Victory for Venables

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Terry Venables' latest project, resurrecting Portsmouth, took its first teetering step forward last night when Lee Russell's 67th-minute goal the South Coast club their first Nationwide League First Division victory of the season against Southend United, writes Mark Burton. The goal had the stamp of the former England coach, Russell scoring from a low cross that was the product of a four-man corner move.

Portsmouth would have extended their lead but for three saves by Southend's goalkeeper, Simon Royce, in a goalmouth scramble. Royce's reward was a kick in the face and the misery of finishing on the losing side in a game Southend would have wrapped up in the first half had Phil Gridelet not wasted three fine chances.

Grimsby took an early lead at Ipswich and held on in the second half to collect their first point in the First Division after Ipswich's Paul Mason equalised Clive Mendonca's goal.

Two long shots secured a 2-0 victory over Port Vale that took Tranmere Rovers to the top of the First Division despite being plagued by injuries. Alan Mahon, 18, marked his debut by scoring goal from 20 yards in the 14th minute, and two minutes before the interval, Graham Branch put a 30-yard left-foot shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.

York City secured their first points in the Second Division with a remarkable recovery to beat Millwall 3-2 victory at home after trailing 2-0 at the interval. Plymouth Argyle lead the division on goals scored from Brentford, Shrewsbury and Bury after a 2-0 away victory at Watford, while Hartlepool United continue to enjoy the heady heights of first place in the Third Division after Denny Ingram hit an 89th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at home to Mansfield.