Charlton remain second following a comfortable 3-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers, who are now bottom, but third-placed Nottingham Forest were another side in need of a late winner. They came from behind to beat Luton Town, who are warming to their traditional dalliance with relegation. The former Hatter Kingsley Black equalised John Hartson's goal. Ian Woan made it 2-1 with two minutes remaining.
PORTSMOUTH and Tranmere Rovers, who finished third and fourth respectively in May, are suffering from a lingering sense of anti-climax. Pompey were thrashed 5-1 at Crystal Palace, a Chris Armstrong hat-trick being the game's highlight. Rovers ground out a goalless draw at Grimsby Town, their task made no easier by the dismissal of Chris Malkin and Ian Nolan. Millwall, who also flirted with promotion, are starting tentatively too and lost 4-0 at Leicester.
A SEVEN-GOAL thriller at the Abbey Stadium featured a Dean Windass hat-trick for Hull City as they beat Cambridge United to go second in the Second Division while Bradford City swept to the top hitting Exeter for six, Sean McCarthy, Paul Reid and Paul Jewell each scoring twice. A 90th- minute John Cornwell equaliser salvaged a home point for third- placed Cardiff against Brighton.
In the Third, Mike Conroy's three strikes in the space of 10 first-half minutes put Preston out of reach of Shrewsbury, humbled 6-1. The Shrews' only comfort was that they drew the second half 1-1.
MOTHERWELL opened up a lead at the top of the Scottish Premier by beating last season's Division One champions Raith Rovers 4-1 at Fir Park. They got off to the smoothest of starts, gifted an own goal by David Sinclair in the 19th minute. But individual performance of the day belonged to Dunfermline's Ray Sharp. Sent off after 88 minutes of the match at Brechin last week, Sharp needed 83 minutes less to finish his contribution to the Duns' performance against Airdrie after being booked twice in the first five minutes.
NOT MUCH to this managerial lark might have been the general thoughts of Maurice Evans and Steve McClaren, caretaker bosses at Oxford United since Brian Horton's departure on Friday for Manchester City's hot-seat. At home to Watford yesterday, they saw United take the lead twice (firstly after just 41 seconds). The Hornets, alas, kept equalising, had no one sent off for a change, and Gary Porter scored an 89th-minute goal to give them a 3-2 win.
Before the match, Evans, manager when United won the 1986 Milk Cup final, said: 'I have had 13 years in management and have no wish to go back into it full time.' One could see why.
THE glamour of the FA Cup was probably lost on Dawlish fans. Their road to Wembley ended in yesterday's preliminary-round home defeat by Taunton Town. The visitors won 12-0 with Andy Perrett scoring six, while Keith Graddon made do with just the one hat-trick.Reuse content