Football Round-up: Bodin gives Hoddle a lift

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THERE was no wilting in Wiltshire after what might have been a tricky week for Swindon Town turned out to be a doddle for Glenn Hoddle and his side.

On Tuesday, Town had beaten and overtaken their fellow promotion contenders Tranmere. And yesterday the Robins beat and hopped above Portsmouth. Paul Bodin scored the only goal of the game at the County Ground two minutes from time. The win lifts Swindon to fourth, level on points with Millwall who drew at improving Cambridge. They are both seven points behind second- placed West Ham who drew 0-0 at Sunderland, their muted performance hardly surprising after the sad events of last week.

THEY CALL it Derbyitis: Brentford's 1-0 home defeat by Peterborough was their six successive League reverse at Griffin Park. Despite forcing three corners in the first six minutes, the Bees fell to Tony Philliskirk's 33rd minute goal. Derby won 1-0 at Oxford, but of course they were playing away.

NOTTS COUNTY and Southend picked up points at Grimsby and Wolves respectively to continue their improvement at the bottom of the First Division. County had been 3-1 up but Grimsby's Paul Groves completed his hat-trick with two goals in five minutes to force a draw. At Molineux, Steve Bull put Wolves ahead on 50 minutes, but Brett Angell equalised in the next minute. Luton's much- prized striker Phil Gray kept a cool head at Kenilworth Road as his 82nd-minute penalty earned the Hatters a precious point against Barnsley.

THE FOUR top teams in the Second Division played each other yesterday and home advantage counted. Over 10,000 watched top side Stoke lose to a Mark Cooper goal at Leyton Orient, while at Vale Park more than 13,000 saw Port Vale recover to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1. Nicky Cross equalised Ian Hamilton's first-half goal and Martin Foyle knocked in the winner to leave Vale seven points behind Stoke.

THIRD DIVISION leaders Barnet didn't play yesterday and things couldn't have gone much better for them. Cardiff, second, drew at home to Crewe and Wrexham, third, lost at Bury despite the debut of Jimmy Case, on loan from Halifax. York finally rediscovered their form, thrashing Scunthorpe 5-1 with the former Stoke striker Paul Barnes netting four.

PAUSE HERE to spare a thought for the fans of Hartlepool, the team that can't score. Yesterday's 2-0 home defeat by Bolton took them past Coventry City's record of 1,046 goalless minutes, achieved in 1919. Pool's unenviable record currently stands at 1,088 minutes. The last Hartlepool goal was Andy Saville's penalty, somewhat dubiously awarded, which knocked Crystal Palace out of the FA Cup on 2 January.

RANGERS extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier Division to 11 points by beating Hearts 2-1, Ally McCoist limiting himself to one goal. Second- placed Aberdeen's match against Partick was postponed and Celtic beat Falkirk 3-0, as they ought to.

NAUGHTY DEEDS in the GM Vauxhall Conference where five players were sent off. Dagenham's Mickey Nuttell gave them a 2-0 lead against Altrincham on the stroke of half-time and walked off a happy man. Five minutes into the second half he was walking off again, less jauntily this time. The match ended 2-2. Others who made the lonely walk were Stuart Leicester (Macclesfield), Jason Dawson (Stafford), Stuart Clarke (Telford) and Lloyd Wye (Woking).

WE HAVE been here before: Manchester United captain Bryan Robson, sidelined for six months with a calf injury, made a successful comeback to competitive football yesterday. He turned out for United's A team at Chester. United won 6-1. 'I came through with no problems or any reaction to the injury,' Robson said, 'and I'm very pleased.'

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