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Rizzo rescues lucky Palace

THE AUSTRALIAN Nicky Rizzo saved Crystal Palace's Worthington Cup blushes with a last-gasp equaliser in their first round, first leg match at Colchester last night.

The Second Division side, who had goalkeeper Simon Barnes sent off in the third minute, were on the verge of an unlikely victory when Zairean 19-year-old Lumano Lua-Lua scored in the 63rd minute. His goal came less than a minute after Palace's Jamie Smith had equalised the opener from former Spurs midfielder Jason Dozzell. Palace piled on the pressure and were rewarded through Rizzo's strike with virtually the last kick of the game.

Third Division Leyton Orient and Chester were celebrating shock victories over First Division opposition.

Goals from Nick Richardson and Luke Beckett enabled Chester to edge past Port Vale 2-1, both sides finishing with 10 men after Vale's Marcus Bent and then Chester's Martin Lancaster received their marching orders in the last half hour.

And Alex Inglethorpe's 77th-minute goal was enough for Leyton Orient to win at Swindon and take a lead back to Brisbane Road.

Phil Clarkson's 65th-minute goal ensured Second Division Blackpool beat First Division Tranmere 1-0 in the night's other upset.

First Division Bolton and Crewe narrowly escaped similar embarrassment against Third Division opponents. Bolton needed a 71st-minute Per Frandsen equaliser to scrape a draw at Darlington after Michael Oliver had put the home team ahead, while Crewe had to come from behind three times in a six-goal thriller at Hartlepool.

Tommy Miller, Gustavo di Lella and Paul Stephenson put Pool ahead but two goals from Colin Little and a 69th-minute strike by Colin Cramb saved Alex's blushes in a 3-3 draw.

Big spenders Fulham were pushed all the way by Northampton at Sixfields, Geoff Horsfield giving the Londoners a 2-1 win with the winning goal five minutes from time.

Third Division Halifax held First Division West Bromwich to a 0-0 draw and Carlisle managed the same result against Grimsby. Robbie Van der Laan hit two goals as Barnsley won 4-2 in an exciting game at Lincoln.