Division One – Boxing Day upset for top clubs

Last updated : 27 December 2002 By Tony Scholes

Three of Coventry's loan players celebrate Partridge's goal
Wolves were one of those five to pick up nothing when they went down at Turf Moor but there were to be some bigger surprises than that as Nottingham Forest suffered a 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday and, in the performance of the day, Brighton won 1-0 at Norwich to inflict on the Canaries only their second home defeat of the season.

David Johnson returned to Hillsborough where he had a loan spell last season but as was the case when he returned to Burnley he failed to find the net as his side went down to defeat. The result brought Chris Turner his first win as manager.

Brighton won at Norwich courtesy of a goal from Steve Sidwell on loan from Arsenal but they had to contend with a constant bombardment in the second half as they hung on. They needed the victory to avoid returning to the bottom and they and Wednesday have now caught Stoke who are in a dreadful run.

The Potters were twice in front at Bradford before falling to a 4-2 defeat and they have now gone sixteen games without a win. Their last victory came in September when they beat Ipswich and Steve Cotterill was still in charge then.

Thomas Gaardsoe equalises for Ipswich at Leicester
But back to the top clubs and besides Wolves, Forest and Norwich there were also defeats for second place Leicester and Reading. Leicester looked to have the points sewn up at home to Ipswich but conceded two goals in the last six minutes and went down to a 2-1 defeat. Ipswich have now matched the Clarets and become the second visiting team to win at the Walkers Stadium.

Reading recently went eight games without conceding a goal but they suffered their third successive 2-0 defeat, this time at Coventry where not surprisingly the Coventry goals came from loan players. The second from Richie Partridge was a stunning goal. This result enabled Coventry to climb into the top six at the expense of Reading.

With leaders Portsmouth drawing for the fourth time in a row it was left to Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United to lead the way with the top clubs. They were the only winners from the top group of clubs, picking up all three points with a 1-0 win over Walsall at the Bescot Stadium with a goal from the impressive Michael Brown.

Millwall and Gillingham shared the points in an early kick off at the New Den and finally Grimsby picked up a good 3-1 win at Derby.

All the clubs are back in action again tomorrow with a full fixture list as follows:

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