Football / Round-Up: Walsh stays ahead

PORTSMOUTH remain on course for the Premier League after Paul Walsh's glancing header from Bjorn Kristensen's cross proved enough to beat Notts County at Meadow Lane. It was Pompey's 10th win in 11 games. Minutes earlier a Walsh shot had rattled County's cross bar but until the goal, the Magpies had matched their visitors. But the Pompey chimes will not be ringing just yet. West Ham, leading the chasing pack, brushed Brentford aside with a powerful second-half display.

Peter Butler's header gave the Hammers a first-half lead but the Bees offside trap looked like frustrating subsequent West Ham attacks. Then Kevin Keen shot in off a post after 67 minutes, Trevor Morley scored from close range soon after and Martin Allen scrambled a fourth on the whistle. With three games to go Portsmouth lead West Ham by three points and have scored one more goal.

IT MUST be a very long time since the top two Merseyside clubs were not concerned with Championship chasing or Cup action in April. Indeed, both Liverpool and Everton have been mentioned in relegation dispatches, a threat now receded. At Anfield yesterday, Mark Walters scored a hat-trick as the Reds avenged a 5-1 defeat at Coventry earlier in the season with a 4-0 win. Everton shared a goalless draw with Southampton at The Dell, with some fine saves by Neville Southall the highlight of the day.

GOOD away wins for Port Vale (4-0 at Wigan), West Bromwich (3-0 at Mansfield) and Leyton Orient (4-1 at Preston) has kept the Second Division promotion and play-off issues boiling. Leaders Stoke were surprisingly beaten at home by lowly Hartlepool, Lenny Johnrose's seventh-minute goal proving too much for the hitherto rampant Potters.

THE struggle to avoid the drop from the Third Division could run and run: Torquay did well to win at Shrewsbury but stay bottom after Halifax's equally unexpected success at Bury. Gillingham and Northampton, one point above the bottom two, are also in danger.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS are promoted to the Football League. Despite losing 0-2 at home to Altrincham, they took the GM Vauxhall Conference title when their only rivals, Slough, were thrashed 5-1 at Yeovil.

MILAN are having some difficulty in completing the last laps in the race to the Serie A title in Italy. They went down to their second home defeat in a month yesterday: 3-1 at home to Juventus. Andreas Moller, with two goals, and Roberto Baggio did the damage, after Marco Simone had opened the scoring for Milan.