Championship Focus: Newcastle continue slide, fall from top spot

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Oh, Newcastle United, what are you doing? The title was yours, just waiting to be snatched up. Now, with five games to go, you no longer control your own destiny.

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Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Fewer than a dozen games to go, only a handful of points off the top spot — there’s no better time to hit your best form of the season, and that’s exactly what Brighton have done over their last half-dozen games, winning five of the six at the same time Newcastle have gone into something of a tailspin (2W-2D-2L).

Glenn Murray bagged his 21st goal of the season (joint-3rd in the Championship) in the 58th minute on Friday, followed six minutes later by Brighton’s second, courtesy of Sebastien Pocognoli. QPR would pull a goal back through Matt Smith in the 74th minute, but the visitors would see out their 10th away win of the season (2nd most, behind Newcastle — 13).

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Spurs apply pressure, Chelsea unfazed ]

Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United

All the possession in the world, all the shots and shots on target, don’t mean a thing if you can’t hit the back of the net. 52 percent possession, 16 shots (8 on target), to 11 (and 3) — and yet, the Magpies found themselves 2-0 down after 87 minutes.

Tom Lees and Steven Fletcher fired Wednesday, who needed the win to hold onto sixth place (fourth and final playoff spot), into a comfortable lead before Jonjo Shelvey pulled one back in the 88th minute.

Elsewhere in the Championship

(19th) Nottingham Forest 2-0 (3rd) Huddersfield Town
(10th) Norwich City 7-1 (4th) Reading
(5th) Leeds United 3-0 (9th) Preston North End
(7th) Fulham 3-1 (17th) Ipswich Town
(18th) Birmingham City 1-2 (8th) Derby County