Pompey heads make City turn tail

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The Independent Football

A rousing second-half recovery at Fratton Park saw Portsmouth beat Manchester City 2-1 to join the cluster of clubs jostling for position in the top half of the Nationwide First Division.

Darren Huckerby's 11th goal of the season, a powerful 28th-minute header, gave City a 1-0 first-half lead. But Pompey replied with two second-half headers of their own from Lee Bradbury and Peter Crouch, his 12th goal of the season. City missed a series of chances as Graham Rix's side hung on. "I was delighted for both strikers to get their goals," the Pompey manager said, "and if we carry on like that we should not be too far away at the end of the season."

West Bromwich Albion missed the chance to go second when they became the latest victims of a resurgent Rotherham United in a 2-1 defeat at Millmoor. The Millers took the lead in the 23rd minute when defender Chris Swailes headed in, and Alan Lee made it 2-0. Darren Moore's injury-time strike came too late for Albion.

Preston North End and Millwall kept themselves in the frame with hard-fought draws away from home. The Lions' Steve Claridge scored in injury time at Grimsby to make it 2-2, while Richard Cresswell's fourth goal in four games earned Preston a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest's young side.

Managerless Birmingham City lost 4-0 at Sheffield United, despite the signing of the Middlesbrough defenders Steve Vickers and Curtis Fleming to stiffen the Brum back line. Their former striker Paul Peschisolido scored two.

At the bottom, Barnsley's new manager, Steve Parkin, saw his Tykes throw away two points when Kevin Cooper's late equaliser forced a 1-1 draw for Wimbledon. "They are just not fit enough," he said. "You could literally see them from the side of the pitch begin to dip with 15 minutes to go."

Finally, Bradford City beat Walsall 2-0. Eoin Jess's splendid 25-yard strike was the pick of the pair.