Football Round-Up: Impey on the mark

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The Independent Online
GERRY FRANCIS'S decision to stay for at least another year at Queen's Park Rangers was repaid in part by yesterday's 3-1 win over Ipswich Town at Portman Road. 'After all our problems on and off the field I was very pleased with the response of the players,' he said. 'Darren Peacock leaving us (for Newcastle) was obviously a big blow. We had the youngest and least experienced back four I have ever worked with.

'When we scored we weren't playing particularly well,' he added. After a scrappy first half, Andrew Impey, advised by his manager to get forward more, scored twice in five minutes just past the hour. 'If we can carry on this form we could be a bit dangerous later in the season,' Francis said.

Town were ill-prepared to mount a fight back, with leading scorer Ian Marshall and veteran defender John Wark both missing. They then lost another defender, Neil Thompson, shortly after the restart. 'We have got to question our defence for all three goals,' the team manager Mick McGiven said.

A dull match at Highfield Road was enlivened by a rare sight - Coventry City scored. It was something they had not achieved in their four previous matches, all defeats, in a total of six-and-a-half hours' play. Sean Flynn embarrassed Norwich City's defence and Mick Quinn added a second for good measure, his ninth goal of the season.

The sides previously in second, third, fourth and fifth place in the Endsleigh First Division all lost: Nottingham Forest narrowly at Portsmouth; Leicester spectacularly, 4-1 at Notts County; Millwall surprisingly at Watford; and Charlton at home against Wolves. Their fifth successive defeat meant Notts County and Derby County, who won for the first time in five games, went above them. FA Cup semi-finalists Luton lost at Barnsley and, for the first time in 15 attempts, Birmingham won.

It was much the same in the Second Division. Leaders Reading came from behind to beat Autoglass Trophy finalists Swansea, Jimmy Quinn scoring his 35th of the season, but second-placed Plymouth lost to Huddersfield, coincidentally the other Autoglass finalists. Stockport, third, lost at home to Bournemouth while Port Vale, fourth, lost at Wrexham.

In the Third, Chester's 2-1 win over Wigan opened up a two-point gap and Crewe ended their losing run with a 2-1 win at Lincoln that lifted them to second. No goals in the tight promotion match between Torquay and Shrewsbury and only one at Adams Park, where Wycombe lost to Chesterfield and each agitated side had a player sent off.

In Scotland, Rangers strode towards another Premier title after a 2-1 win at Hearts, but at the bottom, where three sides go down, nerves are jangling. Dundee's plight is dire but they beat Kilmarnock, 3-0 which helped St Johnstone, 2-0 winners over struggling Raith, to get within a point of Killie. There is only one promotion place from the Scottish First and it will be decided between Dunfermline and Falkirk, who drew 1-1 yesterday.