Football Round-up: Forest spark into life

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The Independent Online
ANY lingering doubts that life at Nottingham Forest would be dull after Brian Clough were thunderously disposed of at the City Ground yesterday when Frank Clark's remodelled side won its first three points in an eight-goal thriller. Before relegation to the First Division, Clough's sides were strong defenders but the nerves of last season haven't entirely disappeared as they built commanding leads over Grimsby Town only to see them clawed back.

Kingsley Black and a Paul Futcher own goal put Forest in charge but Clive Mendonca kept Town in touch. Lee Glover and Jim Dobbin swapped goals before Ian Woan put Forest two up again only for Mendonca to narrow the gap again almost immediately. But Robert Rosario, Clough's last purchase and a forward not known for his prolific strike rate, made it safe at 5-3 with 14 minutes remaining.

A GOOD day for the north-east with table-topping Middlesbrough and Sunderland administering sound drubbings to sides who had started the First Division season well. Over 17,000 saw Sunderland beat 4-0 Charlton Athletic at Roker Park, all the goals coming in a 19-minute shower just past the hour. The Wearsiders were humbled themselves at Derby seven days previously but now the Rams ran into an equally confident Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park. County's centre-back Darren Wassall was sent off after 72 minutes but Middlesbrough had the game won by then, goals coming from Alan Kernaghan, Paul Wilkinson and John Hendrie.

SPEAKING of sendings off, was it alignment of the planets, something in the water or an outbreak of vigilante spirit in the hearts and minds of British footballers? Whatever the cause, the effect was communal disobedience amongst players as referees wielded red cards at a prodigious rate yesterday, 16 in all. Pride of place went to Stirling Albion in the Scottish First Division, who had three players - Paul Armstrong (12 min), Colin Mitchell (56 min) and Robert Reilly (33 min) - sent off at Falkirk. Not surprisingly, Albion lost - but only 2-0.

Could Not Care Less Award went to English Second Division Port Vale. Despite having Peter Billing sent off at Vale Park after only 10 minutes, the 10 remaining players beat Barnet 6-0. Remarkably, Bernie Slaven scored a hat- trick in the space of 11 first-half minutes; Martin Foyle took a minute longer to complete his second-half threesome.

MORE miscreants: Last Saturday, Watford had two players sent off so the Hornets doubtless look on yesterday's effort of keeping it down to a mere one dismissal at Vicarage Road as a bonus. Bruce Dyer went on the stroke of half-time by which time Barnsley were 2-0 ahead. At least the Tykes had the decency not to add to the score and had defender Gerry Taggart sent off too, presumably in sympathy.

Compassion was in short supply at Dean Court where Brian McGorry of Bournemouth and Bradford's Mike Duxbury were sent off for resorting to the Marquis of Queensberry. The goals tally also stayed level at 1-1.

MOTHERWELL took the opportunity of Rangers' draw and a low-scoring day to go top of the Scottish Premier with a 1-0 win at promoted Kilmarnock. Edinburgh Festival Note: Hearts beat Hibs

1-0 in the local derby.

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