Tranmere's late shift of power

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The Independent Online
SHIRT designs alter, stadiums look sprucer, but some things never change. At this time of year, Tranmere Rovers will always be top of the Endsleigh First Division. They assumed their customary late-summer pole position thanks to a last-gasp rally at Prenton Park against newly promoted Huddersfield Town.

A Tom Cowan header gave the Terriers the lead 10 minutes into the second half but Rovers surged back with three goals in the final 17 minutes including the inevitable John Aldridge strike, his fourth of the season. They overtook Millwall who were unable to unlock the Southend defence in a lacklustre match at the New Den.

Midfielder Jonathan Hunt, one of the collection of Southend old boys that Barry Fry has assembled at Birmingham,did the business for his manager, scoring a hat-trick at St Andrew's to beat Norwich. It was Hunt's third hat-trick in 11 months.

Andy Rammell scored twice as Barnsley came from behind to win a frantic match at Watford 3-2 and go third and Oldham slipped into fourth by beating Sheffield United 2-1 with two goals in four minutes. The Blades, who have made their worst start since 1966, were reduced to 10 men after 26 minutes when Brian Gayle was sent off for violent conduct with the score 0-0.

Wolves also had a player sent off and lost, but by the time Geoff Thomas walked in the 86th minute at Roker Park, Sunderland were 2-0 ahead.

When it comes to seeing red, no one can touch Wycombe for sheer steadfastness of purpose. Steve Brown kept up their one-a-game sending-off record in their three Second Division matches - their rate in the Coca-Cola Cup is at the same level - as they lost to Bournemouth, for whom Steve Jones, like Devon White at Notts County, has started the season with six goals. Swindon top the division with maximum points after winning 1-0 at Carlisle.

In the Third Division, Gillingham went two points clear after their 3-1 home win over Cambridge United. Second-placed Fulham have scored eight goals in two home games. Any more of this and Craven Cottage will interest others besides property developers.

Finally, congratulations to free-scoring Roger Freestone, the Swansea City goalkeeper who scored his second penalty of the season in the 3- 1 win over Chesterfield. He tucked his first away on the opening day against Shrewsbury and was spot on after 36 minutes of yesterday's 3-2 win. A fine way to celebrate the club's 75th anniversary of Football League membership.

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