Wily Stockport ambush leaders

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Stockport County pulled off the First Division shock of the day yesterday as they inflicted only the second defeat of the season on the runaway leaders Fulham.

Stockport County pulled off the First Division shock of the day yesterday as they inflicted only the second defeat of the season on the runaway leaders Fulham.

Yet Stockport, now with only two defeats in their last 10 matches, could have been dead and buried inside the opening 15 minutes as Fulham's Louis Saha should have had a hat-trick to add to his 21 goals for the season, but a combination of fine goalkeeping from Carlo Nash and poor finishing ensured that the Stockport goal remained intact.

Six minutes before half-time, and completely against the run of play, Jarkko Wiss struck a 25-yard free-kick around the wall for the opening goal.

Two minutes into the second half, left-back Peter Clark made it 2-0 picked up a loose ball in midfield and set off for goal, evading a number of challenges before surprisingly finding himself in the Fulham penalty area where he poked the ball home. Fulham's defeat meant Bolton closed the gap to seven points with their 2-0 win at Preston.

The Stockport manager Andy Kilner said: "It is a tremendous achievement to have beaten a side like Fulham, who have destroyed many sides and I'm sure we'll do the same to many more and will be playing in the Premiership next season."

West Bromwich Albion moved up to third place with a 1-0 home win over Barnsley, courtesy of Chris Morgan's own goal five minutes from time.

Winning three of their four games over the holiday period puts West Bromwich above Blackburn who, looking for a fifth win on the trot, had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Norwich and had Mark Hughes sent off in the 45th minute for a second bookable offence. The home side led through a solo effort from Adrian Forbes after 32 minutes but Marcus Bent hammered home the equaliser after collecting a pass from Jason McAteer in midfield.

The Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness, said: "Normally a manager would be pleased with a point after going in at half-time 1-0 down and having a man sent off but, to be honest, I'm a little disappointed. We looked the better side for long periods and created the better chances but unfortunately we couldn't take them."

Souness refused to condemn Hughes for the ninth dismissal of his career. "The man's 37 and I'm not in a position to teach him anything now," he said. "He's a natural competitor and all I can say is my job would be a lot easier if I had 11 like him."

Comments