Manish Bhasin presents action from the Football League, as title contenders Leicester take on Cardiff and Blackpool attempt to reignite their promotion charge at home to Wolves.
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Good evening, welcome to the best from the Npower Football League.
Thankfully the Mayan's apocalyptic predictions proved to be unfounded,
but you can always rely on the British weather to wreak havoc with
the fixture list as 14 games fell foul to the pity foul conditions on
Saturday. Leroy is here to reflect on some terrific games that went
ahead. After setting a new club record of 10 consecutive home wins,
he could have predicted card a's defeat at the hands of bottom club
Peterborough last week? Tonight we find out whether the Championship
leaders could bounce back at promotion rivals Leicester. Victory
in last week's derby against Blackburn did Blackpool's promotion
chances a power of good. On Friday night Michael Appleton's side
entertain struggling Wolves. For the second week in succession
Crystal Palace let slip a lead in the closing minutes to drop crucial
points. Could the Eagles get back to winning ways against
Huddersfield? We have action from Saturday's late kick-off at
Selhurst Park. Despite the rain a few games in League One and League
Two did survive the deluge and we have all the action and some
surprises on the way. Championship leaders Cardiff were keen to show
they have the mental toughness to bounce straight back against
Leicester. The Foxes' own promotion charge has -- taxes had faltered in
recent weeks. Paul Walker sold his one. Fifth-placed Leicester welcome
the side who are winning the race for the Christmas number one slot.
Cardiff's confidence has been in the charts. Leicester lost at
Millwall, and Cardiff's home record was ended by Peterborough last week.
There are seven points between them as the Championship reaches the
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are boosted by the return of Hudson, The first real opening of the game.
David Marshall comes to card a's rescue. That was a great chance for
back towards the edge of the area and the shot takes a deflection.
Leicester are just beginning to raise the tempo and turn the screw.
That was a good save by Marshall again. How close did Leicester come
then? Marshall again with a passage of play. Came rattled the
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woodwork. -- came. My word, Cardiff save. How this game is 0-0 is
Should Marshall have got hold of that? The Frenchman was prepared to
have a go from miles out. Leicester have started smartly and
Helguson. Plenty people back for Leicester. Bellamy has scored! It
was swept home with ease by Craig Bellamy will stop totally against
the run of play. The cross was straight to Bellamy and Edwards
straight into the corner. His 4th of the campaign, dispatched to
That was a great challenge from Morgan. Top-drawer and that is why
he is one of the best at this level. Because Craig Bellamy was end for
his second and just about to pull the trigger. Morgan with a vital
goes. A communication problem in the Leicester defence once more
nearly handed a second goal to Craig Bellamy. He could not keep
terrific run. No wonder his manager is applauding. He knew exactly what
he wanted to do. He carried the ball for miles. That was a whisker
away from being the equaliser. stop there header was off the bar.
Oh, so, so close. Marshall was nowhere near it. The crossbar saves
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The substitute, Martyn Waghorn, raise his egg to the referee
because he is not happy with Gestede's Hide could be a danger. -
back pedalling towards his goal. It was scooped away in the end. Danger
bearings, but he took no chances and was happy to concede the corner.
It was Nugent and Cardiff manage to survive once more. Leicester was so
Cardiff. Bellamy tearing forward for support. He didn't quite reach
his team-mate. Gestede is in there powerfully to make a tackle.
Opportunity goes begging for Cardiff. Gestede it was. Sliding
the ball through to Bellamy. Who tried to square it across goal. And,
just seen? Proud of the team. Fantastic performance by us. We
played a very good team. Good experienced manager. It was going
to be a tough game. There were two sets of high quality players on the
pitch today. If ever there was a need to prove the theory you have
to score when you are on top, was that it? Probably. Yeah, we've had
a lot of good chances. Been a bit unlucky as well. But, you know,
credit to them. They've taken one of their few chances of the game.
So, it is a bit of a frustration for us because generally speaking
this year, especially at home, when we've been on top in games, we've
managed to get that first goal. Today, it wouldn't happen for us.
Bellamy is clearly going to be important to you for the second-
half of the season now. For a manage tore have a player like that
up your sleeve you always feel have you a chance? It's about team
effort. It's about the team, not one individual. He has been great
since the day he got here. He is part of a team, he know that is. He
said it last week, we work hard as a team. It's - I think he suggested
it was one of the best groups of players he has ever worked with.
