Football Round-Up: Early finish by Ferdinand

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The Independent Online
THE CONTRETEMPS surrounding Les Ferdinand's sending-off at Anfield on Wednesday night did not hang heavily on the England striker's mind yesterday. He took all of two minutes to score Queen's Park Rangers' winner at Southampton, let in by Ken Monkou's mistake. Thereafter, the Saints attacked more in hope than expectation as The Dell witnessed a third consecutive home defeat.

Rangers, winning for the first time in six games, did not escape unscathed. Karl Ready was sent off two minutes from time for a second bookable offence, Rangers' third red card in two games.

If Rangers, the Scottish ones, thought that their Premier title was won after going top last week, then Dundee United and some of their own wretched defending quickly disabused them of the notion at Ibrox yesterday. Davie Bowman headed home Paddy Connolly's cross after 24 seconds and Connolly added a second after 15 minutes. Manager Walter Smith replaced central defender Dave McPherson with Steven Pressley but United's Craig Brewster was unimpressed and made it 3-0 before the break. Dundee settled for that.

'Southend is the only club that I would have returned to full time football for,' the First Division club's new manager Peter Taylor said. Encouraging news for the Roots Hall faithful but a fairly damning indictment of the rest of football. Quite what the former England international felt about his home- town side after yesterday's 3-0 home defeat by West Brom is another matter. Albion had managed only two points from their eight away League games this season.

Tranmere went top of the First with a 1-0 win at Luton, John Aldridge scoring, but Charlton will regain the leadership if they beat Portsmouth at The Valley this afternoon. Alex Rae scored a hat-trick in 17 second-half minutes as Millwall's good run continued with a 3-1 win at Notts County.

Stockport could only draw at Cambridge, so Reading's lead at the top of the Second Division increased when Mick Gooding's goal won a hard game at Burnley. And Crewe took over at the top of the Third after an emphatic 4-2 win at Colchester combined with Preston's inability to subdue Scarborough on the Deepdale plastic. John Beck's side trailed 2-0 but salvaged a point with a debut goal by new signing Ian Bryson and a penalty from top- scorer Tony Ellis.

But for keeping the goals coming we must, as ever, turn to the nether reaches of Scottish football. Forfar put eight past Queen of the South only to be outdone by Ross County's Scottish Cup win over St Cuthbert. Four-nil up in 14 minutes, County scored five more in seven minutes before half-time. Easing up, they managed another two to finish 11-0 winners. Brian Grant scored five.

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