Football Round-up: Reid edges closer

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The Independent Online
PETER REID had expected a hard match when he took the Endsleigh First Division leaders Sunderland to Sheffield United, managed by his Everton mentor Howard Kendall, and he was not disappointed. But the battling Wearsiders made their point from a 0-0 draw and edged closer to the Premiership.

Second-placed Derby, four points behind, play at contenders Charlton this afternoon with third-placed Crystal Palace, another two points adrift, waiting for the Rams to stumble. Palace beat Southend 2-0 at Selhurst Park. Doug Freedman scored twice to lift his total for the season to 23. Missed a penalty too.

Mike Sheron's 90th-minute winner, his second in five days, kept Stoke, 2-1 winners against Portsmouth at the Victoria Ground, in the play-off frame, and worsened Pompey's relegation fears. Huddersfield beat Millwall 3-0 to go sixth.

John Aldridge's first match as manager of relegation-threatened Tranmere ended in a 1-1 draw with Leicester. "We gave them too much room in midfield in the first half," the new gaffer said, "but we had a good chat at half- time and it improved a lot. The point does not get us clear of trouble but I am optimistic."

Watford are much worse off despite their 5-2 win over Port Vale, in which David Connolly scored a hat-trick. The Hornets' M1 neighbours Luton, beaten 4-0 at Birmingham, look like dropping with them.

The first Endsleigh League relegation issue of the season was decided at Boothferry Park when Hull City's 2-1 defeat by play-off contenders Crewe meant the Second Division called "Time Gentlemen, Please" on the Tigers. Never mind. Just think of those Humberside derbies against Scunthorpe.

Neil Grayson scored a hat-trick without reply for Northampton at Third Division leaders Preston as second-placed Gillingham, 1-0 winners over Exeter, drew level on points. Contenders Plymouth and Barnet both won 5-1.

In Scotland, wee drams will be drunk to East Fife, who got the point at Clyde they needed to win promotion from Division Two, and to Livingston who won promotion from Division Three after a 1-0 win at Brechin.