It's about the group and not an individual. The group did well as a
whole. Being top, does it give awe lift? It matters at the end. Nice
to be up and around everything at to be up and around everything at
Christmas. Great game if you were neutral. Terrific win for Cardiff.
Leicester bemused by the fact they didn't come away with all three
points. Bemused up to a point. They know why they didn't come away with
the points, they didn't take their chances. They scored in every home
game this season, this should have been the case against Cardiff.
Unlucky. Poor finishing and great defending. Combined together, that
is why they didn't get result. Cardiff took advantage. Unlucky
because of the woodwork. David Marshal they found a goalkeeper.
They find goalkeepers at the top of their game at the minute? Certainly.
He makes good saves. His defenders backed him up. They made it
difficult for Leicester. These are saves he would expect to make.
Pushed them out of the danger area as well. Had a bit of luck at times.
as well. Had a bit of luck at times. The second attempt was given
offside. You need that. You think, one of these was going to go in at
some point for Leicester. You felt it would be very difficult. They
dug in there. You can say they had a bit of fortune. They took
a bit of fortune. They took advantage of it. That is the key.
When you are a side like Cardiff, when you get fortune, they are in a
position where they go forward and take the three points. Which they
did. You can talk about stats. Leicester had 18 on goal, Cardiff
had four. What matters is the one goal. This is what is very
goal. This is what is very impressive about Cardiff. With
their backs to the wall they come away with the clinical finish that
sees them through. Craig Bellamy works as has as he does. He has the
quality. If he gets the opportunity he will hit the target. He did. He
hit the back of the net after 20 minutes. You -- 25 minutes. You
felt it would be difficult for Leicester. It proved to be so. That
Leicester. It proved to be so. That quality came out and won the game.
Cardiff remain top. Eight of the positions in that position have
gone through to the Premier League. Are they looking good? Do you see
them fulfilling it for the second- half of the season? This was a key
game. There were question marks against them after last week's
performance against Peterborough. Terrific performance. If they
hadn't come out with a result today question mark woos have been
against them. They came out on top. Looking good going into the new
year. Ominous is the word. Two goals up, with 30 minutes to
play at Birmingham last week, Ian Holloway's side dropped crucial
points for the second week in succession.
Probably a good time to meet a Huddersfield side who'd lost three
of their last four. Well, Palace made just one change
with captain Miles Jedinak back from suspension.
While there were three changes for Huddersfield, one of them saw
former Palace man Sean Scannell return to the starting line-up.
Woods. It will be Jedinak who goes for goal. A whisker wide. No more
than that. His one goal, came here in the Derby with Millwall back in
October. That is so close. Jedinak. Zaha's pace. He has lots of that.
Zaha, tricky. Zaha! Catch him if you can. Few can. Wilfried Zaha's
first chance there to shine in tonight's match. Beckford there
caught by Delaney. That is a foul at least. Maybe a card too here for
Delaney. Red card! Off. A clear scoring chance there. Delaney sent
off for Palace. This is Sean Scannell. Looking to drive one at
Ward. He goes down. Referee says, penalty. Sean Scannell, ex-Palace
man, fell here. Clayton steps up. Speroni saves. Poor penalty. Powder
puff, weak. Speroni saves well. Live -- live to fight another day.
The referee says, no, this time. Palace appeals. Not given. There is
some shirt pulling. Nothing given this time. This is Scannell, again
the boos. Boos rather unfair on him. Beckford on the turn. Somehow that
for a save? Julian Speroni had to get down, right in the corner.
Beckford's shot. That is a tremendous piece of goal keeping.
Bolasie. Makes the angle. Back to Ward for Palace. Zaha. Bolasie wins
the ball. Zaha still. Oh, yes. Wilfried Zaha, for Palace, but made
by the most dreamy touch by Bolasie. Zaha, again the man to grab the
headlines. Before he finished, look at the touch from Bolasie. Zaha,
fifth goal in the League. He had a shot. Speroni across to make a
finger tip save of high quality Jermaine Beckford. It comes back to
Vaughan to go for goal. James Vaughan could not find the target.
He and Beckford a good combination. In the end, it comes to Vaughan.
Just drags the shot across the goal and wide, doesn't he, Vaughan?
Vaughan's little backheel touch there for Scannell. Bearing on goal
here. Scannell across, Beckford waiting, couldn't find it. Hammill.
