Division One ? Big wins see Reading and Wolves in top six

Last updated : 03 February 2003 By Tony Scholes

Sheffield Weds v Wolves
As Reading hit Burnley for five as we threw yet another one in Wolves were four goal winners at struggling Sheffield Wednesday as the division’s self titled biggest club look to be heading down into Division Two.

In fact the four bottom clubs are now looking even further adrift with only Stoke picking up a point over the weekend although what a good point it was. They looked down and out at half time at Norwich trailing 2-0 but came back with goals from Bjarni Gunnarsson and Lee Mills to snatch a point.

Walsall are the next club and they were able to put more than daylight between them when they beat bottom club Brighton with an early goal from Jorge Leitao.

Preston v Gillingham
There was a strange looking result at Deepdale. Preston never beat Gillingham and recently Craig Brown’s strugglers have been unable to beat anyone and so the 3-0 scoreline did take some believing. The home side are now really taking on a Moyesless look with no fewer than seven Brown signings in Saturday’s squad.

David Johnson is back amongst the goals. He scored a week ago in one of the ‘We are out of the cup’ re-arranged league games at Preston and was on the mark again this week with a stoppage time winner at Franchise. Shame on the Forest fans too, far too many of them turned up giving the Pariahs an almost decent looking attendance of over 3,300.

There were no slip ups at the top and both Portsmouth and Leicester won home games whilst 3rd place Sheffield United slipped up with a 1-0 defeat at Millwall. They have two games in hand but Saturday’s results have now left them nine points behind Leicester.

Coventry v Watford
And what about Derby – they had to sell Malcolm Christie, Danny Higginbotham and Chris Rigott last Friday to bring in much needed funds and then inflicted on Rotherham their first away defeat since November. Mind you they did get considerable help from the officials who saw fit to send off Rotherham keeper Mike Pollitt early in the game for handling the ball INSIDE his own penalty area.

Unfortunately I think we do have to give the performance of the week to Reading, for a side that had scored just twelve goals away from home all season to get five was not bad going.

It’s still tight and there are only fifteen points between Forest in 4th place and Walsall in 20th place in the league although the way things are going the automatic promotion and relegation positions do seem to be between a very select few.

There’s just one midweek game this week and virtually a full fixture list at weekend. They are as follows with kick off at 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise shown:

Tuesday 4th February

Brighton and Hove Albion v Franchise (7:45 p.m.)

Saturday 8th February

Brighton and Hove Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Coventry City v Burnley
Franchise v Bradford City
Grimsby Town v Stoke City
Ipswich Town v Sheffield United
Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace (5:35 p.m.)
Portsmouth v Derby County
Preston North End v Millwall
Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich City
Walsall v Leicester City
Watford v Rotherham United

Leading Goalscorers (League Only)

21: David Johnson (Nottm. Forest)
14: David Connolly (Franchise)
13: Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth)
12: Darren Byfield (Rotherham)
12: Paul Dickov (Leicester)
12: Alan Lee (Rotherham)
11: Richard Cresswell (Preston)
11: Andy Gray (Bradford)
11: Paul McVeigh (Norwich)
11: Neil Shipperley (Franchise)
10: Pablo Counago (Ipswich)
9: Nathan Blake (Wolves)
9: Steve Claridge (Millwall)
9: Brian Deane (Leicester)
9: Ricardo Fuller (Preston)
9: Marlon Harewood (Nottm. Forest)
9: Steve Kabba (Sheffield United incl 6 for Grimsby and 1 for Palace)
9: Gareth Taylor (Burnley)
8: Carl Asaba (Sheffield United)
8: Robbie Blake (Burnley)
8: Jay Bothroyd (Coventry)
8: Malcolm Christie (Derby)
8: Heidar Helguson (Watford)
8: Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace)
8: Junior (Walsall)
8: Jorge Leitao (Walsall)
8: Gary McAllister (Coventry)