Football Round-up: Chasing group make ground

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THERE were more late rallies in the Barclays First Division yesterday than in a Ross Perot presidential campaign. With three of the top four idle until this afternoon, Leicester, Swindon and Tranmere all made up ground. Tranmere had it easiest. John Aldridge, that other persistent scorer discarded by Liverpool, scored another two as Rovers beat Bristol City 3-0. Both Leicester and Swindon trailed at home. At Filbert Street, bottom club Barnsley led Leicester at half-time but Bobby Davison had struck the winner before the hour while Watford led from the 19th minute at Swindon's County Ground. But two goals from Craig Maskell, making it 11 for the season, led the recovery. Second-placed Charlton missed a great opportunity to draw level on points with Newcastle but could only manage a 1-1 draw with visitors Southend.

LIFE on the road clearly suits Pompey's Guy Whittingham. He scored a hat-trick away from Fratton Park on the first day of the season and did it again yesterday at Kenilworth Road where Luton's decline continues apace. Derby's investments paid dividends for the second week running. Paul Simpson and Marco Gabbiadini scored the goals in Derby's first win last week and were on target again with three in five minutes at Abbey Stadium as County beat Cambridge 3-1.

WEST BROMWICH'S manager Ossie Ardiles was named Barclays Division Two Manager of the Month and then watched Albion slump to their second defeat of the season. Burnley's Steve Harper and Mike Conroy put the hosts in charge before Albion's Simon Garner pulled one back. The Division's big match, between third placed Stockport and Swansea, who were fourth, predictably ended 1-1 when the Welsh club's Tony Cullen scored in the 89th minute.

YORK, Barnet, Shrewsbury and Cardiff, four of the top five in Division Three all drew. Barnet and Shrewsbury shared the spoils at Underhill but York were surprisingly held at home in the White Rose derby with Doncaster. Cardiff, the only team in the Third able to claim that exertions in Europe had jaded them, were held

1-1 by Rochdale, beneficiaries of the Admira Wacker effect.

RED LETTER day for Alexei Sayle yesterday when Rudi Vata made his debut for Celtic to become the first Albanian to play professional League football in Britain. They won at Dundee but performance of the day in Scotland belonged to Ally McCoist who scored all the goals at Ibrox as Rangers beat Falkirk 4-0. Last year's European Golden Boot has already scored 19 times this season.

TODAY'S Premier League fare, the Lancashire derby between Oldham Athletic and Everton, rather pales in comparison with the Barclays First Division matches which see third-placed Wolves entertain West Ham, who are seventh, while Brentford attempt to halt the 100 per cent record of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United. Keegan, named as Barclays Manager of the Month for September, said: 'We seem to be beating the Gods every week these days. We go into every match honestly believing we can win it and Brentford is no different.' Actually, it is. Newcastle have never scored at Griffin Park but they welcome back top scorer Gavin Peacock after hamstring injury. At Molineux, defender Paul Blades, signed for pounds 325,000 from Norwich on Friday, goes straight into Wolves' squad against the Hammers.

SWINDON TOWN manager Glenn Hoddle takes charge of a Barclays League representative side against an Italian Serie B team at Ashton Gate on 21 October. The visitors will be managed by former World Cup winner Marco Tardelli.