Reading remain at Stockport's heels, two second-half Jim Quinn goals sealing a 4-0 victory at Port Vale, and a five-point gap now opens between second and third after Hull's 1-0 defeat at Swansea and a scoreless draw between Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle.
Brighton's two-way fight to appease both fans and financers went another round yesterday after Albion's 2-0 defeat at home to Rotherham. The police had to ask Barry Lloyd, the manager/director, to address the hundreds of fans who had gathered on the pitch demanding the resignation of the board, but Lloyd's words were simply drowned out.
The Third Division's top game, the six-pointer on the plastic - second-placed Preston and third-placed Rochdale at Deepdale - went in Preston's favour. A brace from Tony Ellis maintains Ellis as Third Division top-scorer and keeps Preston a point behind Crewe, who beat Gillingham only by a Shaun Smith penalty.
Another big scorer, Hereford's Chris Pike, hit two, making it five in two matches since his return from injury, but nevertheless found himself on the wrong end of a 5-3 defeat by Bury. Elsewhere, Chester's Paul Wheeler hit a hat-trick against Mansfield, and Scarborough's maiden voyage without a manager survived unperturbed until the 83rd minute when it foundered on a goal from Walsall's Evran Wright.