Rougier gives City the edge

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The Independent Football

Huddersfield Town and Bristol City took positive strides towards their respective divisional play-off final dates at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in two weeks' time with home legs to follow.

Huddersfield Town and Bristol City took positive strides towards their respective divisional play-off final dates at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in two weeks' time with home legs to follow.

In the Second Division play-off at Victoria Park, Hartlepool began with a flurry of pressure until in the fifth minute a long ball by Bristol City's centre-back Tony Butler picked out Lee Peacock on the left. His cross to the far post was headed firmly down and in by Tony Rougier.

Christian Roberts had a good chance to double the lead two minutes later but shot wide. Pool forced Steve Phillips in the Bristol goal to save from Tony Sweeney and Hugh Robertson.

In the second half, Pool's Eifion Williams was brought down by Phillips, but no penalty was awarded. Justice was done 16 minutes from time when Joel Porter nipped between Phillips and a defender and rolled the ball into the empty net.

It ended 1-1. Pool have the best away record in the Second Division, and will need it at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, at Sincil Bank, goals by Iffy Onuora and David Mirfin earned Huddersfield a 2-1 win over Lincoln City. The Terriers took advantage of Lincoln's sloppy start when, in the fifth minute, Onuora scored his first goal since rejoining the Terriers in March. Rob Edwards' inswinging corner lured the goalkeeper Alan Marriott into no man's land, leaving Onuora to glance the ball into the empty net from three yards.

Lincoln launched a sustained assault on the Huddersfield goal for most of the rest of the half. Six minutes into the second half, a goal gave the Imps hope. Kevin Ellison's long throw caused panic in the Terriers goalmouth, and although Paul Rachubka saved Simon Yeo's shot, from the rebound Ben Futcher set up a tap-in for Gary Fletcher, his 19th goal this season.

Lincoln were on top, but it was the Terriers who struck again. Andy Holdsworth's 72nd-minute corner was met by Andy Booth's header, which drew a save from Marriott. Mirfin was first to the loose ball and scored from a tight angle to put Huddersfield firmly in charge of the tie.

"We've still got a big test in front of us," Peter Jackson, the Huddersfield manager, cautioned. "Lincoln will come to our place and fight for everything. It's just half-time in what is a massive tie for us."

Meanwhile, the Football Association will wait until they see the match officials' report before deciding what action, if any, to take over the pitch invasion by several hundred Crystal Palace supporters at the end of the south London side's 3-2 play-off semi-final first leg win over Sunderland at Selhurst Park. A number of scuffles broke out when Palace fans approached the away supporters' end. Police and stewards took 15 minutes to clear the fans from the pitch. The FA are unlikely to act until after Monday night's second leg.

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