Heskey rewrites script

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DRAMA is not, perhaps, a word readily associated with this season's somewhat dour proceedings in the Endsleigh First Division, but several of yesterday's performances might have been scripted by Shakespeare rather than Beckett.

Leaders Leicester were heading for a goalless draw at fellow promotion challengers Norwich when up popped the sprite-like 17-year-old substitute Emile Heskey to prod in David Lowe's cross and grab the win bonus.

Equally dramatic was Neil Redfearn's 90th-minute curling free kick which gave second placed Barnsley a 1-1 draw at Charlton, who are fourth.

The play staged at West Brom was a tragedy for their goalkeeper Stuart Naylor. Bob Taylor had given them a 36th minute lead when two errors in two minutes on two crosses gave Huddersfield two goals, three points and fifth place.

Ipswich salvaged a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane in theatrical circumstances. Two-nil ahead, Sheffield United had Dane Whitehouse sent off in an incident that was "blatant cheating by a player who has got a fellow professional sent off," Sheffield manager Dave Bassett quoth.

He believed that Mauricio Taricco had shown Rada training by turning a "push" into a "punch" when the Ipswich defender reacted to Whitehouse's contact. Subsequently, Ian Marshall scored two for Ipswich. Tragic Dane indeed. At Roker Park, Andy Melville scored an 89th minute leveller for Sunderland against Reading, who have drawn all five away matches in the League.

Second Division leaders Swindon also lost a two-goal lead in the seven- goal extravaganza at Wrexham - and you don't get many of those. The Welsh side's Karl Connolly scored a hat-trick as the Robins went down 4-3, their first League defeat. Second placed Blackpool also went ahead but lost, 2-1 at Bradford, who go third.

New leaders in the Third Division, where Gillingham beat Bury 3-1 to topple Chester who lost at Preston. In Scotland, Livingston won their seventh consecutive League match since the season's start in their role as the Bayern Munich of the Third.

The day's comedy-into-pathos sequence came at Cardiff where that perennial butt of jokes and spleen, the referee, in this case Ken Leach of Wolverhampton, was floored by a clearance as the home side desperately appealed for a penalty. Deaf to their appeals - and everything else - he was stretchered off. Curtain.