Paul Birch: The Aston Villa footballer who crushed the Italians

Lothar Matthaus was in his majestic prime when he arrived at Villa Park with Internazionale of Milan for a UEFA Cup encounter in October 1990. But anyone hoping to witness the dynamic German midfielder, one of the most lauded and decorated footballers the game has ever known, at his devastating best, was in for a sorry letdown; and the man to blame was Paul Birch.

Heffernan keeps Rovers’ feet firmly |on road to safety

Doncaster Rovers 1 Bristol City 0

Carew ends Doncaster dream

Aston Villa 3 Doncaster Rovers 1

Sullivan heroics earn second crack at Villa

Doncaster Rovers 0 Aston Villa 0

Villa gain Heskey but lose Laursen

Aston Villa signed Emile Heskey yesterday, but lost Martin Laursen for two months after the central defender had surgery on a knee injury, meaning that the captaincy will return to Gareth Barry.

Poyet and Boothroyd frontrunners for Leeds post

Gustavo Poyet and Adrian Boothroyd have both been linked with the vacancy at Leeds United after Gary McAllister was dismissed by the Elland Road club yesterday morning.

League round-up: Anderton ends with a goal as Bent sets Blues straight

It was with a typical sense of drama that Darren Anderton, the former England international, ended his 18-year professional playing career yesterday. He came on at Dean Court as a 56th-minute substitute and, 32 minutes later, scored the only goal of the game to give League Two strugglers Bournemouth a 1-0 win over Chester City and significantly enhance the Cherries' prospects of survival. Anderton, 36, played for Portsmouth, Spurs, Birmingham and Wolves and won 30 England caps.

Bent strike stops Watford joining upstarts

Watford 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Football from top to bottom

How much do you know about the clubs that play English league football week in, week out? A new book gives you all the facts on every club. To give you a flavour, here is an essential guide to the clubs at the top and bottom of the four divisions...

Preston North End 1 Wolves 3: Three-goal Iwelumo leads the charge as Wolves begin to slip pack

The Midlands is on the move in the Championship, with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City occupying the two promotion places after a day of differing fortunes.

Championship round-up: Hulse the saviour as Derby end unwanted record

Four days before the first anniversary of their previous win, Derby County at last tasted victory again, at the 37th attempt. Goals by Paul Green, scrambled in after 24 minutes when Matt Kilgallon headed towards his own goal, and Rob Hulse, midway through the second half, earned a 2-1 win over one of Hulse's former clubs, Sheffield United. Darius Henderson had levelled after Green's opening goal, but a sequence of 28 defeats and eight draws spread across Premier and Championship matches was finally put to rest by Paul Jewell's side.

Championship round-up: Phillips switched on to put McLeish in blue heaven

Birmingham City striker Kevin Phillips scored late winners as a substitute in his side's first two Championship matches and was rewarded with a start against Barnsley. By the 12th minute he had repaid manager Alex McLeish's faith when the Tykes left him unmarked to head in Stuart Parnaby's cross, Phillips's third goal in three games.

Doncaster chairman threatens to pull plug

The future of Doncaster is in doubt following the threat of their chairman to withdraw his support at the end of the season.

Derby County 0 Doncaster Rovers 1: Doncaster's togetherness dazzles new-look Jewell

Paul Jewell, having spent all of his summer imploring his players to forget last season, discovered that putting Derby's Premier League nightmare to bed will not be as easy as he might have hoped. Losing habits are hard to break, even against supposedly inferior opponents, and Jewell's team are some way from banishing their negative demeanour.

Derby County 0 Doncaster Rovers 1: Guy too hot for Jewell's serial losers

Time was that a trip to Lincoln City in the Carling Cup would have been an occasion for a club of Derby's pedigree to let a few senior players put their feet up and give the youngsters their head. Safe to say there will be no such thoughts in Paul Jewell's game plan when he takes his players to Sincil Bank on Tuesday evening. One game into a new season, the Derby manager is already feeling desperate to see any victory as something to celebrate, even against a team likely to struggle in League Two.

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