Football: Street double seals Crewe's recovery

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The Independent Online
IN A performance to give heart to all struggling sides, Crewe Alexandra, bottom of the First Division, came back from 2-0 down to the play-off contenders Norwich City at half-time to win 3-2, scoring all three goals in the final eight minutes. The substitute Kevin Street's winner, his second strike, came in the last minute.

The Canaries, without outplaying lowly Alex, were two goals ahead by the 33rd minute as Chris Llewellyn converted a Lee Marshall cross and Marshall himself grabbed the second when a counter-attack relieved Crewe pressure.

But Dario Gradi's side had been playing well and the fight-back started in the 82nd minute with Street's first. Mark Rivers equalised five minutes later to set up Street's happy ending.

"When he came on against Sunderland he played like a zombie," Gradi said of the young striker, "but he took the criticism well, worked hard and today was absolutely terrific."

At the top, Birmingham City took advantage of Ipswich Town's shock 1- 0 home defeat by Grimsby Town when they beat Port Vale 1-0 at St Andrew's to take over the second automatic promotion berth. Brum won the game when, midway through the first half, Paul Furlong muscled Tony Gardner, the Vale substitute, off the ball to fire in his ninth goal of the season.

"It was our third double of the season," Trevor Francis, Brum's manager, enthused, "and with 19 League games to go everyone is confident of being in the promotion race."

A miscued punch by the Ipswich goalkeeper, Richard Wright, fell to the Mariners' Peter Handysides, who sealed their first-ever win at Portman Road with an overhead kick. "Wright says he should have had a free-kick because his arm was held," George Burley, the Town manager, said. "If he says that then I believe him."

The First Division manager of the month, Bradford City's Paul Jewell, saw his fourth-placed side stay with the pace after a 2-1 win at Stockport. And the prolific West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes scored his 27th goal of the season, the second in Albion's 2-0 win over Barnsley, their third consecutive win.

There was an explosion of scoring at the McAlpine Stadium where Huddersfield led 1-0 until the 82nd minute when Dean West equalised for Bury, Grant Johnson (83) put the Terriers back in front but Lenny Johnrose (84) levelled again.

Taking their lead from Crewe, Hull City, bottom of the entire league, beat Rotherham United 1-0 for their fifth win of the season. They are now three points behind Scarborough.

Finally, congratulations to Tony Ford, the player/assistant manager of Third Division Mansfield Town, who yesterday chalked up his 824th League appearance to equal the outfield record held by Terry Paine, Southampton's long-time servant. Ford, 39, who in a career stretching back to 1975 has turned out for Grimsby, Sunderland, Stoke, West Brom, Bradford and Scunthorpe, helped fourth-placed Mansfield beat Brentford 3-1.