Aldridge homes in

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The Independent Online
A SPRUCED-UP Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers, was officially opened yesterday and the Endsleigh First Division leaders did the place and almost 16,000 spectators proud with a 2-0 defeat of Grimsby Town, which put them two points clear at the top.

Jed Brennan's pass set up John Morrissey for the first goal and John Aldridge's penalty, after he was felled by Town's goalkeeper Paul Crichton, put them in charge. Although they were outplayed for much of the second half, Rovers' winger Pat Nevin was in confident mood.

"We're on a great run just now and we can go all the way," he said. "We've still got to play the other three leading teams at home." But he acknowledged the lacklustre second half. "We would like to have put on a better show for the huge attendance."

Other promotion hopefuls fared less well. Notably Sheffield United, who lost 2-1 at lowly Notts County, and Reading, beaten 3-0 at Elm Park by visitors Barnsley.

The bottom club Burnley won for the first time this year but struggling Sunderland's 1-0 win, their first at home for three months, did not dissuade disgruntled fans from waving red-cards at the Roker Park directors' box 10 minutes into the match and staging a sit in after it. One would have thought they had seen enough of the place.

The Second Division leaders Brentford won 1-0 but second-placed Huddersfield, also on 66 points, kept up the chase with a 5-1 demolition job on the bottom club Chester. Andrew Booth scored four goals, a hat-trick for the Terriers and one for his hapless opponents.. Birmingham surprisingly lost at home to Swansea and dropped to fourth. Carlisle's lead in the Third Division is now a mere 12 points after they drew 1-1 and Chesterfield won 3-1 at Walsall.

In Scotland, the all First Division tie in the Tennents Cup saw Airdrie go to Stark's Park and claim a semi-final berth after their 4-1 rout of Coca-Cola Cup holders Raith while in the Premier Division, the leaders Rangers twice came from behind to grab a 2-2 draw against the 10 men of Falkirk at Ibrox.

Is there something strange in the water at Stranraer? For the third time this season they were involved in a match in which four players were sent off. After Ayr (Stranraer had one dismissed) and Airdrie (all four were theirs), they shared honours with St Mirren to bring the season's total of red cards to 10.