PORTSMOUTH'S Guy Whittingham took a mere 56 minutes to become the first player to score a hat-trick this season. Pompey's opponents, Bristol City, played their part in the 3-3 goal- spree. A hat-trick wasn't the only thing Ashton Gate got first sight of this season. Before the kick-off rival fans fought, ripping up Justice Taylor's beloved seats and hurling them at each other. Roll- on all-seating stadia, eh?
LIKE the first cuckoo of spring, there is something comforting about the first sending off of the new football season and Malcolm Allen, Millwall's former Watford striker, did not keep us long in suspense, dismissed by referee Gurnam Singh after 12 minutes at Vicarage Road. Just enough time for the bath water to heat up.
DUBIOUS distinction of the season's first own goal went to Third Division Carlisle United's George Oghani, signed from Cyprus this summer. He took just two minutes to put opponents Walsall ahead at Brunton Park. Eight minutes later he scored for the team which pays his wages. Alas, George's efforts were to no avail. Carlisle, who finished bottom of the entire League last season, got the smaller share of seven goals.
ANOTHER quick own goal at St James's Park where Southend's Spencer Prior put Kevin Keegan's Newcastle 2-0 up (former Sunderland midfielder Paul Bracewell had put the Geordies ahead). Lee Clark scored the Geordies' third but Southend, making their debut in the First Division, replied through David Martin and Ian Benjamin as Newcastle held on to their 3-2 lead.
Derby County, the First Division's promotion favourites, did not make a propitious start losing 1-0 at promoted Peterborough, Ken Charlery scoring.
BEFORE kick-off yesterday, Rangers had not conceded a goal in the Scottish League and their opponents, Dundee, were struggling with an Anfield-style injury list. But the rallying call of Dens Park manager Simon Stainrod worked with a vengeance as Dundee triumphed in a 4-3 thriller. Whether Rangers manager Walter Smith would see it that way is a moot point.
That left Liam Brady's Celtic free to beat Dundee United, and go top of the Scottish League as Aberdeen went down 2-1 away to Motherwell after they'd taken a seventh-minute lead.
LIVERPOOL face Nottingham Forest in tomorrow's televised match without right back Rob Jones (virus), midfielder Jan Molby (injured) and goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar (Zimbabwean international duty). But Steve McManaman has recovered from minor knee surgery and is expected to pass a late fitness test. Michael Thomas and Steve Nicol are also fit again and new signing Paul Stewart, from Spurs, is in the squad.
Grobbelaar's appearance for Zimbabwe is good news for David James, Liverpool's pounds 1m signing from Watford. 'I said before the start of the season that I would like to play in the opening match though I never expected to get this chance,' he said. 'But if I do well at the City Ground I would expect to stay in.'
The Forest left-back and captain Stuart Pearce has been nursing a groin injury for a fortnight and also faces a late test.Reuse content