City float with the Goat

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The Independent Football

Manchester City's leading scorer, Shaun Goater, returned to the side after injury and scored the second goal in the Sky Blues' 2-0 win at Grimsby Town which lifted them to fourth in the Nationwide First Division. Goater had missed two half-chances in a generally dull and goalless first period. "We were the away side yet we created a lot of chances," Kevin Keegan, the City manager, said. "We just did not stick them in."

The Mariners nearly made City pay when a Michael Boulding shot hit the post, but after 73 minutes Danny Butterfield brought down Darren Huckerby in front of 2,000 visiting and vocal fans and the City man got up to convert the penalty. As Grimsby pressed for an equaliser, Goater got clear of the defence, rounded Danny Coyne and tapped in the goal that sealed it.

Preston North End crossed the Pennines to Bramall Lane and swept into a 2-0 lead over Sheffield United thanks to a deflected David Healy free-kick and Richard Cresswell, who ran on to Healy's pass to score. "Ben Doane, Simon Tracey, Keith Curle, Robert Page and Georges Santos were poor in the first half and I had words with them at half-time," Neil Warnock, the Blades manager, said.

His side responded immediately after the break when Paul Peschisolido was on target and Santos – "He won everything in the second half," Warnock enthused – grabbed a late equaliser.

Still in Yorkshire, Steve Claridge's 10th goal of the season gave Millwall the lead at Bradford City but Robert Blake appeared to have salvaged a point with his 90th-minute goal. However, the fat lady was still singing, and Sean Dyche popped up to give the Lions a 2-1 win. It was his first goal at senior level for two-and-a-half years. "He doesn't even score in training," Mark McGhee, the delighted Millwall manager, joked.

Nottingham Forest's good young side were held 0-0 by Watford at the City Ground. "I know we had no conviction in the final third of the field," Gianluca Vialli, the Hornets manager, said, "but that was probably because we had to work so hard to get there!" Rotherham took a while to acclimatise after promotion, but took another step with a 2-0 home win over Walsall, who had a goal disallowed before John Mullin, his first of the season, and Alan Lee scored.

In these days of vaunting ambition, Ronnie Moore, the Millers manager, is a frank speaker: "We have to make sure we stay top of that little group down near the foot of the table."

Ah yes, Stockport County. They were beaten at home by Crewe, more comfortably than the 1-0 score suggests.

The Second Division leaders, Brighton, won 2-0 at Bury, Bobby Zamora scoring his 17th goal of the season, but Brentford had a trickier trip and after leading Wycombe 2-0 and 3-2 lost 5-3. At the top of the Third, Plymouth stretched their unbeaten run to 18 matches but were held 0-0 at Leyton Orient.

Finally, this week's addition to the list of managerless sides, Oxford United, fared as well as the rest of them. Mark Wright resigned on Friday; the Bulls lost 3-0 at Hull City.

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