Football Round-Up: Whitehouse breaks spell

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The Independent Online
AFTER 10 hours and 21 minutes, Sheffield United finally managed another Premiership goal but it took a penalty - Dane Whitehouse converting after Jostein Flo was floored - and it was scored against an Oldham Athletic side still reeling from Tuesday night's 5-2 thrashing by Manchester United.

Appetites whetted by Dane's deed, Sheffield went comparatively goal crazy and scored a second courtesy of Mitch Ward before Richard Jobson, who had conceded the historic penalty, gave pause for thought by pulling one back with a flying header seconds before the break. But, like the tide at Blackpool, the Latics' luck is way out and the Blades were sharp enough to hang on to three vital points which hoisted them out of the bottom three.

South London provides three of the top four sides in the Endsleigh First Division and yesterday Millwall roared into third place with a comprehensive 3-0 win over the leaders, Crystal Palace.

The New Den men scored all the goals early in the second half, this after Palace were unlucky not to be ahead at the break. 'I took the players to a hotel last night and there must have been a party I didn't know about,' the Palace manager, Alan Smith, said.

Meanwhile, Charlton salvaged a point from their match at the City Ground where Nottingham Forest should have had the game won long before Des Lyttle gave them the lead. The Charlton substitute Garry Nelson made Frank Clark's side pay for their profligacy.

Palace's defeat meant Tranmere closed the gap at the top to one point after their somewhat fortuitous 2-1 defeat of Watford. Jed Brannan set up Chris Malkin for the first, Malkin headed down to Brannan for the second. Leicester kept in touch with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland, only their second win in 10 games.

As in the First, so in the Second where the leaders Reading lost at Cardiff, City scoring three in the last half- hour which enabled Peter Shilton's Plymouth Argyle to close the gap at the top to four points after their 1-0 win at Bournemouth. Barnet were unable to cope with Kevin Francis, Stockport's 6ft 7in leading scorer, whose goals in the 2-1 win brought his season's tally to 15 and lifted County into fourth place.

At Brighton, the return of Jimmy Case, 39, brought a quick dividend in the shape of a 4-1 win over Cambridge, Kurt Nogan scoring a hat-trick. 'Jimmy doesn't have to run a lot with his vast experience,' his manager, Liam Brady, said. Just as well, really.

Sacking Steve Beaglehole did little immediate good for Third Division Doncaster Rovers but it was perhaps harsh to judge their caretaker manager, Tony Cunningham, on yesterday's result. They were playing the leaders, Crewe, who duly won 2-0.