Bolton back at the top

Football: First Division round-up
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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers moved back to the top of the Nationwide League First Division by beating Grimsby 2-1, while Sheffield United remain hot on their heels in second place following their 2-1 win at Bradford City.

Wanderers withstood considerable pressure from the division's bottom club before taking the lead through the Northern Ireland defender Gerry Taggart. Gary Childs equalised for Grimsby, but Bolton were not to be denied and lead the division by a single point after Nathan Blake's solo winner. The striker picked the ball up just over the half way line and went on a surging run which ended with him firing into the roof of the net to give his side their first win in nine games.

Mike Sheron's 18th goal of the season saw Stoke beat the previous leaders, Barnsley, 1-0 at the Victoria Ground, letting Howard Kendall's Sheffield United move into second after their win in the Yorkshire derby at Bradford City. Doug Hodgson and Andy Scott scored the Blades' goals at Valley Parade.

Crystal Palace's 3-1 defeat at Ipswich allowed Wolves, 3-1 victors over Oxford United at Molineux, to draw level with Palace on 39 points. Mark McGhee's side were winning only their fourth home game of the season thanks to two goals from midfielder Simon Osborn and one from Don Goodman, while the Oxford manager Denis Smith was ordered from the dug-out after arguing with a linesman.

"I was trying to organise things and people don't always like the way I do it," Smith said afterwards. "Sometimes I don't like the way they do things.

"I suppose more will be made of this than the match itself, which I thought was a good one. Unfortunately, we shot ourselves in the backside."

Wolves' win was their second in three home games and hinted that they may be turning the corner after suffering six defeats at Molineux this season.

"Oxford made some mistakes, but it was about time we benefited from things like that," Mark McGhee, the Wolves manager, said.

Ged Brannan's last-minute equaliser gave Tranmere a point at home to Huddersfield, while West Bromwich twice took the lead against Reading at Elm Park only to draw 2-2.

Charlton cruised to a 2-0 win at Southend earlier in the day, and Steve Cowe took advantage of a mistake by goalkeeper Aaron Flahavan to score the only goal as Swindon won 1-0 at Portsmouth.

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