Football Round-Up: Saville fixes Pool's record

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The Independent Online
THE CLOCK finally stopped on Hartlepool United's unwanted record when Andy Saville scored at Blackpool, 1,227 minutes after their previous goal. United had not scored since Saville's penalty in their FA Cup win over Crystal Palace on 2 January. But 51 minutes into yesterday's game Andy fixed it. And what a goal it was] Blackpool had taken the lead early in the second half. From the kick-off, Saville received the ball from Brian Honour, beat three defenders and, like a corpsing actor suddenly regaining composure, slid the ball home. Stunned silence doubtless ensued.

FOOTBALL MESSIAHS come in all shapes and sizes and none more so than David Sullivan, proprietor of the Daily and Sunday Sport, allegedly newspapers. He was at St Andrews to see what he'd let himself in for when buying Birmingham City from the First division's bargain basement. Clearly a talisman, Sullivan watched Canadian international Paul Peschisolido score the only goal of the game against Oxford United, lifting Brum off the bottom. Actually, it's their away form that needs divine intervention.

AT THE top of the First it was business much as usual as Newcastle United, West Ham United, Swindon Town, Portsmouth, Tranmere Rovers and Leicester City all won well. The latter spoiled Barnsley's day, the Yorkshire side had opened a new pounds 2.5m East Stand at Oakwell. But Millwall's form, tottering like an Italian government, continues to cause dismay in the Old Kent Road. Yesterday they slipped to fifth after a 0-0 draw at home to moderate Sunderland, who have not won in seven games.

STOKE CITY made short work of lowly Chester City in the Second division but second-placed Port Vale kept up the pressure with a fine 2-0 win at Brighton, who harbour promotion expectations of their own. West Bromwich Albion finally reversed their failing form, beating Burnley and Bolton moved into the promotion frame after a 1-0 home win against Leyton Orient.

BARNET'S 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town gave the chasing pack in the Third division encouragement and Cardiff City needed no further invitation to cut the Bees' lead to six points with a 2-1 win at Rochdale. Wrexham stay third after a 2-0 win over Hereford and Bury leapfrog over Scarborough after their 3-1 away win.

AS ONE record stalls (see top of round-up) another begins: Gillingham have now scored four own goals in their last three matches. Paul Clark's effort in the 3-1 defeat at Crewe follows the two in midweek gifted to Barnet and one last Saturday which gave Doncaster a point at Priestfield.

THIS AFTERNOON'S FA Cup sixth round tie between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur shall otherwise be known as 'The Return Of The Centre Backs'. Spurs welcome back resolute stopper Neil Ruddock and not before time. They have conceded eight goals during his two-match suspension. With the prized Nick Barmby on duty with England's Youth XI and Gordon Durie injured, Spurs might use Teddy Sheringham as a lone striker and City's centre half Keith Curle has recovered from injury to police him.

CLYDEBANK achieved the result of the day in the Tennents Scottish Cup fifth round. Their 1-1 draw at Aberdeen was a giant- wounding rather than 'killing' performance. After Duncan Shearer gave the Dons a second minute lead from the penalty spot, John Maher having brought down Mixu Paatelainen, the Pittodrie faithful sat back for further amusement.

It never came. Two minutes later Eoin Jess, Aberdeen's excellent young striker, was carried off with a broken ankle and will be out for at least six weeks - grim news for Andy Roxburgh, Scotland's coach who faces a difficult World Cup qualifier in Portugal next month. Clydebank goalkeeper Steve Woods stood firm and Martin McIntosh equalised eight minutes from time.

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