Swansea strengthened their Sky Bet Championship play-off claims after piling on more woe for Birmingham City with a 3-1 win at St Andrew’s
Pep Clotet left his position as Birmingham head coach after the loss.
The 43-year-old was due to step down at the end of the season, but a 10th Championship match without a win brought his departure forward.
The South Wales side came from behind after Lukas Jutkiewicz’s fifth-minute opener as on-loan Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster, Ben Cabango and Jay Fulton turned the game on its head.
Pep Clotet left his position as Birmingham manager after the 3-1 defeat by Swansea
A second successive victory for Steve Cooper’s side saw them move within a point and a place of the top six behind fierce rivals Cardiff, while Brewster made it eight goals in 16 games since his arrival from Anfield in January.
But the result prolonged the frustration for Blues, who are now 10 games without a win in the Championship.
They have taken just six points out of a possible 30 under departing head coach Pep Clotet and have conceded three times in each of their last five home games.
It was an all-action start at St. Andrew’s with chances at both ends and two goals in the first 12 minutes.
Jutkiewicz saw a powerful header palmed away by goalkeeper Freddie Woodman diving to his left.
But the striker was not to be denied a second time as he stooped to nod home in the fifth minute after team-mates Kristian Pedersen and Jake Clarke-Salter tussled for Dan Crowley’s cross.
Birmingham captain Jutkiewicz has now matched his season’s career-best tally of 14 goals after his first goal in nine games.
Brewster was inches away for Swansea with a towering header that bounced just wide from Jake Bidwell’s up-and-under cross.
Rhian Brewster (right) scored again for Swansea to continue his impressive form
But England Under-21s international Brewster made no mistake when he rifled in a falling volley after Connor Roberts nodded back Conor Gallagher’s cross.
The Blues tried to hit back and Scott Hogan’s shot on the turn was blocked by Cabango and Gary Gardner headed inches over from Jeremie Bela’s corner.
At the other end Swansea captain Matt Grimes whistled a low left-foot drive narrowly off target on his 100th appearance for the club.
The visitors took the lead in the 45th minute when Cabango bundled home the first goal of his career to punish poor defending after Clarke-Salter diverted Roberts’ centre into his path.
Blues brought on Jude Bellingham at half-time for the out-of-sorts Hogan, but their plight was about to get worse.
Fulton made it 3-1 seven minutes into the period with a mishit shot when Blues left him unmarked 15 yards out from Grimes’ corner.
The hosts tried to respond but Bela’s first-time effort deflected wide and Jutkiewicz poked straight at Woodman when clean through.
Brewster wasted the chance to give his team-mates some respite from a late aerial onslaught when he lobbed too close to keeper Lee Camp when clean through.
But Swansea defended superbly as Blues launched cross after cross in the torrential rain.
Preston rekindled their Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes with three late goals at Hillsborough to sink Sheffield Wednesday 3-1.
Wednesday broke the deadlock early in the second half through Jacob Murphy’s fine effort, but Preston hit back to turn the game on its head with goals from substitutes Scott Sinclair, Jayden Stockley and Brad Potts.
The victory halted a seven-game winless run for Alex Neil’s side, who have climbed up to eighth place, three points adrift of the top six.
Wednesday slipped to a third straight league defeat, but the scoreline was harsh on Garry Monk’s side, who hit the crossbar through Dominic Iorfa in the first half.
Neil made his intentions clear, switching to just three at the back in a bold bid to end his side’s poor run and it helped make for a lively opening.
Patrick Bauer’s downward header was held by Wednesday goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith and at the other end Iorfa headed Barry Bannan’s corner against the crossbar.
The visitors squandered more big chances when the unmarked Andrew Hughes headed Joe Rafferty’s free-kick off target and Sean Maguire somehow failed to connect with skipper Alan Browne’s cross.
Tom Barkhuizen was next to make a hash of a clear scoring chance for Preston as he shot wide after sprinting through on goal at the end of a swift counter.
The Owls had spells of concerted pressure as half-time approached and striker Alessio Da Cruz was thwarted by Jordan Storey’s excellent block after Bannan’s clever ball over the top.
Brad Potts celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game against Sheffield Wednesday
Wednesday continued to dominate possession at the start of the second half and broke the deadlock with a moment of genuine quality in the 58th minute.
Murphy cut in from the right and after evading several challenges, played a one-two on the edge of the area with Atdhe Nuhiu before steering the return pass beneath Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd.
Wednesday’s goalscorer limped off injured soon after and was replaced by Moses Odubajo.
Neil responded by sending on Daniel Johnson and Potts for Ben Pearson and Ryan Ledson and soon after Sinclair and Stockley replaced Hughes and Maguire.
That proved inspirational from the Preston boss. Two minutes later Sinclair showed real composure to find the target after Stockley’s flick-on.
In a dramatic finish, Wednesday defender Julian Borner thought he had headed his side back in front in the 86th minute, but the linesman flagged for offside and a minute later Preston forged ahead.
Stockley fired home an excellent low finish into the bottom corner from outside the penalty area.
Wednesday went close to a late leveller when midfielder Joey Pelupessy headed inches wide, but Potts settled it for Preston with a thumping finish in time added on.
Goals from Famara Diedhiou and Jamie Paterson gave Bristol City a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Hull in their first match since sacking head coach Lee Johnson.
The hosts took a 41st-minute lead when Paterson’s first-time pass into the box found Diedhiou unmarked. The striker was given time and space to control the ball and slot it past George Long.
Paterson doubled the advantage after 53 minutes with a superb right-footed free-kick from 30 yards that went in off the crossbar after Diedhiou had been fouled.
Hull skipper Jordy De Wijs cut the deficit with a 60th-minute glancing header from George Honeyman’s free-kick on the left.
But the Robins held on for their first win in 10 games, condemning their opponents to a place in the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom three with just four games left.
Assistant head coach Dean Holden changed formation to 3-5-2 for his first game in caretaker charge, bringing in Jack Hunt, Filip Benkovic and Paterson.
Hull boss Grant McCann also made three changes, including Angus MacDonald, Callum Elder and James Scott in his starting line-up.
The home side had a setback in the first minute when centre-back Nathan Baker suffered what appeared to be a head injury and had to be replaced by Zak Vyner after lengthy treatment.
Famara Diedhiou scored for Bristol City as they overcame relegation-threatened Hull
Bristol City had the first efforts at goal, Nahki Wells shooting over and Paterson seeing an effort blocked. But Hull responded and Scott had a fierce drive deflected out for a corner.
Neither side could exert much control before Diedhiou made the breakthrough to give the hosts a lead they barely deserved.
During 10 minutes of first-half stoppage time, Mallik Wilks fired over for Hull, but it was one of few goal threats from either team before the break.
Bristol City might have gone two up five minutes into the second half when Wells broke clear down the left and cut inside only to see his low shot well saved by Long.
After Paterson’s goal, Long had to make another fine stop to keep out a Diedhiou volley. At the other end Tom Eaves, one of two half-time substitutes for Hull, had a shot deflected just wide.
Reece Burke headed over for Hull moments after McCann had made his third change, sending on Josh Bowler for Scott.
De Wijs breathed new life into the Tigers with his goal, and appeals for a penalty when Wilks went down were unanswered by referee Gavin Ward.
Goalkeeper Dan Bentley protected Bristol City’s lead with a fine diving save from Wilks’ low drive, while at the other end Andreas Weimann shot wide when well placed.
Bentley did well again to keep out a Bowler volley as Hull pressed for a late equaliser, but their efforts proved in vain.
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