Speroni again. He is proving a one- man barrier to preserve the
cleansheets. Pushed on now to the waiting Hammill who has gone from
right wing to left. Hammill still. Stopped by Jedinak, not for long.
Hammill across to Vaughan here. Gabbidon's pressure ensure it is
stays 1-0 to Palace. Southern for Danny Ward. Ward's cross. Vaughan
waiting. Put away by Moxey. Just ahead, beginning to build perhaps
for Huddersfield Town. A chance for Southern. Speroni beaten. Southern,
in there too was Beckford. Not sure who got the last touch. Sorensen is
claiming, it I think. His first goal for Huddersfield Town. The
goalkeeper was put off by Beckford's presence in front of him.
Goes clean through, past Speroni, who has been so good for so long,
until then. Wilfried Zaha. Bolasie, lovely turn. Caught by Gerrard, who
goes studs first. Card for Gerrard. He is off as well! 10/10, in terms
of players. Graham Scott levels up of players. Graham Scott levels up
the match. Dangerous, you decide? Sometimes you look at referees they
see a challenge being made and opposition fall over that, suddenly,
it's more serious than it is. Hopefully, people will look at the
incident and restrue and think that it wasn't a red card. Over the last
couple of wee with weeks we let the odd late goal. That one was soft as
anything, like a marshmallow in front of the fire at this time of
year. I can't argue with the boys. They were terrific. I was excited.
It was a decent game. Huddersfield are a decent team. I will pop off
and have a Christmas drink with Simon in a minute. 1-1 in a
terrific game. A game that had almost everything? It certainly did.
Excitement, sendings-off. Goals, good goals and some poor goals.
Contingency was fair result in the end. Lots of contentious issues for
the referee to contend with. You think he missed a potential red
think he missed a potential red card in the opening exchanges?
happened in the first couple of minutes. That is the reason why he
gets away with. It it's late. It's rash and wreckless. That could
really have done some damage to Bolasie. Here, Delaney comes across.
Poor defending. That I think is a definite sending off. It is
reckless.. He could have been sent off for being the last man as well.
It was for serious foul play. This isn't even a yellow card. A perfect
tackle, perfectly timed. He gets the ball. It isn't reckless. He
wins the ball cleanly. Bolasie goes over. He isn't hurt. That was a
shame for Gerrard to get a red card shame for Gerrard to get a red card
for. That It could be a defining first haft of the season for
Wilfried Zaha. Phenomenonal form. Bolasie has been overlooked because
of what Zaha has done. The build-up of what Zaha has done. The build-up
to the goals was something else. have seen that in training. People
do that in the middle of the pitch, to do that to lead to a goal is
exceptional. He sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves. He
Should Simon be a little be worried? He will be pleased with
that. It is always a tough place to go, Selhurst Park. One defeat in 20
now. A run of nine wins have seen Hull's charge of promotion
Government come. -- gather momentum. Sailing with tigers through stormy
seas is a popular theme. Steve seas is a popular theme. Steve
Bruce making it look easy. In an appropriately around Pride Park,
Hull picking up their third win. But the goalkeeper did look shaky
on his debut. Despite the pressure by Derby, it was the Tigers who
took the lead against the run of play, 25 minutes in. Just before
half-time came a deserved equaliser. Michael Jacobs's cross forcing the
goalkeeper to tip it over the bar. Jacobs getting the better of the
goalkeeper on the resulting corner. The ball clear to the edge of the
box. But the midfielder was waiting with a delicious volley. Just five
minutes into the second half, another corner found the Senegalese
midfielder who, unmarked headed home. Hull was celebrating. Derby
battle hard to level. And a succession of the late corners. 2-1
it ended. For Derby, it is the best record at this point in six years.
Pleased with the way we stuck at it. Especially the way we played in the
first half. Created a few chances. And in the second half we did as
well. The second half, we took control. We have very good
possession. Like anything else, the players, the players themselves
have been the ones who had stood up and being counted. We are doing OK
at the moment, touch wood. The perfect start to a new era at
Elland Road. Now officially under new ownership, you can sense a
cautious optimism at Leeds United. They remain in the promotion race
after edging out Middlesbrough in this contest. The Sam Byram has
forced a save out of Jason Steele early on. And Boruc arrived at
Elland Road and took the lead 30 minutes in. Boro were pegged back
at the break. A Luciana Becchio brought Alan road to its feet.
