Football Round up: Dinning serves up late County treat

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The Independent Online
MATCHES BETWEEN teams from Manchester and Liverpool are passionate, dramatic affairs by tradition and, if perhaps lacking the glamour of Premiership games, the extraordinary spat at Edgeley Park between Stockport County and Tranmere Rovers certainly spent its full share of emotion before County ran out 2-1 winners, having played a man short for almost the entire match.

Martin McIntosh saw red after only three minutes when he elbowed Clint Hill. Ten-man County then held out for 33 minutes but fell behind when Nick Henry's drive was deflected past Carlo Nash in the Stockport goal.

County ensured their third consecutive win - they also won in the Worthington Cup in midweek - and a best start for 50 years, when second-half goals from Sean Connolly and Tony Dinning, an 85th-minute penalty, clinched an unlikely victory to top the (very) early season table.

An equally gutsy performance by Crystal Palace earned a 3-2 win at Barnsley. Simon Rodger scored his second Palace goal of the season with an overhead kick after 24 minutes and the lead held intact for 20 minutes until he pulled down Craig Hignett and Darren Barnard converted the penalty. Dean Austin and Lee Bradbury wrapped up the win. "Barnsley is a very difficult place to come and I would have settled for a draw at half-time," Steve Coppell, the Palace manager, said, having questioned the legitimacy of both Barnsley goals.

A solo goal lashed in from the byeline by the substitute, Carlton Palmer, gave Nottingham Forest their first First Division points under David Platt after a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town at the City Ground.

Bolton Wanderers beat Queen's Park Rangers 2-1 at the Reebok Stadium. A Dean Holdsworth penalty, after Danny Maddix fouled him, was cancelled out when Mike Whitlow, the Bolton captain, tripped Chris Kiwomya and Gavin Peacock equalised from the spot. But Eidur Gudjohnson gave Wanderers their first win just past the hour. "Our attacking was as good as it ever was, but now I think we have the resolve and resilience," Colin Todd, the Wanderers manager, hoped.

West Bromwich Albion took 14 minutes to unravel Port Vale's defensive web thanks to a divot which diverted a punt over the shoulder of the Vale goalkeeper, Kevin Pilkington, and Lee Hughes capitalised. Jeff Minton's spot-kick levelled but Kevin Kilbane grabbed a second-half winner.

Fancied Birmingham City won at Norwich City thanks to Jon McCarthy's 11th-minute goal and new boys Walsall's second draw in two First Division games came as they recovered from the shock of Shaun Murphy's header after 58 seconds to fashion Darren Wrack's 38th-minute equaliser against Sheffield United. "Absolutely fantastic," Ray Graydon, the Saddlers boss, enthused. What'll he say when they win?

In the Second Division, Pres- ton North End are the only side with a 100 per cent record after two games. They beat Stoke City 2-1 at Deepdale. Wigan were 3-0 up with 12 minutes to go at the New Den but Millwall's breathless late rally salvaged a point in a 3-3 draw. Bristol Rovers, down to 10 men after 20 minutes when Ronnie Mauge was sent off, toughed out a 1-0 win at Gillingham.

Four Third Division sides have unblemished records after two matches: Darlington, Rochdale, Peterborough United, and Brighton, who followed last week's 6-0 demolition of Mansfield Town with a 2-1 win at Leyton Orient.

In Scotland, Willie Falconer, the former Aberdeen striker, added to his previous club's woes when his two first-half headers saw Dundee win 2- 0 at Pittodrie. The Dons have no goals and no points. "It's time to get these players out of the team who cannot handle the pressure," Ebbe Skovdahl, the Dons manager, threatened.