Football Round-up: Le Tissier calls tune

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The Independent Online
THE Crazy Gang had the band on the run at the Dell yesterday afternoon but it did not stop Southampton continuing Alan Ball's honeymoon start as the Saints' manager. None the less, it took an exceptional goal from Matthew Le Tissier, his 16th of the season and sixth in the last four games, to beat a typically obdurate Wimbledon.

Fouled on the edge of the penalty area, Le Tissier, the Southampton captain, had Jim Magilton roll the ball back a yard, flicked it up and sent a right-foot volley whistling past the wall and Hans Segers' leap into the top corner. Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager, was not best pleased. 'I feel bitterly cheated - I feel we were robbed,' he said, questioning referee Dermot Gallacher's free-kick award.

Ball concentrated on Le Tissier's skill. 'I hope he gets the (England) call because he deserves it. The goal didn't surprise me. He was taking them in training yesterday and had the goalkeeper jumping all over the place.' The tone for the match was set by Wimbledon during their pre-match warm-up when they bombarded the members of the Royal Albion Band with balls; presumably the selection they were playing was not to the Dons' rarefied taste. A Vinnie Jones punt dislodged the tuba's player's spectacles, causing the musician to depart molto pronto.

Two goals from Alan Pardew, one a penalty, lifted Charlton Athletic back into second place in the First Division but the Valiants, having been in charge against Watford, had to hang on after Gary Porter pulled a goal back 11 minutes from time. With Leicester and Millwall idle, Nottingham Forest missed a chance to gain ground when they were beaten by Oxford at the Manor Ground. Alex Dyer scored the winner two minutes from time.

Reading extended their lead at the top of the Second Division with a 1-0 win at Cambridge as Jimmy Quinn, the English league's leading scorer, took his tally to 32. Second- placed Bristol Rovers were held 1-1 at home by Hull, and Plymouth moved up to third with their second home win of the week, beating Swansea by the odd goal in three.

The top five in the Third Division all won but there were some mighty close calls. Top dogs Crewe won at Mansfield easily enough but second- placed Shrewsbury needed a second-half blitz to win 3-2 at Bury after trailing 2-0 at half- time. Wycombe, fifth, left it until a minute from time at Gillingham. Third-placed Torquay kept their run going at Colchester and Chester, fourth, fell behind to Rochdale before winning 3-1.

Meanwhile, English club managers under pressure tonight might give thanks that they are not employed by the Spanish club, Atletico Madrid. They are about to appoint Iselin Ovejero as their fifth coach of the season, a national record. This time, the club's volatile owner, Jesus Gil y Gil, is not responsible. The players, apparently, requested that Jose Romero resign after one month and six matches (won two, lost four) in charge. 'I think it was for tactical reasons and nothing personal,' Gil said.

On the field, a crowd of 105,000 at the Nou Camp last night watched Barcelona overwhelm the league leaders, Deportivo La Coruna, 3-0. Hristo Stoichkov, the Bulgarian international, struck first, with a 23rd-minute header, and he set up Romario for a second seven minutes later. Michael Laudrup came off the bench to conclude the scoring with a neat lob 12 minutes from time. Deportivo's lead is now down to four points.

(Photograph omitted)

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