Manager Molby off the mark at Swansea

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The Independent Online
MARK BURTON

Jan Molby, in his first home game as player-manager, brought the full weight of his experience to bear in inspiring Swansea to only their second victory in 18 matches.

Steve Torpey broke the Second Division side's 624-minute goal drought with a superb strike after 36 minutes. Not to be outdone, winger John Hodge, who had adopted a shoot on sight policy for the evening, scored with a 25-yard cross-shot in the 59th minute. Kyle Lightbourne scored a consolation goal for Walsall with virtually the last kick.

A late goal proved more profitable for Blackpool. Tony Ellis struck a minute into injury time to earn them a point at Stockport that kept them second in the division behind Swindon. Stockport had gone ahead in the 67th minute through Alun Armstrong.

The point kept Blackpool clear of Crewe, who maintained their promotion push with an 89th-winner winner at Shrewsbury from Mark Rivers. Shrewsbury had fought back from 2-0 down to level before the Crewe substitute secured the points.

In the First Division, Bruce Dyer completed a hat-trick seven minutes from time to revive Crystal Palace's campaign for a play-off place by earning them a 3-2 victory over Birmingham at Selhurst Park.

Palace made the perfect start to a fine match, with Dyer shooting home from close range after seven minutes following good approach work by Ray Houghton. Jason Bowen equalised after 30 minutes with a 20-yard shot, but Dyer restored Palace's lead after 55 minutes, with a goal scored amid confusion. Birmingham claimed there was a foul during the preceding scramble and the goal was initially credited to Gareth Taylor.

Birmingham, without a League win in 1996, again replied through Bowen, who glanced in a header 13 minutes from time following a cross by Vinny Samways.

Two Andys, Payton and Liddell, gave Barnsley a promotion push with the goals that beat Millwall 3-1 in a remarkable game at Oakwell. Payton scored his second from a rebound in the fourth minute of injury time to put Barnsley 2-1 up and a minute later Liddell made it 3-1.

Bob Taylor scored the only goal at the Hawthorns to stretch West Brom's unbeaten run to five games and plunge Oldham deeper into relegation trouble. Reading edged away from it when Stuart Lovell scored 12 minutes from time to give them a 2-1 victory at revitalised Luton.

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