EPL Promotion Watch: Palace Thrashes Boro, Hull Pulls Within 8 of Cardiff

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Glenn Murray of Crystal Palace celebrates with team mates after opening the scoring during the npower Championship match between Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on February 16, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Despite a limited schedule in the Championship this weekend due to FA Cup fifth round fixtures, the second flight of English football saw plenty of important matches played.

The most important of the seven matches played on Saturday took place at Selhurst Park where Crystal Palace thrashed Middlesbrough, 4-1, in a top-six showdown.

Glenn Murray scored the only goal of the first half in the ninth minute as he put the home side ahead.

In the second half, Murray struck again in the 57th minute with Peter Ramage and Kevin Phillips also finding their way on to the score sheet.

Middlesbrough did score a late goal in the 80th minute by way of Faris Haroun but at that point of the match the result was already finalized.

The club in the Championship who had the most successful week was Hull City, who won on Tuesday and Saturday to close the gap between themselves and first-place Cardiff City to eight points. 

The Tigers left it late against Derby County on Tuesday before Ahmed Elmohamady scored in the 87th minute to clinch the 2-1 win. 

On Saturday, the Tigers continued their winning ways at home with a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic that was powered by a 33rd minute goal by Mohamed Gedo. 

While Hull did cut into the lead of league leaders Cardiff City, the Bluebirds did have a positive weekend as they received a double from Frazier Campbell to take down Bristol City at home by a 2-1 score.

As for the rest of the clubs in the top six, Leicester City had the weekend off after being eliminated from the FA Cup by Huddersfield Town on Tuesday while Watford went on the road and took down Birmingham City, 4-0.

Troy Deeney scored a double for the third-place Hornets at the St. Andrew's Stadium while Iketchi Anya and Almen Abdi contributed a goal each in the winning effort. 

All 24 clubs in the Championship will be back in action during the week with Cardiff versus Brighton and Hove Albion, who sit in seventh place in the table, being the marquee match. 

Here is how the league table looks after this weekend's matches. The top two clubs in the table at the end of the season will earn automatic promotion to the EPL while the clubs in third through sixth place will compete in a four-club playoff for the third and final promotion spot. 

Club Games Played Points Goal Differential
Cardiff City 31 67 22
Hull City 32 59 10
Watford 32 56 22
Crystal Palace 32 55 18
Leicester City 30 53 26
Middlesbrough 32 50 1


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