Round-up: Seol draws on Wolves strength to deny Preston

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Preston North End, normally so reliable at Deepdale, missed a chance to rubber- stamp their play-off credentials when, in a match they dominated, they were unable to finish off visitors Wolverhampton Wanderers and had to settle for a 2-2 draw which saw Billy Davies' fifth-placed side go level on points with Derby County, a place above them.

Preston North End, normally so reliable at Deepdale, missed a chance to rubber- stamp their play-off credentials when, in a match they dominated, they were unable to finish off visitors Wolverhampton Wanderers and had to settle for a 2-2 draw which saw Billy Davies' fifth-placed side go level on points with Derby County, a place above them.

Richard Cresswell took just three minutes to score his 17th goal of the season for North End, a simple header from Eddie Lewis's cross, but Wolves were behind for only seven minutes, defender Jody Craddock firing in from Lee Naylor's free kick. A foul on Lewis gave Graham Alexander a 53rd-minute penalty but 20 minutes later Ki-Hyeon Seol netted the second equaliser. It ought to have been no surprise, Wolves have now drawn 11 matches out of the 15 since Glenn Hoddle took over as manager.

Stoke City moved up to eighth, three points away from a play-off place, when they beat Sheffield United 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium. The Potters were on the back foot for most of the first half but the Blades had no cutting edge and Tony Pulis's side took charge in the second period, Gifton Noel-Williams scoring twice in three minutes just before the hour.

A further two points behind, Queen's Park Rangers aren't entirely out of the play-off loop, their 3-1 win over Watford at Loftus Road keeping them handily placed. The Hornets were down to 10 men from the 21st minute when Brynjar Gunnarsson was sent off for deliberate handball, on the goal line, but Kevin Gallen's penalty was saved by Richard Lee, who then tipped the follow-up onto the bar. But Paul Furlong's 17th goal of the season rewarded their dominance and Gallen more than made up for his miss with two goals.

It's been a bad eight days for the Hornets with home defeats by two sides in danger of relegation, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest, and results elsewhere gave a warning that they could be dragged back into the relegation scramble as Coventry City and Cardiff City, the two sides immediately above the bottom three, drew 1-1 at Highfield Road in a game that was nervous tension personified.

The Sky Blues went ahead when Stern John scrambled the ball in after a 16th-minute Gary McSheffrey corner, but the Bluebirds were level three minutes later, Lee Bullock glancing in a Richard Langley corner.

Beneath those two sides, Gillingham are improving steadily under Stan Ternent's management and they were unlucky at Elland Road where they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leeds United. Chris Hope's effort took a deflection to give the Gills a half-time lead, but after Darius Henderson of Gillingham and Leeds' Michael Gray were sent off having sparked a mass brawl a defensive mix-up let in Rob Hulse for Leeds' leveller.

Meanwhile, only the mathematicians think Rotherham United have a chance of staying up. They lost again, 2-1 at Burnley, the Millers' 21st defeat of the season surely giving them the keys to League One.

Elsewhere, Plymouth Argyle thrashed Brighton 5-1 at Home Park, captain Paul Wotton scoring twice.

In League One, there were comfortable home wins for the top two, Luton Town and Hull City, over Swindon Town and Torquay United respectively.

Third in League Two, Southend United, having booked one trip to the Millennium Stadium as LDV Vans Trophy finalists, hope to avoid another by claiming an automatic promotion place but slipped out of the top three when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Lincoln City at Roots Hall.

Macclesfield won 1-0 at Shrewsbury Town to replace the Essex side. The leaders Yeovil suffered a rare setback losing 2-1 at Darlington, who moved into the play-off places, Northampton Town, beaten 3-2 at lowly Rushden & Diamonds, slipped out of them.

Comments