Middlesbrough continue to create chances but were guilty of not
taking them. Then the second half, they were denied by Paddy Kenny.
Some clubs bring out the best in players. Becchio always seems to
enjoy himself against Middlesbrough. Becchio's 5th goal in four games
against Middlesbrough came from a corner. The 73rd minute when it is
Becchio's 17th in the season they could be catalysed by Leeds United
new ownership. Close to bursting the bubble is a certain Jonathan
Woodgate. He had an equaliser clear off the line. This follow-up ended
up in the crowd. Absolutely delighted. It has given everybody a
lift. When we managed to get Tait and Thomas, it gave everybody a
lift. Everything is so positive. We have just got to do our best. The
type of players we have got, I am pleased. We would put our bodies on
the line. I thought it was a cracking game. Leeds is always a
difficult place to come to. I don't think what added -- I don't be we
got what we deserved today, but sometimes that happens in football.
At the their imperious form in November, December has been less
consistent the Millwall. One win in four before Barnsley's arrival.
This was a dubious looking decision. So the Reds would argue justice was
done. The spot-kick only just stayed in the bottom Tear. David
Ford could only parry the effort into the path of Stephen Dawson.
Their hopes of holding the lead sort eight minutes into the second
half. There was a time when this challenge would have had barely
merited a word from the referee, but now it is a straight red card.
The decision brought the dent to the boil. Chris would seem to have
saved the day. But in stoppage time, the offside flag stayed down. A
great touch from the midfielder clear the job for Barnsley. We were
disappointed to lose the game. Very good performance and responsible
when we went down to ten men. We kept chasing the game until the end.
The effort has been superb. And a commitment. Results have gone the
wrong way for us. I am pleased with the performance, I thought the lads
were magnificent. With five games in 15 days, Gianfranco Zola was
talking about squad rotation ahead of this one. The only changes made
to his team was to include the player who scored the match-winning
brace. For Forest, the afternoon turned when a second yellow card
was given to the Spaniard. His fate was sealed just as Nottingham
Forest were about to substitute him. The Defence was still adjusting
when the second was God. A what food are now back into the play-off
places. Three points against a very good team. The first half I thought
was very good for start the second half, I was expecting a bit better
from the players. I thought, they were one man down and we took our
foot off the pedal. We have seen Hull register four wins since they
Anyone who has come in has done a really good job. Steve Bruce has
used the system well. Derby played well. Nigel Clough was delighted
with their performance will stop Amdy Faye came in for this game. He
was terrific. Not just for this game bash macro not just with his
however, but defence as well. the start of a new era at Elland
Road. Things are coming together at just the right time. Becchio
amongst the goals. Other players amongst the goals. Other players
back into the picture after 18 months out. They have got some good
results and they are creeping up the table. With this being
finalised, they said money will be available and I think Neil Warnock
will use it wisely. They got knocked out of the cup, but there
is a real atmosphere around Elland Road and it is something they want
to rekindle. Another club in Yorkshire have been linked to a
takeover. Barnsley. First win in 12 on Saturday. Lovely finish this?
is a lovely ball as well. It was laid it through beautifully. You
thought he might have taken it too far. But a lovely Clipper over the
keeper. Clinched the three points for Barnsley. Against the ten men
of Millwall. We mentioned Watford. You get Zola and and the players
have enjoyed defying pundits? are getting more players in, and
have done brilliantly. There seems to be consistency in their
performance and style with the way they played. Our final look at the
Championship starts at Bloomfield Road when Michael Abbott and was
turning draws into wins. Blackpool started the day four points of the
away. Wolves United have been up for this from the start. It was a
great ball from Pennant. It is a Wanderers. They are looking van all
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of the time. -- looking for just onside. Maybe he should have
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goalkeeper again. Two splendid stops by the goalkeeper. Keeping
black or at arm's length. -- keeping Blackpool out single-
handedly. It was a nice height, but it still required stopping. That
referee. There is the shirt-pulling. A chance to double the lead after
scoring the opening goal. Which he duly takes it with a blast down the
Santi Cazorla at all stock three shots on goal to a night for Wolves
launderers and they have scored The captain, with his first goal
since August. It is Fletcher who got the ball across. Right place,
right time. In a goal poacher's position. I must ask about the
penalty decision? I have seen it a couple of times. He has obviously
had a feel for his shirt but it was outside the box. I don't think
anyone can stake their claim to get a penalty and our players were
Sheffield Wednesday for a while, but this has been a good week after
a much-needed win at Barnsley. In a lively start, Prutton tested the
keeper. The next time Wednesday had the goal in their sights, they made
absolutely sure. McCabe will find it hard to Bert his first ever
League goal. Charlton were struggling to find opens of their
own. When Kermorgant did they were convinced he was bowled over. The
referee saw nothing wrong. He was more unpopular with the Londoners
by half-time. From this pass, Haynes had the ball in the net. The
officials felt he was offside. For taking issues, the manager was told
to watch the second-half from the stand. His frustration was complete
in stopping time. Helan signed off in style. I went to the referee. I
didn't swear. Didn't point at him. Sent me up in the stands. I asked
him about the penalty. I gave an offside goal, which was onside. I'm
asking for consistency. I'm asking for fairness. I don't seem to get
it. It was important to make sure that what we did last week, we
continued. We have done that today. That is what it was all about.
