Middlesbrough were less than lively at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea rampaged to a 4-0 victory, with goals from Mal Donaghy, John Spencer, Graham Stuart and Darren Barnard. Lennie Lawrence's side now languish two points adrift.
Crystal Palace scrambled a draw against Queen's Park Rangers, thanks to a David Bardsley own goal which equalised his team-mate Bradley Allen's opener. Palace are not yet safe.
AT THE start of play yesterday, a spread of six points covered 14 teams in the Premier Division from fourth-placed Blackburn Rovers to Leeds United, five steps off the bottom rung. In the middle of this vast rump - it is as fat as a ticket-tout's wallet on FA Cup Final day - are Coventry City and Southampton, who met at Highfield Road yesterday. Goals by Mick Quinn, his first in eight matches, and John Williams won it for City.
Ipswich Town's drastic slump continued at Maine Road despite their holding the lead for almost an hour. Gavin Johnson put them ahead in the second minute but Manchester City's Niall Quinn equalised 10 minutes into the second half. Rick Holden and Michel Vonk sealed City's win.
HONOURS were even in the First Division promotion scrap between Millwall (fifth) and Portsmouth (third) at the Den after a canny substitution by Mick McCarthy, the Lions' manager, paid a quick dividend. Trailing to Mark Chamberlain's first-half goal - he drove a mighty shot past Kasey Keller after Paul Walsh's pass had split the Millwall defence - McCarthy sent on John Kerr in place of Malcolm Allen. Kerr was in the right spot when Jamie Moralee's shot rebounded.
THE FIRST DIVISION leaders, Newcastle United, won at a canter at Cambridge United, who gave the Australian Olympic goalkeeper John Filan his debut. But West Ham, visiting much improved Birmingham City without their leading scorer, Trevor Morley, scored a dramatic late win. In the 12th minute, Andy Saville scored his fourth goal in three games since moving from Hartlepool. Brum looked certain to make it five games undefeated but in the 87th minute Kenny Brown's speculative 30-yard shot slid under the goalkeeper Bob Catlin and a minute from time Ian Bishop calmly chipped over Catlin.
LEICESTER CITY, First Division play-off hopefuls, could only draw 0-0 at the bottom club, Bristol Rovers.
BARRY FRY had not been much accustomed to losing at Underhill but the prognosis was that he would get a fair taste of it when he swapped the managerial seat at Third Division Barnet for similar duty at First Division Southend United last week. This morning, the prediction seems as reliable as a weather forecast. At Roker Park, Southend walloped Sunderland 4-2 after trailing 2-1 at the break. They remain in the relegation zone but with three potent strikers - Stan Collymore, Brett Angel and Andy Ansah - might not be there much longer. At Fry's former club, the impoverished Barnet players could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Halifax.Reuse content