Football: Crewe restrain Huddersfield to clear City's path

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MANCHESTER CITY overtook Huddersfield at the top of the Nationwide First Division yesterday as goals from Danny Granville and Shaun Goater, with his 14th of the season, overcame West Bromwich.

Huddersfield were held to a draw by the much-improved Crewe, who had not conceded a goal for 467 minutes until Chris Beech breached their defence. However, the division's leading scorers could not add to the total and Colin Little's 63rd-minute header ensured a share of the spoils.

Ian Moore may have suffered in the Boxing Day traffic but he found a way through for Stockport, his goals snatching victory over Wolves. Moore, forced on to the substitutes' bench because he was delayed by motorway hold-ups, struck twice in the last 45 minutes, including the crucial third County goal in injury time.

Barnsley kept on the heels of the leaders in fifth place, dismantling Grimsby, who have gone 10 games without a clean sheet. Craig Hignett took his tally to five goals in two games and Matt Appleby rounded off a 3- 0 win.

Sheffield United maintained their improvement under Neil Warnock by surprising Birmingham City at St Andrew's, where the home side had only lost once all season. The former Birmingham player Paul Devlin scored the first after four minutes and then provided the second for Martin Smith after 64 to hand the Blades their first away win since last August.

Queen's Park Rangers, with one point from five away games, did themselves few favours at Norwich. Tim Breacker put through his own goal after 25 minutes while Stewart Wardley claimed his eighth to draw level. However, Chris Llewellyn garnered the points for the Canaries three minutes from the end, just leaving time for Richard Langley to be sent off for a second yellow card.

Nottingham Forest had the consolation of scoring their first goal away from home in 437 minutes when Andy Johnson equalised following Per Frandsen's 18th-minute opener at Ewood Park. Yet, when the outstanding Damien Duff was pulled down in the box and Lee Carsley converted the 68th minute spot kick, the three points went to Blackburn.

In the Second Division, Wigan Athletic kept up their record as the only unbeaten side in the country with a win at Notts County, who have now won only once in 11 games. Michael O'Neill put Athletic in front after 35 minutes and Andy Liddell wrapped up the points in the 74th minute.

Preston dropped to third place despite extending their unbeaten run to 17 games against Wrexham. The Welsh side are now without a win in 14 league games, though their successive fifth draw ended North End's seven-match winning streak.

A goal from Jason Roberts five minutes from time gave Bristol Rovers their sixth win in a row and handed Millwall their first defeat in eight games, ending a six-match winning run for the London club. The young striker scored his 12th goal of the season to put the Pirates briefly top until Wigan's victory later in the day.

In the Third, Barnet clung on to the leadership with a 1-1 draw at Brighton, but the most startling result of the day was second-placed Rotherham's 5-0 win at Barry Fry's Peterborough. Third-placed Swansea's 1-0 success at Leyton Orient left the home side stuck at the bottom of the league.

Plymouth's 2-2 draw with Torquay was watched by a crowd of 14,893 at Home Park, by far the biggest in the division this season.