Forget how you play or whatever, it's about getting points on the
board. We have done it again. COMMENTATOR: Birmingham with 17
ages in their starting line-up. Their young side struggled in the
opening exchanges. Three clear chances for the visitors in the
opening 15 minutes. Paterson bringing a great save from Butland.
It was the Blues who opened the scoring, half an hour in. Robert
Hall with the cross. Davies heading home. Burnley felt agrieved when
Kieran Trippier found Charlie Austin and their top-scorer found
the net. To see play brought back so the referee could award his side
a free-kick. Thanks, ref! They bounced back with two goals in
three minutes. First off, a great touch from Danny Ings to put
Burnley level. Birmingham losing the ball, concede a free-kick
leaving Ross Wallace to convert this stunning set-piece. The home
side in danger of slipping even closer to the drop-zone in the
Championship. With most of Birmingham's players too young to
know what a close shave is, it was left to Zigic to rescue the point.
A cool finish to stop their slide and to start one or two others.
COMMENTATOR: A trip to Portman Road brought more frustration. He felt
Bristol City deserved more against Ipswich. Neil Danns opener had the
Robins hopeful. They were guilty of not pressing home their advantage.
Ipswich looked off colour, but started to come into the game after
DJ Campbell was denied by this double save. Mick McCarthy's side
threatening to pull away from the relegation zone in recent week it
is was imperative that City check their momentum. Tommy Smith's
equaliser let the Robins regretting woeful finishing. They had a chance
to put this game out of the reach of the home side. After this save,
the former tractor boy Stead met it a less than promising return.
game for us, wasn't it? We didn't get to grips with it. They started
better with us. Deservedly took the lead. Could have had another one.
The keepers made a couple of good saves from us. We got the equaliser.
In the end, fair result. It wasn't just done to us playing well, us
playing badly, I felt they played well. We have to beat them. It's
going good going. We have to get our home form going twofplt home
games now and like to take maximum points. At a sodden London Road the
day's big surprise, a game that featured more goals than all the
Saturday 3.00pm kickoffs in the Premier League put together. Nine
scoring strikes, most remarkably Posh got five of them. Tomlin tkwot
got the first. The second from Dwight Gayle. Gael's fifth goal in
six games, phenomenonal for a man in non-league football a few months
ago. Bolton have yet to contribute a shot on target. They found
themselves back in the picture. Sam Ricketts going down. Miller blowing
for the penalty. Keith Andrews stepping up and slotting it away.
Posh, who rocked football by beating Cardiff last weekends,
weren't having that. Two minutes after the restart, Thorne restored
their two goal cushion. This tackle gave another spot-kick and another
successful conversion from Keith Andrews. 3-2 now. The Trotters were
livening up. Posh had that cushion back. The ball was deflected to
Mark Little. A corn frer Tomlin, Zakuani headed in at the far-post.
