Football: Kelly rebels over clause: Endsleigh round-up

A grim night, one suspects, in the Bassett household. Dave of that ilk, manager of Sheffield United, had a rude shock before the First Division match against Notts County at Bramall Lane when he discovered the new three-year deal he thought he had agreed with the goalkeeper Alan Kelly on Friday night was still unsigned. 'Early this afternoon Kelly informed me that his agent Kevin Mason could not accept a clause in the contract,' Bassett explained.

No signature, contract torn up, Kelly out of the team. Up steps the reserve keeper Simon Tracey. Here, alas, events diverge from the old-star-back-in- limelight script.

County took control of the match from the start and scored through Garys McSwegan and Lund before the United striker Jostein Flo was sent off after a wild tackle on Dean Yates. He was the fourth Blades player sent off in two games. County ran out 3-1 winners.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough's start to the season remains as rock solid as a tackle by their player-manager, Bryan Robson. Paul Wilkinson's first goal of the season - a perfect header from Jamie Pollock's cross - was enough to beat Bolton and maintain Boro's 100 per cent record. They have yet to concede a goal. If sound defence is Boro's base, all-out attack is relegated Oldham's forte. Their 3-0 defeat of promoted Burnley makes it nine goals in three games; Sean McCarthy's bagged four.

The rumble during Derby County's last visit to Millwall's New Den in last May's promotion play-offs was not repeated, probably because the Lions won and nothing quite so life enhancing as promotion to the Premiership was at stake. Substitute John Kerr scored a hat- trick in the 4-1 win.

Goals aplenty in the Second Division where Peter Shilton's Plymouth slumped to their second 5-1 home defeat of the season. Bradford's Paul Jewell did most of the damage, his second hat-trick of the season making his tally eight goals in three games. Will West Ham take note? Promoted Crewe, making light of the elevation, beat Peterborough, travelling fast in the opposite direction, 5-1 at London Road. Oxford, like Crewe and Bradford, also have a 100 per cent start after winning the Varsity town match against Cambridge.

Three wins out of three at Doncaster has given Sammy Chung the opening that managers in the sack-happy Third Division tend to need. He's signed a team's worth of new players but it was goal-a-game Graeme Jones who started them on the way to a 3-0 win at Colchester.

The first Scottish League meeting between the former Highland League clubs Ross County and Caledonian Thistle at County's Victoria Park was as passionate as expected. Two players were sent off for dissent - the host's Gary Campbell and Caley's Mike Andrew - as Thistle won 3-1. And at the 23rd attempt, Hibernian beat Edinburgh rivals Hearts.

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