Football: Allison in wonderland

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BRISTOL ROVERS' resurgence under coach Malcolm Allison is thus far brief but nonetheless remarkable, writes Geoff Brown.

Yesterday's win over Luton at Twerton Park, following last week's victory at Leicester, took them off the bottom of the Barclays League First Division for the first time since 10 October. Two goals in four first-half minutes by Carl Saunders and Justin Channing lifted them three places.

At Birmingham, Gary Blissett of Brentford took just two minutes to recover from his stressful week in Salisbury court before he put the Bees ahead. Blissett, who had been found not guilty of grievous bodily harm after a collision between his elbow and the face of Torquay's John Uzzell, saw his lead equalised 12 minutes later but goals by Simon Ratcliffe and Billy Manuel steered Brentford to their second away win of the season.

It hardly needs saying but we will mention it just the same. Newcastle won. Their 2-0 victory at Meadow Lane - goals by Kevin Sheedy and Gavin Peacock - puts them 12 points clear of second-placed Tranmere and 16 ahead of the play-off places. Yesterday's victims, Notts County, also had Chris Short sent off.

Ian Atkins, Cambridge's new manager, saw his side draw 1-1 with Wolves and thought (a) Steve Bull's equaliser was offside, (b) United will not be relegated. 'We played a bit of football but the club is in the process of switching from the long ball style. I'm sure I can get them playing better.'

Millwall salvaged a point against struggling Southend at the Den. John Cornwell but the visitors ahead after seven minutes. Phil Barber, in good form at present, scored the Lions' sole response on the stroke of half-time.

The Leicester striker David Oldfield scored his first two goals of the season in the 3-1 win at Grimsby and Sunderland, whose directors yesterday denied an approach to Crystal Palace's manager Steve Coppell, responded with a 2-1 defeat of Barnsley, Martin Gray, 18, scoring the first after just 40 seconds of his first full senior appearance.