5-2. Bolton fought their way back into it. Martin Petrov crossed in
for Afobe to make it 5-3. Two minutes later. Petrov himself this
time blasting Bolton back within a gel of their hosts. That is where
the surprises ended. Peterborough with back-to-back wins. More
thrilling than it should have been. I felt for 80 odd minutes. We were
fantastic performance. Then we were hanging on a little bit when it was
a game that should have been over a game that should have been over
if we managed it properly. We have seen Wolves come into form
themselves. Won three of the last four. They had to withstand
pressure from Blackpool. Tom Ince pressure from Blackpool. Tom Ince
was the biggest threat. His deal to Liverpool is all but done. How much
will they miss him? They will miss him a lot. Loot at his stats. In
the flesh he is even more impressive. He can play wide of
three. In the way that managers wants to pli these days. People say
one up front. He joins with the front players well, he can finish.
He is not just a wide player who can get assists he can score goals.
can get assists he can score goals. That is really important. It's
back-to-back wins for Dave Jones. Huge credit to the manager and the
Chairman who doesn't stick with managers under pressure? He has
managers under pressure? He has made interesting decisions in the
past. One of those was getting in Dave Jones towards the end of last
season. It was the right decision. He hasn't changed his point on that.
Great goals. This was incredible. This is something else. This was
better. Helan. Terrific finish in that angle. Great pace, great power.
that angle. Great pace, great power. A great three points. Not a bad way
for both those players to geft get off the mark. Peterborough, the
score goals. Something we have seen many times on this bg and talked
about on this programme. They are 5-2 up with eight minute to go.
They have to put their fans through the wringer? They do. Entertaining
being a Peterborough fan. Not good on the heart. Two great results
against two strong sides. They are full of confidence. That is the way
Dan wants his team to play. If they don't do that, they are lesser for
it. They need to attack teams if they want to win games. There is a
realisation that Lee Clark finds himself under at bier -- Birmingham.
No prospect of money, no new faces. Seventeenagers in his starting 11?
He has to mix and match and find spark within the club. The fans
have to understand it. Until the uncertainty surrounding the club is
dealt with and the takeover happens, if it does, this is how it will be.
There will be an element of understanding about the job he has
to do. To League One now and the rain
played havoc with the Saturday fixture programme.
Clem was at Brentford to report on Uwe Rosler's charge to the summit,
but ended up talking about the weather. He ended up talking about
the weather. Not the day they were hoping for. Brend ford, the
football league's form team could have gone top of League One today.
On the day they were holding a pay what you can initiative, supporters
could have got in for as little as �1, we are off. Not hard to see why.
Not a lot they can say or do. Can you only deal with the resources at
your disposal. No, I think despite our big effort to fill the stadium,
it is out of our hands. Unfortunately for the supporters. I
think safety goes first. You must be weighing up player safety v
number of supporters on the move? Yes. Player safety is the most
important thing for me as referee. The club put a lot of effort in,
aknowledged. Player safety has to be the most important thing.
were looking forward to a full stadium. Since I have been here
over 18 months the stadium has never been full. Everyone was
excited today. We are a little bit down. I can't deny that. We have to
look forward and move on to the next game, Boxing Day. I arrived
here and immediately had major concerns. We felt, bearing in mind
with everybody travelling, to make it as early as possible. We are
looking for a game for you to go and scout? Walsall. Before we go to
Walsall, we can start with Friday night's fixture.
With Tranmere's promotion charge showing signs of running out of
steam, run on Friday evening Ronnie Moore's side faced another test of
Moore's side faced another test of their title credentials at Swindon.
Danny Holland's shot crashed into the net. Ronnie Moore called his
defence display as bad as any he had seen. Rovers were unable to
clear, Andy Williams punished this slip. Tranmere are badly missing
three key players, the spine of the team, the manager says. He had been
hoping for more backbone than this. Williams denied. Ritchie put
Swindon four up. Rovers were heading for their worst league
defeat in almost three years. Williams' second of the game put
him on a hat-trick. He didn't have to wait long for his chance to
claim the match-ball. When Martin was brought down, Williams was put
forward. Worse than the miss was the prospect of explaining it to
Paola afterwards, all always the perfectionist. In my opinion not to
be criticised, at the end of the day they decide. Chris Martin said,
no, no take it because I give you the chance. But but I wanted to be
honest. It is my point of view. As manager I think in a different way
than the players. Martin should take because he hasn't scored yet.
He hasn't scored yet. He want the penalty. With concerns over the
pitch at Crawley following the wet weather, Danny Wilson said
Sheffield United would adapt if necessary. McMahon's approach to
the conditions was impressive. After opening his account with a
fine free-kick, the summer signing from Middlesbrough upped the set-
piece with another long-range hit 18 minutes from time. The result
leaves Crawley without a win in their last eight league games. It
secures the Christmas number one spot for United. The first of three
meetings of Sky Blues and Lillywhites in over a month.
