Football round-up: Dons gain revenge in rematch

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A SWIFT reunion at Selhurst Park of Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday, last Tuesday's Coca-Cola Cup quarter-finalists, produced a reversal of the result and a punch-up that would not have disgraced a rugby union international.

The Dons, who had lost their two previous home Premiership matches, gained an early grip through Neil Ardley's 12th-minute strike. The winger picked up the loose ball after John Fashanu's run had stalled, swivelled and shot low past the goalkeeper Kevin Pressman.

Although Fashanu's header doubled the Dons' lead before half-time it remained a scrappy match with few fluent moves. Grudges remaining from Tuesday's match boiled over when Mark Bright fouled the Wimbledon defender Scott Fitzgerald, John Scales and Bright traded blows and a dozen others waded in. Andy Pearce's header, his first goal for the Owls, was their only consolation.

Barry Fry's attempts to revive First Division Birmingham City are meeting with as much success as Canute on a beach. They were steamrollered by their fellow strugglers Watford, Paul Furlong's hat-trick the highlight of a 5-2 drubbing. City also had Gary Cooper and their new signing Steve Claridge sent off. Other lowly sides fared better: Peterborough, bottom, beat a lamentable West Brom and an error by Simon Royce, Southend's substitute goalkeeper, gave Oxford three home points.

At the top of that section, Millwall went second after their 1-0 home win over Bolton. Hard though Wanderers fought, the Lions created enough chances to have won more comfortably but were content with Alex Rae's strike. After outstanding Cup draws at Blackburn and Manchester United, Portsmouth returned to the toils of the First Division and were denied a point at Derby when Tommy Johnson scored a 90th-minute winner.

'My players claim that Paul Kitson was offside,' the Pompey manager, Jim Smith, said. 'I've seen the TV replay and it shows a player on the right side of their defence was slow coming out,' the County manager, Roy McFarland, countered.

Reading and Crewe have opened up sizeable leads at the top of the Second and Third Divisions respectively but neither could manage a win yesterday. Reading were held 1-1 at Leyton Orient, Jimmy Quinn for once failing to score, and Crewe needed a Shaun Smith penalty to level the scores at home to Scarborough.

Of the Second Division's chasing pack, only Bristol Rovers made an impression beating Cardiff in a midday kick-off. Second-placed Plymouth drew at York, Stockport's match at soggy Exeter was postponed and Burnley surprising lost at home to Bradford. The pursuers in the Third scored three apiece with Tony Ellis (Preston), Wayne Clarke (Shrewsbury), and Craig Langford (Wycombe) all scoring twice.

In Scotland, Dundee, bottom of the Premier, led table- toppers Rangers at Dens Park until a minute from time. Odder still, Mark Hateley did not equalise Morten Weighorst's first-half goal; that honour fell to Gordon Durie. Highland League Huntly finally resolved their Scottish Cup first-round tie against Second Division Albion Rovers - it had been postponed no less than 10 times - turning the game round with three goals in the last 10 minutes to win 5-3.

Speaking of Cup glory, remember Kidderminster Harriers, conquerors of Fry's aforementioned Brum? The GM Vauxhall Conference leaders were brought rudely back to earth by those other redoubtable Cup-fighters Yeovil. Two-nil up at Aggborough after 20 minutes, Harriers found themselves a goal in arrears 33 minutes later and, despite having Phil Fearns sent off, Yeovil hung on.