Leon Clarke denied Derby the chance to eat into Championship leaders Wolves’ advantage as Sheffield United claimed a point at Pride Park on Monday.

Matej Vydra had fired the home side into a 24th-minute lead from the penalty spot after George Baldock had fouled Johnny Russell, but Clarke’s header 12 minutes after the restart secured a 1-1 draw and cost the second-placed Rams two precious points.

Robert Snodgrass bagged a brace as Aston Villa made it two wins in three days after thrashing promotion hopefuls Bristol City 5-0.

Scott Hogan opened the scoring midway through the first half for Villa — who defeated Middlesbrough on Saturday — before Snodgrass struck in the 34th minute and then again on the hour to leave the Robins reeling.

City could have moved up to second in the standings with a win but they slip a place to fourth after shipping two more goals, with substitute Birkir Bjarnason (72) and Conor Hourihane (85) completing the rout as Villa moved up to fifth.

Fourth-placed Cardiff were also unable to defend a lead and suffered a fourth defeat in a row as they went down 2-1 at lowly QPR.

Joe Ralls’ 54th-minute spot kick handed the visitors the lead, but Matt Smith levelled within eight minutes to set the stage for debutant Paul Smyth to win it with 18 minutes remaining.

It proved a frustrating afternoon too for Leeds, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Nottingham Forest at Elland Road as they failed to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at bottom-of-the-table Birmingham.

Middlesbrough were the big winners as they climbed to within a point of the playoff places courtesy of new manager Tony Pulis’ first victory in a five-goal thriller at Preston.

Central defender Daniel Ayala scored twice, giving the visitors the lead before Callum Robinson levelled and then after Jordan Hugill and Jonny Howson had traded goals, winning it with a 73rd-minute header.

Sheffield Wednesday’s dreadful run of form continued as they lost for the fifth time in six games at home to struggling Burton.

Goals from Tom Flanagan, Lloyd Dyer and Tom Naylor handed Nigel Clough’s men a priceless 3-0 away win despite Lucas Akins’ early penalty miss.

There was joy too for Bolton, who eased themselves out of the bottom three with a 1-0 victory over Hull with Gary Madine’s first-half free-kick doing the damage.

But Sunderland‘s plight deepened as they slipped back into the drop zone after a 1-0 home defeat by Barnsley.

Ethan Pinnock was the Tykes’ hero with a 47th-minute header from Ezekiel Fryers’ cross.

Elsewhere, James Maddison was Norwich‘s match-winner as they came from behind to see off Millwall 2-1 at Carrow Road.

Steve Morison put the visitors ahead shortly before half-time, but Tom Trybull headed home a 52nd-minute equaliser and Maddison won it 13 minutes from time.

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