a hat-trick against Dagenham & Redbridge in the midweek cup replay. The result keeps a five-point cushion to the relegation places for the Londoners.

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It may only have been a home point but the draw Plymouth Argyle snatched against high-flying Crawley Town finally lifted the Greens out of the bottom two in League Two, where they have languished for just about the whole campaign.

There was a time when it appeared that Argyle's tenure in the Football League was over but the club have gradually battled back and stabilised off the field as well. The brutal sacking of Peter Reid does seem to have paid dividends and under Carl Fletcher the team have become tough to beat.

The aim is to stay in the game as long as possible and the strategy paid off against Crawley when Maxine Blanchard popped with a 90th minute overhead to snatch a precious point.

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Almost anything seems possible in a Huddersfield Town game at the moment. Since the end of their record unbeaten run, the Terriers have become skittish to say the least. Visitors Brentford raced into a two goal lead after 29 minutes only for Lee Clark's side to restore parity by the break.

Inevitably, it was Jordan Rhodes who put the Terriers in front after 50 minutes and surprisingly that ended the scoring for the day. That was Rhodes' 29th of the season and surely if he stays in blue and white Huddersfield still have a shot at automatic promotion.

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Darlington mananged to stage their fixture with Fleetwood in the Blue Square Premier and only lost 1-0. The result was less significant than a crowd of over 5,000, which shows the support may still be there to save a club born in 1883. The clock is still ticking though, with funding only guaranteed for two more matches while a buyer is sought.

Related Articles:

The View From Outside the Premier League: Birmingham hit six while Southampton get back in the groove

The View From Outside the Premier League: Robins Fly High and Rhodes Terrorises Wycombe

The View From Outside the Premier League: West Ham close in on stuttering Saints as Leeds United leave it late

The View Outside the Premier League: Sheffield pair see out 2011 in style but it's misery for Northampton Town

The View From Outside the Premier League: Southampton dominate at the Dell

Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield serve up a Christmas cracker

The View From Outside of The Premier League: Southend Fall at Cheltenham and Crawley Take Full Advantage

Southampton lose again as Bristol Rovers stage Goal of the Season competition

FA Cup Second Round: How many non-league sides will reach the Third Round?

Bristol City are on the march as Northampton crumble

Huddersfield make it 43 games unbeaten as Northampton Town are smashed by Shrewsbury

The View From Outside the Premier League: Fleetwood sit on the Chairboys and Swindon show their class in the FA Cup

Arsenal, Coventry and Leicester: Can a new ground be blamed for a lack of success?

Leicester get the blues in front of the TV cameras yet again

When will the Bristol giants finally wake up?

Sven's Leicester are moving onwards and upwards

Derby lead the Midlands challenge

A great week for Notts County

MK Dons title charge is looking good

Boro make a statement on intent

Southampton keep marching onwards and upwards

Yeovil look up for the fight

AFC Wimbledon and Crawley tipped to take League Two by storm

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