Luton boost title charge… Sunderland draw at Barnsley as Portsmouth and Charlton cut gap

Mick Harford's Luton boosted their League One title bid. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Mick Harford's Luton boosted their League One title bid. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Luton boosted their League One title hopes with a victory at Bradford.

Jack Stacey got the only goal on 16 minutes as Mick Harford’s Hatters got the three points they needed to extend their advantage at the top to five points.

Automatic promotion bids for Pompey and Charlton were lifted by Barnsley and Sunderland drawing 0-0.

Barnsley had a chance to really cement their spot in the top two but they couldn’t get the win against Jack Ross’ third-placed team.

Both teams created several chances but had to settle for a point apiece.

Just a few minutes in, Barnsley created the first chance through Mamadou Thiam, who was through on goal, but Jon McLaughlin was quick off his line to turn the ball over the bar with a strong hand.

The visitors responded with Max Power running down the left, cutting inside and aiming a curling effort towards goal only to be denied by Adam Davies at full stretch.

The best chance came just before the break when Thiam wriggled his way into the box, switched the ball on to his left foot but his effort came agonisingly back off the bar.

In the second half, Sunderland created their best chance when Jack Baldwin sent a perfect pass to Power, who was through on goal, but he dragged his effort wide.

Barnsley’s Cauley Woodrow headed in Alex Mowatt's cross from close range late on, only to be flagged for offside.

That draw meant the Blues and the Addicks were able to close in on the second and third-placed sides with vital wins with now eight points separating all four teams.

While Pompey won 3-2 at Walsall, Charlton earned a 2-1 home victory against Burton Albion.

Lyle Taylor scored one goal and provided another.

The former AFC Wimbledon frontman opened the scoring with a penalty for his 14th goal in League One this season, before the Brewers equalised from the spot through Lucas Akins.

Charlton then re-established their advantage after 33 minutes as Ben Reeves powered a header past Bradley Collins and the south-east Londoners then held out for all three points despite two second-half chances for Liam Boyce.

The other play-off chasers were unable to win with seventh-placed Peterborough beaten 1-0 at AFC Wimbledon and sixth-placed Doncaster drawing 1-1 at eighth-placed Blackpool.

Coventry beat Fleetwood 2-1 while Plymouth saw off Shrewsbury with the same score.

Pompey’s next opponents Scunthorpe hammered Southend 4-1.

Accrington earned a 3-1 win at Wycombe and Rochdale drew 0-0 with Oxford.

Bristol Rovers moved up to 16th after Jonson Clarke-Harris’ sixth goal in five league games earned them a 1-0 victory at Gillingham.

Clarke-Harris brilliantly fired into the top corner from 25 yards approaching the hour to earn Graham Coughlan’s side their third-consecutive league win.