Coventry did well to get a point from it. James Bailey got his first
goal of the season. Enjoy that Coventry fans, it was their only
shot of the entire game. Preston piled on the pressure. The visitors
were rewarded. Holmes equallising. Coventry, let's hear from Mark
robins. We have taken a point. Another point on the board towards
our total. Like I say, we have a couple of games coming up now that
are away from home. We look forward eight games against Oldham. This
threw down the gauntlet. Inside the first three minutes Baxter planted
a perfect header into the net to put them in front. That stride in
the right direction was cancelled out by a scramble at the other end.
Oldham survived the appeals for handball. Williams did the honours.
If that was emphatically despached, the effort which completed the turn
around was struck even better. Williams very much in the mood now.
Despite the set back, they looked dangerous. Their hopes of a come
back were killed off by this cute pass and Hayter's cool head. Oldham
had been hoping that Robbie Simpson could turn the match in their
favour. His appearance lasted little more than 15 minutes. The
home players not impressed by this challenge, nor was the referee,
Phil Gibbs. The Latics found themselves down to ten-men. Enough
full-time for Yeovil to make it their biggest win since August, the
Oldham defence lost the plot. long time since they were still in
a game at half-time, but they could beat ahead after it Chabot ever
Heri's Dick. The Saddlers edge to a first win in 17 matches thanks to
this find macro strike. Febian Brandy played well. Five straight
defeats for Culture but Thomson nearly snatched a point at the
death. A relegation battle that got off to a cracking start. In the
opening minutes, Morgan skipping past Bury's defence. Shrews we went
1-0 up. Despair for Bury, delight for their fellow strugglers. The
past few weeks have seen Bury put under a transfer embargo and
knocked out of the Johnston Cup. But not Dougherty banged in the
equaliser. Back came Shrewsbury. Morgan again beating the defenders
will stop Shrewsbury are themselves on the edge of relegation, but with
20 minutes to go a breakaway ended with Taylor thundering in his third
goal in three games. The visitors were back in front. With the 90
minutes already up and the whistle about to go, Bury had the last
chance for an equaliser and Steven Before we looked up at the League
One title race, let's look at one of the goals. Gavin Williams,
Yeovil's second, it was special? Yeovil's second, it was special?
can do it all day long. He has had injury problems and that is why he
is at Yeovil now. A great strike. A statement from Swindon Town who
put five past Tranmere Rovers on looking over Paolo di Canio.
Transfer embargo, but they carry on regardless. What ever you think of
the man, he has managed the club well. Tranmere have not been doing
well recently. But, they wouldn't have expected that. Tommy will be
disappointed. Sheffield United have taken their chance while their
competitors are not playing. They have beaten Crawley to go top. When
you have a fall-back like Tony McMahon who can score from free
kicks like this, it is a sensation? Absolutely, other players are
taking responsibility. Everybody seems to be stepping up and that is
why they are top of the lead. -- top of the league. Walsall, first
game since September 29th. The a huge relief. Against a team like
Rochester, right beside you in the league, it was needed. Bash macro
culture stuff. Wins at any part of the season are important, but when
they kicked off 13 games, it is more important? It is game, a
recovery. Working off the confidence of the last game. It is
a case of picking players up or keeping them on an even keel. At
Walsall, it is a massive lift. The manager will be keeping them on A-
level and taking responsibility for the poor results. He does not have
to do that. The players can express themselves a bit more. League Two
now, and only two matches survived the monsoon conditions. But on
Friday Cheltenham had the chance to go second as they travelled to
Spotland to meet Rochdale, who have cancelled. So says Mark Yates. He
branded his performance pathetic. Not a very seasonal. Rochdale's
second wasn't bad. Became on the stroke of half-time. Ashley Grimes
with a high-quality finish. That did not stop Yates berating his
team. Dodgy defending was his reaction. In Cheltenham were
briefly back in the match. This was just too late for inclusion of this
year's own goal DDD. Rochdale's two goal cushion was restored. John
Coleman indicated that he will be talking about face-to-face
grievances this week. It is the season of goodwill, but there
wasn't any between Edgar Davids and Gary Rowett over a bust-up over a
Bonet penalty. Burton took the lead. The back line handed Barnetta a
present a couple of days early. Ricky Holmes taking the gift just
before half-time. It was after the interval when the incident which
sparked the that touchline at row arrived. This confident finish set
up the Bees on their way to a first league win in seven attempts.
