Football: Lights out at Blackpool

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Joe O'Connor has scored over 200 goals in seven seasons with Hednesford Town of the GM Vauxhall Conference but few will have been as precious as his strike which won their FA Cup Second Round tie at Second Division Blackpool three minutes from time.

Town's 2,000 travelling support were relishing the prospect of a replay back at Keys Park in the Midlands when O'Connor, a materials manager for a chemicals firm in his parallel universe, tapped in the rebound after Keith Russell's 20-yard shot hit the post. "This is a dream come true for us," Town's manager John Baldwin said. "It's the greatest day in the history of Hednesford Town."

Baldwin's opposite number, Gary Megson, was chaperoned off the pitch by security men as Blackpool fans chanted for his dismissal. "It is a very bad day for the club," their chairwoman Vicki Oyston observed. "I've got to look at the long-term interests of Blackpool. I don't believe in knee-jerk reactions."

Town go into Monday night's draw for the Third Round along with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle and Arsenal. And Enfield.

The Icis Premier side held another Second Division side, Barry Fry's Peterborough, to a 1-1 draw despite having Al-James Hannigan sent off after 39 minutes when they were leading through Shaun Marshall's lazy lob which bobbled in off the post and comprised Enfield's only serious assault on Posh's goal. Ken Charlery's header was Boro's only reward.

"We lacked composure in front of goal and totally failed to finish them off," Fry said. "It's a wasted opportunity, although it will be nice to have another gate that we haven't budgeted for. But all credit to Enfield. They fought like tigers and deserve a second go just for that."

Other non-league sides led but couldn't sustain, and some were simply hammered. Second Division Bristol City beat St Albans of the Icis Premier 9-2, with Paul Agostino scoring four, and Ashford of the Dr Marten's Premier lost 5-0 at Second Division Watford, David Connolly claiming a Hornets hat-trick. The Icis Premier side Boreham Wood led through Terry Robbins but lost at Second Division Luton, 2-1, Dwight Marshall scoring twice, and a very similar fate awaited Dr Marten's Premier side Sudbury Town after they took the lead through 6ft 5in Christian McClean's header against Second Division leaders Brentford. But Robert Taylor scored twice in the Bees' stinging three-goal reply. Third Division Chester beat Boston United of the UniBond Premier even though they were down to 10 men after 36 minutes when Peter Jackson was booked for a second time. By that time Andy Milner had put Chester ahead. The Boston player-manager Greg Fee's first-half penalty was saved.

In the First Division, Sheffield United moved to within two points of leaders Bolton, who play today, when Peter Kachuro's ninth goal of the season won the game against Portsmouth. Third-placed Barnsley beat Southend United 3-0 but Crystal Palace, fourth, were held 2-2 at home by Oxford United.

Davor Suker and Predrag Mijatovic ensured that Real Madrid would spend Christmas in front of their arch-rivals Barcelona by scoring in the 2- 0 victory in Spain's showpiece match last night.