League round-up: Zola eyes promotion after win


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The Independent Football

Matej Vydra scored an injury-time winner as Watford came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park, in Gianfranco Zola's first league game in charge.

A first-half brace from Owen Garvan twice had the visitors behind, but Almen Abdi equalised with two minutes remaining before on-loan Udinese striker Vydra snatched all three points.

"Give me time, I'm learning a lot from my players and learning a lot from this division," said Zola, who replaced Sean Dyche at Vicarage Road last month. "How far we can go is difficult to say, but we will give it [promotion] a go."

Owen Coyle received a frosty reception as he made a losing return to Turf Moor in Bolton's first game back in the Championship. After the 2-0 defeat against Burnley, Coyle said: "The atmosphere was what it was. We used the fans to great effect when I was at the club so I can hardly moan when I leave and they react like that."

Leicester displayed the kind of form that has them marked out as early play-off contenders, Nigel Pearson's side cruising to a 2-0 win over Peterborough thanks to Wes Morgan and Andy King.

Goals either side of half-time from the highly rated Thomas Ince saw Blackpool, last season's losing play-off finalists, beat Millwall 2-0. "Ince comes from good stock, he's a great lad and I'm delighted for him," beamed the Tangerines' manager Ian Holloway.

Last season's League One runners-up Sheffield Wednesday returned to the Championship after a two-year absence with a 2-2 draw at Derby, while Luciano Becchio's first-half header ensured that Leeds got their promotion challenge off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory against Wolves at Elland Road.

Middlesbrough kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.

League One

A new-look Portsmouth began life in the third tier of English football with a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park. Izale McLeod, who was one of 11 debutants in the starting line-up, put Pompey ahead but Lee Barnard's 88th-minute equaliser earned Bournemouth a point at the death.

"We are lacking four or five weeks on some sides, but come October or November I think you will see the best of this side," conceded manager Michael Appleton.

In their first match outside of the top two divisions for 48 years, Coventry were held to a 1-1 draw at Yeovil, while Hartlepool responded to last weekend's 5-0 League Cup defeat at Crewe by holding Paolo Di Canio's Swindon to a goalless draw.

League Two

Fleetwood had to settle for a point from their first ever game in the Football League, as they drew 0-0 with Torquay, while fellow League Two newcomers, York, suffered a 3-1 home defeat against Wycombe.

At the Priestfield Gillingham, inspired by Danny Kedwell's double, beat Bradford 3-1. There were also wins for AFC Wimbledon, Accrington Stanley and Cheltenham.

Barnet, who avoided the drop on the final day of last season, went down 3-0 at Port Vale.