Football: Windass miss proves costly

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The Independent Online
BRADFORD CITY clung to the Nationwide First Division's second automatic promotion place despite losing a typically rumbustious Yorkshire derby, 3-2 to Huddersfield Town at Valley Parade. Robert Blake put the Bantams ahead in the eighth minute but the Terriers hit back with two goals in as many minutes when Marcus Stewart equalised with his 25th goal of the season and a Wayne Allison header that put Town in charge.

Ben Thornley added their third in the 36th minute, but then the visitors had Steve Jenkins, their Welsh international defender, sent off after a foul on Peter Beagrie. Paul Jewell, the Bradford manager, sent on his pounds 1m substitute, Dean Windass, to set up a frantic finale as Bradford's five-man forward line encamped round the Huddersfield penalty area. Windass duly made it 3-2 in the 72nd minute but spurned a chance to salvage a point when his penalty was saved by Nico Vaesen.

A run of what might charitably be called indifferent performances had stoked the ire of West Bromwich Albion fans long before yesterday's home match with Portsmouth, who had lost their four previous games. And when Pompey went in at half-time 2-0 up thanks to John Durnin's two sumptuous strikes in three first-half minutes, the boos and chants of "what a load of rubbish" rang loudly round The Hawthorns.

Albion staged a second-half recovery to level but the portents for the manager, Denis Smith, are not promising. Tony Hale, the chairman, could give no assurances about Smith's tenure. "We will wait and see how results go," Hale cautioned.

The division's relegation scrap of the day was won for Port Vale by Allen Tankard's 55th-minute goal against Oxford United. Bury clung on grimly to a point against 10-man Grimsby Town in a 0-0 draw at Blundell Park, which dropped Oxford into the relegation places. They join Bristol City, who picked up a point when they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Stockport County, and the bottom club, Crewe, who lost 1-0 at home to the play-off hopefuls Watford.

Queen's Park Rangers lost 2-0 at Sheffield United, Marcelo scoring both goals to take his season's tally to 19. The first, from the penalty spot, was something of a relief - the Blades had missed their five previous spot-kicks.

In the Second Division, promoted Fulham stalled in their march towards the championship when they lost 1-0 at Chesterfield. The second-placed club, Walsall, increased Macclesfield's relegation worries with a 2-0 victory at the Bescot Stadium but fourth-placed Preston North End lost their derby with Blackpool 2-1 at Deepdale.

In the Third Division, Cambridge United, the leaders, drew with Darlington and Cardiff City will go top if they beat Swansea City at Ninian Park today.

The goalscoring performance of the day belonged to the Rotherham United substitute, Leo Fortune-West, who scored a hat-trick in six minutes against Carlisle, who were leading 1-0 at the time.