Woods to the rescue

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The Independent Online
Last weekend, Southampton and Leicester City celebrated famous wins over, respectively, the champions, Manchester United, and Newcastle United. Yesterday, the festivities for both were more muted when the Saints scrapped for a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester lost 2-0 in a Midlands clash at Derby County.

After last weekend's astonishing 6-3 demolition of United, Southampton found the rather more prosaic task of beating the Owls at Hillsborough beyond them. They had to thank their new goalkeeper, Chris Woods, back in English football after a spell with the MSL club Colorado Rapids, for a fine performance that defied his former employers.

The Owls were ahead after 14 minutes when Southampton failed to deal decisively with Benito Carbone's corner. The clearance fell to Mark Pembridge who laid the ball back to Orlando Trustfull. His teasing cross was missed by Andy Booth but Jon Newsome had been left unmarked to head past Woods.

The Saints made little early impression as an attacking force although Matthew Le Tissier, named Player of the Month for October, echoing the Southampton manager Graeme Souness's award as Manager of the Month, hit the post on 18 minutes.

Le Tissier made no mistake five minutes after the restart, however, tucking away the penalty awarded when Egil Ostenstadt fell under Newsome's challenge and referee Alan Wilkie ignored Wednesday's protests.

A passionate Midlands derby at the Baseball Ground ensured a very busy comeback for Leicester's Kevin Poole, deputising in goal for Kasey Keller, who is absent on World Cup duty with the United States.

The first half was both testy and goalless, Derby having much the better of possession and chances. They duly took a second-half lead in 56 minutes when Ashley Ward bundled in the ball from Christian Dailly's knock down. A minute from time, Mark Whitlow put through his own goal to douse all hopes of a Leicester comeback.

In Scotland, Premier leaders Rangers were unable to assuage European embarrassment by beating the bottom club, Raith Rovers, at Stark's Park. Kevin Twaddle, a name peculiarly apt for Scottish League football, gave Raith a 24th minute lead but two goals in eight second-half minutes ought to have sown up the points for the champions. The less than invincible Glaswegians, however, were robbed of the win bonus by a Scott Thomson equaliser. Paul Gascoigne was playing but, more tellingly, Brian Laudrup wasn't.

Back south of the border, Bolton opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the First Division after a 2-0 home win over Huddersfield, Alan Thompson and John McGinlay scoring.