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Football League roundup: Gary Madine scores relentless victory in Blackpool | Championship

Gary Madine was the penalty hero as Blackpool started the year with a tenacious 1-0 victory over shell in the league.

Madine converted a shot on goal in the 31st minute after former Tigers player Josh Bowler signaled the Nottingham Forest target was fouled by Jacob Greaves.

Having finished 2021 with just one win in their previous 10 league outings, the win was a welcome tonic for the Tangerines. It also lifted Neil Critchley’s side above Sheffield United to 12th place as Hull – back in action for the first time in 14 days after coronavirus concerns – remains 19th, four points above the drop zone.

Two goals from Michael Smith lifted Rotherham at the top of Ligue 1 thanks to a 2-1 victory over Bolt. The Miller’s 21-game unbeaten streak was cut short by Accrington on Boxing Day, but promotion hopes returned to victory thanks to two clinical heads from their top marksman.

Michael Smith celebrates after scoring the winner for Rotherham. Photograph: George Wood / Getty Images

Smith has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season with his double on either side of Eoin Doyle’s effort for the visitors as Rotherham edged out Sunderland, the former league leader.

Sam Vokes’ seventh goal of the season earned Wycombe a 1-0 win at Charlton which lifted them to fourth place and provided the perfect pick-me-up for Gareth Ainsworth, who was isolating himself after a positive Covid-19 test.

Harry Chapman’s first Burton goal put the Brewers on course for a comfortable 4-1 win over struggles Crewe. Crewe responded to Chapman’s opener in the sixth minute when Tom Lowery hit home from 25 yards, but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men took control of the game after John Brayford rushed home a second. Kane Hemmings shot in a third and Daniel Jebbison, as a substitute, added a fourth in the second half.

Gillingham ended a six-game losing streak in all competitions by eliminating a goalless draw at MK Donations, and Mark Sykes saved a point for further promotion Oxford as they drew 1-1 with Cheltenham at Kassam stadium.

The leaders of Ligue 2 Green forest returned to action with a 2-0 victory over Stevenage, bringing its lead at the top of the standings to seven points.

The Rovers had not played since the 5-5 draw at Oldham on December 11 due to Covid-related disruption, but Rob Edwards’ men showed little sign of rust as they racked up more problems on Boro , threatened with relegation.

Forest Green Rovers celebrate
Forest Green Rovers is building a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of League Two. Photograph: Nizaam Jones / JMP / Shutterstock

Harry McKirdy scored four goals as Swindon upset second Northampton with a 5-2 win at County Ground. The Robins passed McKirdy in the 28th minute, but Sam Hoskins equalized the Cobblers before half-time. Jon Guthrie then put the visitors ahead five minutes into the second half with a free kick.

McKirdy, however, stabbed a loose ball to drag Swindon’s level, then made it 3-2 in the 55th minute, with Tyreece Simpson scoring a fourth goal on time. McKirdy clinched his fourth in the 66th minute as the Robins climbed to fifth and are now just two points off the automatic promotion spots.

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Robert Milsom’s late penalty resulted in Sutton a 2-1 win over Exeter to Gander Green Lane to send them third, while Walsall’s Conor Wilkinson came off the bench to score a deep equalizer in stoppage time and win a 3-3 draw against Newport at the Bescot stadium.

At the other end of the table, Oldham fought for a goalless draw at Hartlepool but remains the lowest. Scunthorpe were beaten 1-0 at home by Carlisle thanks to a header from Rod McDonald at the end of the first half. Ashley Nadesan scored twice as much Crawley to beat Colchester 3-1, while Lee Angol and Andy Cook’s opening goals in each half helped Bradford win 2-1 to Wheelbarrow.

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