First blood to Harford

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The Independent Online
NOT for the first time, Wimbledon proved the nemesis of a much fancied and expensively assembled Liverpool side when, playing with 10- men for over an hour - Vinnie Jones had, of course, been sent off - they beat the Anfield side 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

The kick-off has been delayed for 10 minutes while the crowd in excess of 19,000 squeezed through Wimbledon turnstiles not accustomed to such good business. Liverpool were the quickest to settle and the pounds 8m striker Stan Collymore, back after missing two games with injury, Robbie Fowler and Jamie Redknapp all went close in the opening exchanges.

The Dons' attack, with Mick Harford replacing the suspended Dean Holdsworth alongside Efan Ekoku, took rather longer to get going - not unlike Harford's knees these days - but when it did, Joe Kinnear's combative side drew first blood, both metaphorically and actually.

Harford's looping header had been cleared off the line when Jones collected his first red card of the season for fighting with Collymore. A very few minutes later, Harford scored the winner.

The East Midlands derby at Highfield Road between Coventry City and Nottingham Forest finished a stalemate as so many of these affairs do.

The Sky Blues have started the season with much attacking enterprise - much as was expected from Forest, whose start has been more muted - and they went ahead after 10 minutes when their captain, Dion Dublin, connected with Brian Borrows's cross to send a looping header over the Forest goalkeeper, Mark Crossley.

But after 23 minutes Borrows was involved in setting up Forest's equaliser when he passed the ball across Coventry's back line to Paul Williams who let it slip through to Bryan Roy. The Dutch international, with only goalkeeper John Filan to beat, scored coolly. It stayed 1-1.

Striker Mark Bright scored twice in five second-half minutes for Sheffield Wednesday at Queen's Park Rangers to take the three points back to Yorkshire. Post-Ferdinand, Rangers have scored only once in five games.

Bottom-of-the-Premiership Manchester City entertain Arsenal, if not their own fans, at Maine Road this afternoon without the services of Gerry Creaney. Papers finalising details of the former Celtic striker, signed from Portsmouth in exchange for Paul Walsh and pounds 500,000, were not faxed to the Premiership in time to register the player.

Alan Ball was philosophical, as befits a City manager. "Its just one of those things," he said. "It would have been asking a lot for the lad to come into a big game within 24 hours of signing anyway."

The Gunners start without David Platt for the first time this season. "We have lost a leader, a talented player and an attacking one," Platt's manager Bruce Rioch said. "There is no one else like him at the club. We will just have to explore other avenues." The signposts point to John Jensen coming in to midfield, more cul de sac than avenue.

In the Endsleigh First Division, Barnsley, beaten 5-0 at home last week, went ahead against the leaders Millwall after 77 seconds at the New Den, Neil Redfearn scoring with a crisp 10-yard shot. And that's the way it stayed for the remaining 88 minutes and 43 seconds. But the Lions are still top, a point ahead of Barnsley. Leicester, if they win at Derby today, can go level with Millwall.

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