League round-up: Palace flourish after Freedman but Hutchings can't arrest decline at Ipswich, who are walloped by Wednesday


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The Independent Football

Lennie Lawrence and Curtis Fleming continued their caretaker duties as Crystal Palace beat Leicester to move within a point of the automatic promotion places, despite speculation linking the pair with a move to Bolton. Palace co-chairman Steve Parish expects assistant manager Lawrence and first-team coach Fleming to join former manager Dougie Freedman at the Reebok following his appointment this week.

But they took charge at the King Power Stadium and helped Palace extend their unbeaten run to 10 games with a 2-1 victory, thanks to goals from Damien Delaney and Peter Ramage.

At Portman Road, Ipswich started life after Paul Jewell with a 3-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday. Chris Hutchings was in caretaker charge following Jewell's departure. Owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg have opened talks with a number of candidates, though Jewell wants former assistant Hutchings to be given the job permanently.

Cardiff are the new leaders in the Championship following their 4-0 thumping of Burnley, while Jordan Rhodes scored an injury time winner as Blackburn climbed back into the play-off places with a 1-0 win against Watford.

League One

Paolo Di Canio's Swindon warmed up for their League Cup tie against Aston Villa with a resounding 4-0 win at Stevenage. Di Canio had dismissed the game as less important than Tuesday's visit of the Premier League strugglers but victory moves his side to just outside the play-off places. The leaders, Tranmere Rovers, needed a late Jake Cassidy equaliser to earn a point against Preston, and Crawley's 1-1 draw with Oldham means that Rovers' lead at the top remains two points.

League Two

New Gillingham signing Romain Vincelot scored the winner on his debut as Martin Allen's side bounced back from defeat against Torquay to extend their lead at the top to five points. The Frenchman, who is 26 tomorrow, joined on a two-month loan from Brighton and his first-half strike inflicted defeat on new AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley.

Paul Cook's reign as Chesterfield manager began with a 1-0 defeat against bottom side Barnet, who were again captained by Edgar Davids. Cook, who left Accrington Stanley this week and replaces John Sheridan, said: "I just felt it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. It's a big club, with the infrastructure and the new stadium, and they are looking to make progress quickly."

Leam Richardson took caretaker charge for Accrington's 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers and the 32-year-old wants the job on permanently. Richardson, who has been at the club as a player since 2005, said: "I hold it high in my ambitions to be manager of Accrington. We'll see what comes of it."

Scottish Premier

Neil Lennon admitted Celtic's 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock gave his side a "reality" check following their exploits against Barcelona in the Champions' League. Celtic were below par as the visitors recorded their first victory at Celtic Park since 1955. Lennon said: "We've come away with a massive dose of reality. We were as poor as we have been under my tenure."

Elsewhere, Niall McGinn's scored his fifth goal in as many games as Aberdeen beat bottom side Dundee and John Sutton's injury time equaliser against Ross County rescued a draw for Hearts.

In the Third Division, Rangers travel to Clyde today.