Gallagher's acrobatics stun Wolves as leaders all falter

Not for the first time this season, the Championship seemed to turn on its head, with only one of the top 11 sides winning and only one in the bottom eight losing. Championship leaders Wolves' slump in form hit a new low as they lost 1-0 at home to previously freefalling Plymouth Argyle. Paul Sturrock's side made the best possible start when a long throw into the Wolves box was dealt with inadequately and Paul Gallagher's acrobatic overhead kick flew in off the crossbar with just 39 seconds on the watch. With ample time to recover, Wolves huffed and puffed but found no way back. They have won only once in their past 11 games.

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.

Championship round-up: Rangers reveal Clough's task

Delayed by seven days because of last week's heavy frost, new Derby County manager Nigel Clough at last saw his Rams side perform in the Championship and was not impressed as Wayne Routledge scored one and made the second for Mikele Leigertwood in Queens Park Rangers' 2-0 win at Pride Park. It is only Rangers' second away win.

Elliott returns to Wolves with double trouble for McCarthy

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Preston North End 3: First home defeat since September for the leaders after former striker earns Preston stunning win

Outside the Box: Cup heartache is still hard to shoulder for Blyth boys of '78

Three decades on, in the midst of another mighty FA Cup run by Blyth Spartans, hosts to Sam Allardyce's Blackburn Rovers in the third round tomorrow night, spirits still flag at the thought of what might have been for the Northumberland club's giant-killing heroes of 1978. Five non-League sides have got to the fifth round since the First World War, but only one as far as a fifth-round replay. They were the Blyth boys of '78, who came within a thrice-taken corner kick of a quarter-final tie at home to Arsenal. Alan Shoulder still winces when he recalls what happened next after he and his Spartans team-mates took a 1-0 lead into the final minute of a fifth-round tie against Wrexham played on a bone-hard, icy Racecourse Ground pitch. "It was only when you saw the replays on 'Match of the Day' that you could tell it wasn't even a corner," the former striker says. "That was fair enough, but to take the corner three times was a bit much. "The first time he [Wrexham midfielder Les Cartwright] took it, the corner flag fell over, our keeper [Dave Clarke] caught it and the referee made him take it again. The lad tried to stick the flag back in, took the corner, it fell over again and our keeper caught it again. But at the third time of asking the flag stayed in and Dixie McNeil headed in at the back post. Virtually as soon as we kicked off, the referee blew for time. Alf Grey, his name was. You see a lot of bad refereeing decisions now, but that was hard to take." There was also a contentious penalty award against Blyth in the replay, which they lost 2-1 in front of a 42,000 crowd at St James' Park. Shoulder was a miner at Kelloe Colliery at the time. A year later he was signed by Newcastle and wore the black-and-white No 7 shirt before Kevin Keegan's arrival in 1982. Now 55, he runs an egg retail business near Bishop Auckland.

Alan Irvine: 'I don't know, maybe it's because we're all grumpy and bad-tempered'

The Preston manager tells Sam Wallace why Glaswegians make good tacticians as his side tackle the might of Liverpool in the FA Cup today

Leading article: On the carpet

For years now the sin of sins in educational and management orthodoxy has been humiliation. Low self-esteem was seen as the root of all evil. Teachers, managers and others in positions of authority were instructed on no account to do anything that would make those who already felt bad about themselves feel worse. Enter Phil Brown, successful manager of Hull City, who played away yesterday at Manchester City.

Championship round-up: Paterson keeps the Clarets flowing as Blades rise again

Last season, Bristol City were the surprise package in the Championship play-off places; this campaign, Owen Coyle's Carling Cup semi-finalists Burnley are the team creating a stir and illustrated their durability when they conceded a penalty to the Robins early in the second half at Ashton Gate but recovered to win 2-1. In the 57th minute, five minutes after they had fallen behind, Clarets striker Martin Paterson equalised and 20 minutes later he crossed for Steve Thompson to score, setting up a fifth win in six games.

Sidibe musters Stoke defiance

The Stoke City striker Mamady Sidibe will be reunited with front-line partner Ricardo Fuller this weekend believing the Premier League elite desperately want to see the club relegated.

Championship round-up: Twice Kightly as Wolves set the pace but Blues are held

The importance of Michael Kightly to the promotion challenge of Wolverhampton Wanderers has been vividly illustrated in the past couple of weeks. His absence through injury had coincided with their dip in form but his return has seen them storm to the top of the Championship, and yesterday he scored both goals at Molineux in the 2-0 defeat of an obdurate Burnley that saw Mick McCarthy's side open up a six-point lead at the top.

Round up: Jerome helps Blues escape from Burnley unscathed

Even the most well-planned of road trips can go awry as two of the Championship's top three, Birmingham City and Reading, discovered on their travels to the North-west.

Iwelumo call-up for Burley's oldies

The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Chris Iwelumo aims to become an established member of Scotland's old brigade after winning his first call-up at the age of 30. The former St Mirren forward was yesterday named in George Burley's pool for the World Cup qualifier against Norway on 11 October.

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.

Preston North End 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3: Iwelumo stars but then sees red with McCarthy

Chris Iwelumo collected three goals and a red card in an eventful encounter highlighting the promotion potential of a Wolverhampton team that finished with nine men and their manager, Mick McCarthy, banished to the stands as a punishment for applauding the referee.

Hull City will back Fagan legal action

Hull forward Craig Fagan may consider taking legal action against Newcastle's Danny Guthrie over the tackle that broke his leg.

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