Football: Chasing those boos away

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The Independent Online
It has been some years since the put-upon fans of Manchester City have had anything to smile about - other than in lugubrious self-deprecating jest - but it will have been a particularly grumpy sort of City fan who did not grin his or her way home from Maine Road yesterday after the Sky Blues put six past Swindon Town.

The rout started after seven minutes when Georgi Kinkladze, in imperious form, curled in a 25-yard free-kick round the Robins' five-man defensive wall with his left foot. Chris Casper, on loan to the Wiltshire side from Manchester United, of all clubs, gave City their second with an own goal and, after Kinkladze had hit the angle, Kevin Horlock's diving header from Ged Brannan's cross made it 3-0 at half-time.

Paul Dickov scored twice early in the second half before Lee Bradbury finished the scoring 10 minutes from the end. Seven days ago City were booed off, yesterday it was a standing ovation. The news from Leeds caused a chuckle, too.

Kevin Campbell, booed by Nottingham Forest fans, scored the only goal of the game at the City Ground to send the Midlanders a point clear at the top after the derby against Stoke City. Campbell headed in Pierre van Hooijdonk's 66th-minute cross to break the deadlock.

"Kevin deserved a goal more than anybody," Dave Bassett, the Forest manager, said. "He's taken a lot of stick from supporters but from what I see of him he works extremely hard to get the right results for himself and the team."

Of the Midlands' other challengers, West Bromwich Albion's Canadian striker Paul Peschisolido scored a hat-trick in the Baggies 3-1 win at Bury while Birmingham City were happy with the draw at Sheffield United.

London's challenge looked less vigorous when Queen's Park Rangers lost 2-0 at Port Vale and dropped to third while Charlton Athletic, leading 1-0 at The Valley with only 21 minutes to go, lost 3-1 to Stockport.

Portsmouth lost their fourth game in a row when Reading beat them 2-0 at Fratton Park. Pompey chimes were replaced by a "Fenwick out" chant. On a good day for strugglers, Crewe picked up their first home points by beating Tranmere and Huddersfield gained a point at Wolves despite trailing to a Steve Bull goal after 50 seconds.

It was the 300th goal of his career but he was substituted after 78 minutes, a decision met with howls of derision from the Wolves fans. In response the Molineux manager, Mark McGhee, appeared to mouth obscenities at the fans.

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