Football: Round-Up: Bolton keep up the charge

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DESPITE FALLING foul of the law of the ex-player scoring against them, Bolton Wanderers stretched their unbeaten run to 14 games with a 2-1 over West Bromwich Albion at the Reebok Stadium and moved into the Nationwide First Division's second automatic promotion place.

The former Wanderer, Fabian De Freitas, caused consternation when he picked up the ball in midfield in the 27th minute, ran at the Bolton defence and scored off a post. But the home side levelled two minutes before half- time when the impressive Michael Johansen's cross from the right was emphatically volleyed in by Bob Taylor. Neil Cox grabbed the winner six minutes into the second half.

Fifth-placed Birmingham City slipped up at struggling Stockport County, where they were accounted for by Brett Angell's 16th league goal of the season, headed in from a 10th-minute corner.

The leaders Sunderland's recent away form had not been promising - only two points from four games since winning at Bramall Lane at the end of November - nor was their record at Ashton Gate - one win in 13 visits over the past 89 years. But Bristol City's resistance was finally broken in the 89th minute when Kevin Phillips tucked away a penalty to send the Wearsiders eight points clear.

Bristol remain one off the bottom. The only club below them, Crewe Alexandra, welcomed back their former midfielder, the England under-21 international Danny Murphy, on loan from Liverpool Reserves and forced a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, who have now won only once in 15 games.

The Londoners led after only six minutes through Clinton Morrison, who collected Jamie Smith's cross, turned his defender and scored from 10 yards. Dave Walton equalised after 63 minutes.

Port Vale, who occupy the third relegation berth, followed last week's win over Huddersfield with a 3-1 defeat at Molineux where Wolverhampton Wanderers' Paul Simpson put the home side ahead after two minutes and Ian Bogie equalised after four. But a goal from Robbie Keane and a last- minute penalty by Keith Curle ended Vale's brief recovery.

After 17 minutes at the Manor Ground, Brian Burrows up-ended Dean Windass in the penalty area and the Oxford United striker got up to score his 16th goal of the season from the spot. He scored the second, too, in the 2-0 win over Swindon Town.

Oxford moved above struggling Bury who lost 2-0 at Fratton Park where Matthew Robinson set Pompey on their way with his first senior goal, a 37th-minute diving header two yards out from Steve Claridge's cross. Guy Whittingham made it safe on the hour as Pompey extended their unbeaten run to six games.

Lawrie Sanchez must have forgotten to consult the fixtures list before agreeing to take over as the manager of the Second Division strugglers Wycombe Wanderers. His first game was at home to Fulham, his second away to Preston North End, who beat Wanderers 2-1 to go above Fulham at the top.

In the Third Division, the leaders, Cardiff City, were beaten 1-0 at Barnet, Stevie Searle scoring after 70 minutes.