Fading Rangers fail to level Pars

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The Independent Online

The lights went out for Rangers at East End Park in more ways than one. Floodlight failure delayed the start of their match against Dunfermline by 15 minutes and when the proceedings eventually got under way they could find no way through The Pars resilient defence.

The lights went out for Rangers at East End Park in more ways than one. Floodlight failure delayed the start of their match against Dunfermline by 15 minutes and when the proceedings eventually got under way they could find no way through The Pars resilient defence.

A win was essential to keep the Scottish Premier leaders Celtic in sight. But Dick Advocaat's side are now 15 points adrift, although they have a game in hand.

Before the match, the Dutch coach had cautioned that points at places like East End Park were not easily won. "Away games are all battles. Abroad, nobody realises that. Every away game in this country is very difficult," he said. The words were all too prophetic.

Second-placed Hibernian slipped up too, beaten 2-1 by Aberdeen at Easter Road. Elsewhere, the bottom club, Dundee United, lost again. The 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone was their 14th of the season. Their neighbours, Dundee, thrashed St Mirren 5-0, Claudio Canniggia scoring twice. Kilmarnock won 2-1 at Motherwell.

South of the border, the Watford wobble continues. They lost their third match in a row, beaten 3-2 at Vicarage Road by Preston North End. David Moyes side were twice ahead before half-time, through Jonathan Macken and Mark Rankine, but Tommy Mooney and Steve Palmer equalised. The Hornets had no reply when Iain Anderson restored Preston's lead nine minutes into the second half. Preston move up to sixth.

Bolton Wanderers, who are third, won 2-0 at Norwich City and are now just three points behind Watford. Burnley dropped from fourth to eighth following their 3-2 defeat at Birmingham, who take over fourth place.

The Yorkshire derby at Oakwell ended in a 1-0 win for Barnsley as Sheffield Wednesday's record of one defeat in seven games ended. Bruce Dyer got the game's only goal.

Wednesday's neighbours, Sheffield United, overcame a spirited Grimsby Town 3-2 at Bramall Lane. Nottingham Forest thought they'd salvaged a point at home when Tony Vaughan equalised against Wimbledon in the 90th minute. But Trond Anderson restored the Dons lead almost immediately and there was no way back for Forest a second time. West Brom's Lee Hughes scored a hat-trick as Albion beat Gillingham 3-1.

At the bottom, Crystal Palace's remarkable revival continued with a 3-2 win over Tranmere Rovers at Selhurst Park. Trailing 1-0 and 2-1, they scored twice in the final seven minutes to frustrate Rovers.

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