Martin O’Neill’s Nottingham Forest return got off to a flat start as Bristol City edged a 1-0 win at a sold-out City Ground.
Lee Johnson’s Bristol City kept their impressive momentum going thanks to Famara Diedhiou’s precise finish which notched up a fifth consecutive win and extended their unbeaten run to 11 games.
It was not the story the home fans had wanted to see unfold, as the legendary former midfielder returned to the ground where he was part of the famed side, managed by Brian Clough, that lifted back-to-back European Cups.
O’Neill had only four days to prepare for the game, following his appointment at the start of the week, as the replacement for Aitor Karanka, and it was the visitors who often looked the slicker of the two outfits.
He was a hugely animated figure and was lectured by referee Jeremy Simpson after straying from his technical area and down the side of the pitch once too often.
Meanwhile, Leeds’ lead at the top of the Championship table is down to only one point after Marcelo Bielsa’s side suffered a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.
A controversial week, in which head coach Bielsa admitted to having all their Championship opponents watched in training this season, got no better at the bet365 Stadium as second-half goals from Sam Clucas and Joe Allen gave Nathan Jones his first success as Stoke manager.
Allen scored after Leeds had Pontus Jansson sent off but the 10 men still managed to get on the scoresheet, with Ezgjan Alioski replying deep into stoppage time.
Norwich’s home win against Birmingham on Friday night means they are right behind Bielsa’s side, with the top two in the Championship set to meet at Elland Road on February 2.
With Sheffield United not in action until later on Saturday and West Brom not playing until Monday, Middlesbrough had the chance to make things even more congested in the race for the automatic promotion place, but they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Millwall.
Jed Wallace put the Lions in front in the first half and it looked like it would be enough for all the points, until Jordan Hugill’s last-minute penalty levelled things up.
Derby maintained their grip on the final play-off spot with a 2-1 win against Reading. Duane Holmes and Harry Wilson scored to give the Rams the half-time lead at Pride Park Stadium before substitute Sone Aluko pulled a goal back for Reading, who remain in the relegation zone.
Hull saw their six-game winning run in the Championship halted by a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, but the point moved them up two places to eighth in the table.
The Tigers looked on course to extend their victorious streak when goals from Jarrod Bowen and Goebel Evandro put them in control. However, James Chester headed Villa back into the match just before half-time and Tammy Abraham netted the equaliser after 64 minutes.
Ipswich remain rooted to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 loss at Blackburn. Danny Graham, from the penalty spot, and substitute Joe Nuttall were on the scoresheet for Rovers, who slip a place in the standings to ninth.
Rotherham remain just above the bottom three after losing 4-2 at home to Brentford, who led after only two minutes through Kamohelo Mokotjo’s strike. Jon Taylor equalised to send the Millers into the break level but Said Benrahma quickly restored the Bees’ advantage in the second half.
A Ezri Konsa own goal got Rotherham all-square once more but Mokotjo and Neal Maupay struck again to extend Brentford’s unbeaten league run to six games.
Steven Fletcher’s 62nd-minute goal saw Sheffield Wednesday defeat Wigan 1-0 at Hillsborough while Preston pulled away from relegation danger after winning 4-1 at QPR.
North End powered into a comfortable lead courtesy of efforts from Jayden Stockley, Jordan Storey and Alan Browne. Matt Smith headed a late reply for the Hoops but Brad Potts restored the three-goal cushion in the 87th minute.