Football Round-Up: Dobbin blots Keegan book

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MERRY quips about donkeys will get short shrift in Newcastle this morning. After 11 consecutive wins, the Magpies' 100 per cent First Division record fell yesterday to an 89th-minute strike by Grimsby Town's Jim Dobbin at St James' Park. The Mariners gave Kevin Keegan's hitherto rampant Geordies more problems than all previous visitors put together. To add insult, Town's clean sheet was kept by a former United goalkeeper: Dave Beasant on loan from Chelsea. Misery too at Aldershot Town, where they had also swept aside all opposition until yesterday. The reborn Shots had scored 10 straight wins in the Diadora League Third Division, but Bracknell's 2-2 draw put a stop to all that nonsense.

SWINDON TOWN surged into second place in the First thanks to another late winner away from home. The prolific Craig Maskell scored just after West Ham had had George Parris sent off. Other chasing clubs fared less well. Despite staging roaring recoveries, Charlton and Tranmere lost high- scoring matches. At the Baseball Ground, Charlton took a sixth- minute lead through Alan Pardew but expensive Derby were level seconds later, Marco Gabbiadini on target. An hour later County were 4-1 ahead but Charlton scored twice late on. Sheepish Rams held on to win 4-3. At Watford, Tranmere were two down in five minutes to a Paul Furlong double. Level by half-time, Rovers again fell to a sucker punch when Watford's new striker Ken Charlery scored a minute after restarting. It stayed 3-2.

SWANSEA CITY went top of the Second Division when they beat Reading 2-1 at Vetch Field while previous leaders Leyton Orient were beaten 1-0 at solid home side Bradford. But the Division's biggest crowd, 22,400, assembled at the Victoria Ground to see Stoke City win the Potteries derby against Port Vale. The former Millwall midfielder Paul Kerr gave Vale the lead but City's defender Ian Cranson equalised a minute later. A Mark Stein penalty five minutes from time gave Stoke the supreme satisfaction.

HAIL McPhail, Goalkeeper of the Day. Second Division Hartlepool's defender John McPhail took over between the posts when regular custodian Martin Hodge was sent off at Brighton after just five minutes. First, McPhail saved Ian Chapman's penalty, awarded for Hodge's professional foul on Andy Kennedy, then for 85 minutes he kept out everything but Steve Foster's 54th-minute strike and was still upright when Brian Honour grabbed 'Pool's equaliser a minute from time. Doesn't say a lot for Albion's killer instinct, though.

THIRD Division Barnet, whose players have been embroiled in a row with chairman Stan Flashman all week, were broiled by Lincoln at Sincil Bank, where they lost 4-1. Shrewsbury went third, beating Cardiff 3-2 in a difficult match at Gay Meadow, and stylish Crewe defeated Bury 2-1 to go fourth.

ABERDEEN will rely heavily on the experience of Roy Aitken and Alex McLeish to stifle Rangers in this afternoon's Skol Cup final at Hampden Park. Aitken, who is also assistant manager to Dons' Willie Miller, and McLeish are both 33-years-old and both are appearing in their 12th major final. 'We have learnt from previous cup finals what does and doesn't win cups,' Aitken said. 'It's the advice we give the younger, less experienced players that will help Aberdeen succeed. I'm not worried about Rangers.' Experience is all the rage today. Tottenham, 20th and teetering in the Premier, recall Gary Mabbutt for their game at Wimbledon, who are 21st.

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