Football: Whittingham makes it 18

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The Independent Online
AS RELIABLE as Big Ben, the First Division's regular scorers tolled steadily yesterday. Guy Whittingham, the leading scorer in England, struck again for Portsmouth in their draw at Peterborough. He made it 18 in the Barclays League this season, equalising the ninth minute opener by Boro's very own goal-scoring machine, Tony Philliskirk, late of Bolton. Brentford's Gary Blissett made it 13 in the League when he scored twice in the Bees' 3-1 win at Roker Park which stalled Sunderland's revival.

A BARCLAYS Young Eagle of the Month, Millwall's Jamie Moralee was on the Den scoresheet early and late to secure the Lions' 2-1 defeat of Grimsby and lift his side to fourth place. Above them, West Ham's double act of Trevor Morley (13 League goals) and Clive Allen (12) knew their lines too well for bottom of the table Southend. Both scored in the 2-0 win at Upton Park. West Ham are now a point behind second-placed Tranmere whose extraordinarily prolific John Aldridge got another two at Swindon yesterday. Alas, a floodlight eclipse at the County Ground nullified the stats.

Curiouser than failing lights, however, was the news from the Baseball Ground. Derby won at home, 3-1 against Birmingham despite giving them a goal start in the first minute. Lowly Luton won well at Wolves with two goals from Phil Gray - he has scored 10 in the League.

IN the Second, over 13,000 saw leaders Stoke have an easy day at the office against struggling Huddersfield, winning 3-0. Rotherham pushed into second place after a

1-0 win at Fulham. Bradford City slipped back, beaten at home by Bournemouth. Expect John Beck, former Cambridge manager, to have some choice words for his new charges, Preston North End, thrashed 5-2 at home by Port Vale, who move up to third.

YORK could only manage a goalless draw at home with Chesterfield, despite the dismissal of the visitors' Tony Brien 17 minutes from time, and with the two dropped points they lost the Third Division leadership to Barnet. But, to pick up the motif of reliability, the hapless Gillingham goalkeeper, Scott Barrett, was sent off for the third time this season. The penalty accruing from his 88th-minute transgression gave Shrewsbury's Carl Griffiths his 14th League goal. It also won the game and landed the Gills back at the bottom of the League, after Northampton's point at Bury.

RANGERS' win at Falkirk extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier to four points, goals courtesy of Mark Hateley and Ally McCoist, his 23rd in the League. Of their closest pursuers, only Celtic won as Andy Payton's goal beat Dundee.

KENNY DALGLISH returns to Anfield today 22 months after walking away from Liverpool FC, the club he'd been at for 14 years as player and manager. Not many people leave Liverpool and prosper but Dalglish's appetite for the game has been fully restored as Blackburn Rovers' boss.

'I haven't a clue what sort of reception I'll get,' he said. 'I know the hype will be about myself but for me it's all about the Rovers lads who have got us where we are.' And that's in the pack chasing Norwich, with Liverpool six points further adrift. Reds' striker Ian Rush thinks Dalglish's welcome will be warm. 'Kenny was the best I played with. He helped you on and off the field.' Hope he sits in the right dug-out.