Football: Jewell's gem of a result

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The Independent Online
PAUL JEWELL'S Bradford City, second in the Nationwide First Division, had their good run tarnished last Sunday by defeat at Birmingham City, their first reverse in two months, but regained much of their shine with an impressive 2-0 win over Watford who, let it not be forgotten, ha d beaten the leaders, Sunderland, last weekend.

There was little chance of Watford repeating the upset after Stuart McCall gave Bradford the lead when in the ninth minute a 30-yard drive low into the corner gave early domination its reward. Lee Mills wrapped it up two minutes past the hour.

Bradford stay seven points behind Sunderland, who recovered from three consecutive defeats - two of them admittedly against Premiership clubs in the cup competitions - by beating Swindon Town 2-0 at the Stadium of Light, effectively ending fears that Peter Reid's side had become the Wearysiders. Niall Quinn, from Chris Makin's long cross, and Kevin Phillips, deflecting Allan Johnston's shot, were on target.

Ipswich Town kept their play-off ambitions intact when they beat Bury 3-0 at Gigg Lane. Having outplayed the Shakers with no reward in the first half, Ipswich broke the deadlock with a Mark Venus penalty five minutes into the second and Tony Mowbray and Marlon Harewood, on loan from Nottingham Forest, ensured the score fitted the balance of play.

Town moved into fourth place above Birmingham City, who had to be satisfied with a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Paul Furlong's 50th- minute penalty seemed to have won the game but Gary Rowett's 90th-minute own goal gave Palace a point.

The unstoppable form of Sheffield United's Brazilian striker Marcelo continued at Bramall Lane where he scored twice as the Blades beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0.

Wearing flat caps, the trademark headwear of John Rudge, the Port Vale manager for 19 years who took the club from the nether reaches of the (then) Fourth Division to the First on a frayed shoestring budget but was sacked three weeks ago, several hundred Vale fans marched from Queen's Hall, Burslem, to Vale Park and released black balloons to mark Rudge's 843 games in control.

The gesture was rewarded when Martin Foyle's two goals, set up each time by Craig Russell, on loan from Manchester City, gave Vale a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town, one of new manager Brian Horton's former clubs. Bill Bell, the Vale chairman, has received an offer for the club and, with reports that 18 cars at his garage in Burslem had been damaged by vandals during the night, he might be tempted to accept.

Of Vale's fellow strugglers, the bottom club, Crewe Alexandra, led 2- 0 at Barnsley, Rodney Jack scoring both, but goals by Eric Tinkler and Arjan de Zeeuw gave the Tykes a point. Oxford United refused to allow disappointment to set in after their FA Cup defeat at Chelsea and grabbed a point at Molineux in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Carl Robinson's through ball let in Robbie Keane in the 36th minute but Oxford equalised three minutes later when Dean Windass, the subject of transfer talk, fired in from 16 yards.

Without a win in seven games, Stockport County were surprise 2-0 victors at Norwich City, the former club of County manager Gary Megson. Brett Angell scored after nine minutes when new signing Tony Ellis cut the ball back from the byline. Nine minutes from the break Rob Matthews crossed but Angell couldn't connect. The Canaries' defender, Che Wilson, could and stabbed in an own goal.