Storming Palace

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The Independent Online
IT is a little over a week since Dave Bassett spurned Maine Road's advances and committed his immediate future to Crystal Palace. In that time his young side has played three, won three, scored 16 and conceded two.

Southend, yesterday's victims in a 6-1 drubbing, were chasing the game from the second minute when Kevin Muscat's 20-yard shot gave the Eagles the lead. Ray Houghton's first goal of the season made it comfortable before the half-time and after the break Bruce Dyer set up goals for David Hopkin and Carl Veart before adding the fifth himself. Dougie Freedman completed the rout.

The Shrimpers' 82nd-minute contribution to the scoreline was their first League goal away from Roots Hall this season.

Palace stay fifth, four points behind leaders Bolton who conceded a 90th- minute equaliser to Stoke's Graham Kavanagh. "We deserved a win and a clean sheet and should have had both," the Bolton manager Colin Todd said.

Lou Macari, his Stoke counterpart, was more grateful. "I've been on the end of some real hidings here. But credit to us for our work-rate and effort, and we got a reward."

At Oakwell, the early season pacemakers Barnsley lost 3-1 to Grimsby. The Mariners scored twice in the last six minutes for their first away win of the season. But their fans were less happy about heavy-handed crowd control by Barnsley stewards. There were several first-half scuffles, and 10 arrests. Grimsby fans may make an official protest

The goalless draw at St Andrews between Birmingham and QPR was the fifth game in six in which Trevor Francis's Midlanders have failed to score.

York looked as though their Coca-Cola Cup triumph over Everton was going to be carried over into Second Division form when they led 2-0 and 3- 1 at leaders Brentford. But Carl Asaba scored twice in the final seven minutes to give the Bees a point.

However, the Second Division's most dramatic events came at London Road where Barry Fry's Peterborough trailed Wycombe 3-1 after 34 minutes. Thirty- three minutes later Posh were 6-3 ahead. Not for nothing are Wycombe bottom of their particular pile.

In the Third Division, leaders Fulham won 2-0 after the long slog up to Darlington but second-placed Carlisle had even further to go, Torquay, for their three points. But the trip back will have been sweeter after a 2-1 win.