Stan Ternent revealed that a change in tactics had helped Burnley end a run of five games without a win on Tuesday when they beat the First Division leaders Crystal Palace at Turf Moor.
The Eagles failed to score for the first time this season, but stayed top of the table despite going down to Paul Cook's 17th minute goal which lifted Burnley up to third place.
"It was a tough game, with not a lot of chances," said the Burnley manager. "We changed our system and matched them man to man and it worked. They had a couple of half-chances but that was it. We shut them out well."
His Palace counterpart, Steve Bruce, said the loss of Scottish international striker Freedman was the main reason for their seven-match winning run coming to an end.
"We lost Dougie with flu and that took away our cutting edge and we lost a lot of our fluidity," Bruce said. "It was a typical top-of-the-table clash, a bit fraught, with both sides fighting hard, and we didn't deserve to lose.
"No one is going to run away with this league this season like Fulham and Blackburn last year – we have just got to try to be consistent."
The Norwich manager Nigel Worthington was satisfied with his side despite seeing them lose their 100 per cent home record with a goalless draw against Portsmouth which cost the Canaries the chance of going top.
"We put in an excellent performance, kept a clean sheet and created chances so there was not a hell of a lot wrong except getting the ball into the back of the net," he said.
Manchester City ended a four-match run without a win with a 4-0 victory over Grimsby at Maine Road.
Shaun Goater claimed his 15th of the season after two minutes. Steve Howey and Darren Huckerby (twice) also got on the scoresheet as Kevin Keegan's side moved up to seventh. "We missed three better chances than the four goals we scored. If you are creating seven or eight good chances in a game you have got to be happy," said the City manager.
An 82nd-minute strike from the in-form Stern John gave Nottingham Forest their first away win of the season, a 2-1 success at Watford.
Jon Macken was on target as Preston beat Sheffield United 3-0 at Deepdale. The transfer-listed striker scored after eight minutes. David Healy made it 2-0, before Kevin Gallacher sealed Preston's third successive win two minutes from time.
Bradford lost for the fifth time in succession, beaten 3-1 by in-form Millwall.
Walsall eased their problems at the bottom of the table with a 3-2 win over Rotherham. The Saddlers were coasting when Pedro Matias (twice) and Darren Wrack put them three in front after 36 minutes, but Rotherham scored twice in time added on through Rob Scott and Andy Monkhouse.
Brentford moved two points clear at the top of the Second Division after thrashing the bottom club Bury 5-1 at Griffin Park, Lloyd Owusu scoring twice to pass the 50-league goal mark in his career.
Plymouth are the new leaders of the Third Division after extending their unbeaten run to 12 games with a fourth win in five games, beating Lincoln 2-0 at Home Park.Reuse content