Football: Bolton's run ends with two red cards

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The Independent Online
Bolton, the First Division leaders, had two players sent off as they were beaten 3-1 - their first defeat in 12 games - in a fiery fixture at Birmingham last night.

In all, three players received a red card from the referee, Graham Pooley of Bishop's Stortford. In a 27th-minute clash, Birmingham's Paul Devlin appeared to head-butt Bolton's Jimmy Phillips, and both players were given the red card. Late in the game, Bolton's captain Gerry Taggart was sent off for a second booking.

Birmingham scored two in two minutes in the second half through Paul Furlong and Jason Bowen. On-loan John Sheridan reduced the arrears but then Andy Todd turned a cross from Matt Jackson into his own net.

Phil Neal's first game in charge of Manchester City ended in defeat: Matt Elliott's 87th-minute goal earning Oxford United a 3-2 win at Maine Road. City's lowest home attendance of the season, 23,079, watched in dismay as three mistakes by Andy Dibble gifted Oxford their goals - and after the game there were calls for the resignation of City's chairman, Francis Lee, from the frustrated home supporters.

Oxford took the lead in their first attack, Joey Beauchamp's cross from the right flying through a crowd of players and past the dithering Dibble. City hit back quickly, though, and Georgi Kinkladze helped to set up two goals in two minutes from Paul Dickov and Ian Brightwell. Oxford drew level before the break when Dibble allowed a weak header from Nigel Jemson to slip past him, and the hapless goalkeeper was again at fault with Elliott's looping header for the winner.

Sheffield United climbed to fifth place in the division as two goals in three minutes proved enough to earn a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion.

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