Stuart's strike keeps Charlton chase on

ROUND-UP
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Charlton Athletic, the team most closely pursuing newly cash-rich Manchester City at the top of the Nationwide First Division, were blessed with a game against early-season strugglers Walsall and duly narrowed City's lead to four points. But how they were made to sweat.

Charlton Athletic, the team most closely pursuing newly cash-rich Manchester City at the top of the Nationwide First Division, were blessed with a game against early-season strugglers Walsall and duly narrowed City's lead to four points. But how they were made to sweat.

Walsall punished Charlton's sluggish start at The Valley when, in the 36th minute, Gabor Bukran fired in from Darren Wrack's short free-kick. The lead didn't last until half-time. Andy Hunt turned briskly to fire in after Martin Pringle's shot had been blocked.

Midway through the second half, the Charlton midfielder Graham Stuart struck to give the Londoners their seventh win in eight matches.

In Yorkshire, Huddersfield Town followed their midweek defeat of promotion cocontenders Ipswich Town with a 4-0 disposal of struggling Swindon Town, Dean Gorre scoring twice in the second half. An upset was never on the cards from the ninth minute, when Chris Beech put the Terriers ahead. Ben Thornley doubled their lead 10 minutes before half-time.

Stockport County moved up two places to seventh when they beat big-spending Fulham 2-1. The usually impregnable Fulham defence was breached twice in the first 22 minutes as Ian Moore outsmarted Rufus Brevett on the right and bent in a shot and then a Chris Coleman header out of defence fell to Kevin Cooper and he lashed the ball back in from 22 yards. Danny Cadamarteri, on his loan debut from Everton, pulled one back for Fulham but County clung on.

Birmingham City dropped down to sixth after their 2-2 draw with Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Both Pompey's goals came from Alan McLoughlin penalties, which sandwiched the Midlanders' strikes by Brum substitute Stan Lazaridis and Michael Johnson.

Dave Bassett's Barnsley beat one of his former clubs, Sheffield United, 2-0 in the Yorkshire derby at Oakwell. Neil Shipperley scored both goals. Ade Akinbiyi went one better for Wolverhampton Wanderers, his hat-trick without reply sinking Grimsby Town at Molineux. He has found the net eight times since arriving from Bristol City.

Tranmere Rovers' Andy Parkinson made light of West Bromwich Albion's unbeaten away record when he scored twice in four first-half minutes at Prenton Park to set Rovers on their way to a 3-0 win. The first was a solo effort, running half the length of the pitch before beating Alan Miller with a right-foot shot. His second was set up by Alan Mahon, who scored Rovers' third from the penalty spot.

Bolton Wanderers earned their second win under Sam Allardyce when Crystal Palace succumbed 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium. David Platt, the Nottingham Forest playermanager, was suspended from the former portion of his job description, so was unable to materially affect matters at Carrow Road when his side lost 1-0 to Norwich City, Darryl Sutch scoring his first goal for over two years.

In the Second Division, none of the top six won, which meant Brentford, 1-0 victors at Wrexham, and Luton Town, who beat Burnley 2-1, Neil Midgley scoring twice, were the day's biggest beneficiaries. The leaders, Notts County, were held to a 1-1 draw by Gillingham and second-placed Wigan Athletic recovered from 2-0 down to gain a point from a 2-2 draw at Blackpool. Stoke City gave their new Icelandic owners food for thought after a goalless draw with Bury at Gigg Lane, and fourth-placed Preston were held 2-2 at bottom club Colchester United.

There are new leaders in the Third Division. Rotherham, reduced to 10 men at half-time when Guy Branston was sent off, could only draw 0-0 at Hull so Peterborough, 4-1 winners over Shrewsbury - all the scoring came before the half-hour - and Barnet, who squeezed past Darlington 1-0 at Underhill, went first and second.

Comments