Bolton losing their way


James Sowcroft scored twice at Burnden Park to give Ipswich Town an improbable 2-1 win at First Division Bolton Wanderers, whose lead has now been cut to one point. Wanderers have gone seven league games without a win, a run that is beginning to sound less like a mini-crisis and rather more like the full-blown article.

The East Anglians took a first half lead when Gus Uhlenbeek broke down the right and his pass set up Scowcroft's sixth goal of the season. Bolton must have thought that the tide had turned when Gudni Bergsson equalised midway through the second half but Scowcroft had the last laugh, knocking in the winner with four minutes remaining.

Barnsley were the only side in the chasing pack able to take full advantage of Wanderers' slip-up. They were in command for most of the game as they beat Tranmere 3-0 at Oakwell, strikers John Hendrie and Paul Wilkinson getting the first two. Neil Redfearn converted a late penalty.

That win lifted the Yorkshiremen above their more feted neighbours Sheffield United who may have realised their trip to Oxford United was ill-starred when defender Michael Vonk injured himself during the warm-up and had to be withdrawn.

Martin Aldridge took full advantage, scoring a hat-trick in the first 33 minutes. Nigel Jemson made it four with his 15th goal of the season, Andy Walker got the Blades' late consolation. Oxford moved up to fifth.

Mark McGhee had little cause to celebrate his first anniversary as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers . They were beaten 1-0 by lowly Oldham Athletic at Molineux, their sixth home defeat of the season. Athletic's goal came in the 15th minute when Nick Henry's cross to the far post was met by Ian Ormondroyd's head.

Crystal Palace welcomed Ray Houghton back to their starting line-up for the trip to Norwich City, who were without a win for six games and remain so after Neil Adams's 71st-minute strike cancelled out Neil Shipperley's opener for Palace. Houghton was sent off two minutes from time.

Queen's Park Rangers won their third consecutive game as generous Southend United gave away a penalty and an own goal in the space of four minutes just before half-time at Loftus Road. John Spencer and Gavin Peacock scored later in Rangers emphatic 4-0 win.

Tony Naylor scored a hat-trick as Port Vale, beat Charlton 3-1 at The Valley and Mark Stein scored both Stoke's goals in their 2-0 win over Swindon which takes them up to seventh.

Brentford went back to the top of the Second division with a 2-1 win at Burnley while Millwall could only draw 1-1 at Bournemouth.

Peter Shilton made his 999th League appearance and helped Leyton Orient get a point at Third Division leaders Fulham. Paul Watson put the home side ahead and when Orient had Scott McGleish sent off with 17 minutes still to play it looked as though all the points would be staying in west London. But Mark Warren equalised.

Finally, a familiar face was watching football again in Nottingham - on the wrong side of the Trent. Brian Clough, the former Forest manager was in the Meadow Lane director's box to watch Notts County's Second division game against Rotherham. His recovery after treatment in a Staffordshire clinic last week might not have been aided by the 0-0 draw.

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