Holmes completed a 20 four-minute hat-trick as Bonet Dragan songs of
the forts of League Two. Three defeats in a winless run of form
macro on the road. The game was already up when the third penalty
arrived. Despite victory, having steered not want to bury the
moments at Northampton but could not match of their finishing. Jake
Robinson making the most of this pass. Dean Holdsworth said all his
side lacked was a clinical touch. Danny Hylton demonstrated. Aidy
difficult. It was an old fashioned precious game. But it was a very
good game. I thought we had to work very hard for the win. Bash macro
British game balls up given this weekend's conditions, South then
got the hairdryer treatment at half-time. We did the trick for the
Shrimpers to make up for a lukewarm first half. It was a quiet word in
the ear of Gavin Tomlin that turn the tide in Southend's favour.
Tomlin made it 2-0 just after the hour, powering home This cross.
Eight minutes later, Tomlin was at it again. His 11th goal in 10 games.
It takes Southend to within striking distance of the top three.
Not that far side who did not start playing until the second half.
pleasing. The first half, I felt we put a lot in the box but we did not
get on the end of it. At half-time, we had a chat. In the second half,
it came together. With Brighton's game at Blackburn
called off. Robbie Williams released a decent hit with Onismor
Bhasera bouncing on the rebound. Accrington were breached again when
James Beattie devoured an early Christmas gift. With panto season
under way, Accrington keeper, Rachubka played the part of hero
and villain after the substitutes, Paris Cowan-Hall, was taken down
with 12 minutes to play. But he was treated by cheers when he kept a
Warren Feeney at bay. After doing well to repel Paris Cowan-Hall's
appeared, his reaction to Nick Chadwick's challenge saw his first
period kick off with the wrong card in the 80th minute.
An event for end to that game at Accrington. What a result the
Rochdale. John, said it was the biggest game of his life against
Cheltenham. An incredible result? Having been relegated with Rochdale,
and they have lost their last four games, they needed a big win. It
all the talking was done on the pitch. Mark Yates's was
disappointed with Cheltenham. was a big win for Barnet. With that
when they have taken themselves out of the relegation zone. Especially
when other games have not gone ahead. It is making the most of the
chance? They have only won three games in the league all season
before this. To get the win and to get out of the bottom three, I am
sure mark Robson wouldn't have thought there will be out of the
bottom. It is a massive lift. They are going into the Christmas season
in good heart. As to Southend. Paul storage has done brilliantly hasn't
he? He has a very big black book. lot of contacts. They are doing the
business for him. He will keep freshening things up. He needs to.
He will keep moving. The Gavin Tomlin, a man in the rich vein of
form. Well, let's have a look at the
Tranmere's heavy defeat and Brentford's postponement by moving
to the top of NPower League One after their win at Crawley. Swindon
move up into fifth. While Yeovil's win sees them move up into the top-
half. Meanwhile, Hartlepool's
postponement will see them go into the Christmas period on just nine
points and bottom of NPower League One. Bury move up one position in
the only change in the bottom five. And Shrewsbury move up to 18th
after they drew. Gillingham didn't play but stay
five points clear at the top of NPower League Two. Cheltenham's
defeat at Rochdale on Friday night means they missed the chance to
move into the top two as Port Vale didn't play. Southend move up into
fourth, while Northampton and Rochdale both take advantage of
games being called off by moving up the table.
Bristol Rovers drop to the bottom of the Football League despite not
even playing, and that was because Barnet won on Friday night and move
out of the bottom two. Right, that's almost it from us but
a quick reminder that the sport doesn't finish with us tonight.
Later on at 1.30 we've got live American Football as the Atlanta
Falcons look to confirm their position as potential Super Bowl
winners when they travel to the Detroit Lions. It's live on the Red
Button and BBC Sport website, and if you can't stay up it's on the
Manish Bhasin presents all the action from the Football League, as the season reaches its halfway stage and the race for promotion steps up a gear.
Title contenders Leicester take on Cardiff at the KP Stadium, Blackpool attempt to reignite their promotion charge at home to Wolves, and early pacesetters Crystal Palace entertain Huddersfield at Selhurst.