LONDON — Wolverhampton Wanderers maintained their lead at the top of English football’s second-tier Championship with a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace at Molineux on Tuesday. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake put Wolves ahead in the first minute but shortly after the half hour mark Palace equalized against the run of play through Paul Ifill. However, Andy Keogh’s 58th minute header again saw Wolves take the lead and the hosts held on for their fifth straight league victory, remaining unbeaten in six Championship matches so far this season. Birmingham City, level on points with their Midlands rivals but behind on goal difference, kept pace with a 2-1 win away to Bristol City. Louis Carey’s own-goal and Cameron James’s effort put the Blues, relegated from the Premier League last season, two goals in front at half-time before home striker Lee Trundle gave his side hope at Ashton Gate with a stunning effort in the 79th minute. Preston North End were left in third place, two points behind the leading duo, after a 2-1 win over former double European champions Nottingham Forest. Two goals in 10 second-half minutes from Youl Mawene and Neil Mellor, once of Liverpool, left Preston on course for all three points before Mawene put through his own net. Elsewhere Reading, also relegated from the Premier League last season, moved into fourth after thrashing Sheffield Wednesday 6-0, Kevin Doyle scoring a hat-trick for the Royals with the other goals coming courtesy of Cameroon international Andre Bikey and Noel Hunt, who netted twice. At the other end of the table Plymouth, who kicked-off bottom, moved up several places after recording their first league win this season with a 2-1 victory away to Watford. Karl Duguid’s 30th minute goal put the Pilgrims ahead before a 72nd minute penalty from Luke Summerfield doubled their lead.
John-Joe O’Toole pulled a goal back for Watford seven minutes from time but Plymouth were not to be denied.