Football: Five sent off as Rovers go wild at Wigan

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Five players - four from Bristol Rovers - were sent off in an amazing Second Division match with Wigan at Springfield Park, last night which the home side won 3-0.

Four were dismissed by the referee, Kevin Lynch, in first-half injury time. Rovers' defender David Pritchard was first to go for two bookable offences. Violence then erupted in a packed goalmouth as the players waited for the resulting free-kick with Wigan striker Graeme Jones and Rovers pair Jason Perry and Andy Tillson being shown the red card.

Then, as Jones and Perry left the pitch, they squared up to each other and had to be separated by team-mates. Josh Low, the Rovers midfielder, was the fifth to go, also for a second bookable offence, after 71 minutes.

Middlesbrough were seconds away from going top of the Nationwide League last night when David Johnson hit a last-minute equaliser for Ipswich at Portman Road. Paul Merson's 33rd minute strike had looked as if it would be enough to put Middlesbrough ahead of Nottingham Forest on goals scored.

Both teams were reduced to 10 men just before half-time, with Ipswich's James Scowcroft and Middlesbrough's Craig Harrison sent off for violent conduct.

Sheffield United leapt above West Bromwich Albion into third place, just one point behind Middlesbrough, thanks to an 80th-minute goal from Brian Deane in a 3-2 victory over Stoke at Bramall Lane.

Peter Thorne gave Stoke the lead after eight minutes and put them ahead again in the 63rd minute, after Gareth Taylor had equalised for the Blades in the 46th minute.

Jan Age Fjortoft levelled a minute after Thorne's second goal before the former Leeds United striker's late winner.

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