Sunderland, Bristol City and Brentford
Premier League ~ Sunderland dominate Hammers
Sunderland got their first win of 2013 with a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Ham United. Sebastian Larsson scored his first goal of the season after 12 minutes with a left-footed drive from 25 yards. Last season Larsson scored eight times but he has been much slower off the mark in a struggling Sunderland team this time. Adam Johnson made it 2-0 just after half time before James McClean got the third with 15 minutes remaining.
The win moves Sunderland six points clear of the relegation zone and one point behind West Ham. Larsson said: "It wasn't a bad goal but it was about time I scored. It's been a long time coming and it's one of those things I've been disappointed with. It's not just scoring. I've not been getting forward enough and influencing the forward play from my new role. I've ended up a bit too deep too many times. I like to get forward and the last few weeks I've felt I've been getting there. It was a rarity with the left foot as well but it's one that I'll remember."
Championship ~ Bristol City sack McInnes
Bristol City slipped to the bottom of the table after they lost 4-0 at home to Leicester City. The defeat spelled the end of Derek McInnes's reign as manager, following one win in five games. The goals came from Chris Wood, who scored a first-half hat-trick and now has six goals in three games since joining Leicester from West Brom. The Foxes' fourth was scored by Matty James just after the break. Bristol City have moved quickly to replace McInnes, appointing ex-Nottingham Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll as manager this morning on a 12-month rolling contract. O'Driscoll applied for the job 15 months ago but the board chose McInnes instead.
O'Driscoll said: "The club has changed in a sense. In some ways they've come round to my way of thinking. It's a good fit. Sometimes you have to go with your gut instincts and this just feels right. I like the way the club has been developed but obviously not too happy about the league position. This has always been a well-respected club and that's not going to change. There's stability within the ownership and I think I can be successful here."
League One ~ Bees chase automatic promotion
Brentford beat Oldham Athletic 2-0 at Boundary Park to move up to third in League One. Clayton Donaldson scored both goals in the 5th and 82nd minutes to take his tally 17 for the season. It was the Bees' third clean sheet in a row and means they have now gone 13 games unbeaten in the league. They are on 49 points, four behind Tranmere Rovers – who they face next – and Doncaster in the automatic promotion places, though Uwe Rösler's team do have a game in hand on those above them.
Rösler said: "Clayton is one of the best in this division. There are a few good strikers around but he has been very consistent for the last 18 months in what he contributes to the team. His work rate is phenomenal and he can play several positions up front. This season he has been clinical and I'm sure he understands that he has to work hard if he wants to keep this run going. His early goal was obviously important, although we played with the handbrake on in the first half and Oldham had more of the ball."
League Two ~ Accrington continue to slide
Accrington Stanley lost 2-0 to Aldershot Town to continue their poor run of form. Accrington have now won once in their last ten league games and lie bottom of the League Two form table, while Aldershot have improved recently, taking ten points from the last 15 available. Troy Brown put the home team ahead after 12 minutes before Dani López made the points safe with eight minutes remaining. Also at the bottom, Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Barnet all won while Wimbledon drew. It means Accrington are now only four points clear of the relegation zone and Aldershot, Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers each have two games in hand on them.
Coach Paul Stephenson said: "The result is very disappointing because we were looking for the three points. At the moment we've got quite a young group and we're trying to add a bit of experience to help them. They're quite fragile in terms of their mentality and if we go up 1-0 and we're on top, we can go on and win games like we did against Chesterfield. But at the moment if we go behind one or two are dropping their heads and really we need people who are going to roll their sleeves up and fight. The manager has told them that, and they understand that they've all got to stand up and be counted now and show some real fight. You start not believing in yourself, especially when you're younger." Tom Hocking