Football: Quinn fails to take stock

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A MANAGER joins his former club's hated neighbours, who are struggling. But there was no multi-million pound contract, media scrimmage or, indeed, winning start for Jimmy Quinn, the once successful joint player-manager of Reading who on Friday was installed as successor to Steve McMahon as manager of the First Division side, Swindon Town, the other half of the Wilts-Berks rivalry.

Quinn, who had two spells as a player with the Robins, saw fellow slow- starters Stockport County plunder all three points from the County Ground when they turned the game around in the space of nine minutes either side of half-time. Iffy Onuora had given the hosts a 23rd-minute lead but goals by Martin McIntosh and Graham Branch just before half-time and Ian Moore two minutes after the restart, all a result of careless defending, put County in charge. Mark Walters quickly reduced the arrears but County held on as, in the final seconds, Onuora's header was cleared off the line by Sean Connelly.

"It's clear to me straight away where the problems lie," Quinn said, "and we'll be doing some work this week to try to sort a few things out. Having said that I was delighted with the effort and the application the players showed."

Perhaps he should study the progress of Peter Jackson, the Huddersfield Town manager who celebrated his first anniversary at the McAlpine Stadium by watching them beat Oxford United 2-0 to go back to the top of the First Division.

When Huddersfield offered the untried Jackson the job, they had taken four points from 10 games. Since then there has been remarkable progress, much of this season's good start due to the form and goals of the strikers, Marcus Stewart and Wayne Allison. Stewart duly grabbed the second - his ninth of the season - after Paul Dalton had opened the scoring.

"A great anniversary present," Jackson said, "but I am slightly disappointed that we did not score more than two goals. But we got the result, kept a clean sheet and were solid enough. We are back on top and I don't think I can complain too much."

At the Stadium of Light, Sunderland stretched their unbeaten run to 12 matches but dropped to second because they were unable to overcome an improved Bradford City, themselves unbeaten in five games, and the game finished goalless.

Bolton Wanderers are also undefeated but, having recovered from falling a goal behind at Barnsley after just nine minutes, Ashley Ward scoring his ninth of the season, to lead 2-1 at half-time, Arnar Gunn-laugsson and Michael Johansen on target, were disappointed when Robin van der Laan equalised for the Tykes five minutes from the end.

Birmingham City also had to settle for a draw when Gary Jones's 89th- minute goal gave Tranmere Rovers, still without a win, a 2-2 draw at St Andrews. But there was no joy for Terry Venables, touted by some as a contender for the Leeds United job. His Crystal Palace side lost 3-0 at Ipswich Town.

In the Second Division, the leaders Stoke lost on consecutive Saturdays when Reading beat them 2-1 at Elm Park.