Division One ? Brighton out of bottom three

Last updated : 23 February 2003 By Tony Scholes

Marlon Harewood - four goals for Forest against Stoke
They were ten points adrift of the safety position at one stage of the season but a third successive win has seen them go above Grimsby into 21st place on goal difference despite the Mariners picking up an unexpected point in a 2-2 draw at Ipswich.

It was Reading’s Tony Rougier, on loan at Brighton, who scored the winner whilst player manager Paul Groves and Michael Boulding scored the goals that earned Grimsby their point.

With Sheffield Wednesday also earning a point in a drab 0-0 draw at Palace it was Stoke who had the bad day. They crashed 6-0 at Forest with Marlon Harewood grabbing four and slipped into bottom place.

Harewood, who scored all four in the first half, became the third player to score four goals in a Division One match this season. Darren Byfield got four in Rotherham’s opening day 6-0 win at Millwall and David Connolly scored four during November in Franchise’s 5-3 win at Bradford.

Forest were just one of five clubs in the top six to win, the exception were Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United. After threatening to get close to the top two recently they have now failed to pick up a single point in their last four league games and their 1-0 home defeat against Norwich provided the Canaries with their first league win since before Christmas.

Wolves won at Preston and must have been impressive as even Craig Brown admitted they were the better side. Even in heavy defeats the under pressure Preston boss can usually find some reason why his side should have won.

This game probably provided us with the goal of the day, Wolves’ first from George Ndah. He picked up the ball just ten yards outside his penalty box and moved forward before hitting home from just outside the penalty box at the other end.

It keeps Wolves in 6th place but it is Reading who are the form team at the moment and they have now gone into 3rd place after a convincing 3-0 home win against Rotherham. Starting with the 5-2 win at the Turf they have now picked up maximum points from their last five games.

It shows just how tight the division is, had we beaten them in that game then we would have gone above them although they have played four games since with us just having two games.

Leaders Portsmouth managed a less than comfortable 1-0 win over Gillingham and that enabled Leicester to keep within two points after their 4-0 stroll against Franchise. It was no contest on the field with the more difficult result being whether the club should change its name or not for next season.

It has now been confirmed that after overwhelming show of support to remain City the club will keep the name of Leicester City forever more. A load of Fosse over nothing if you ask me.

Matt Jansen’s promotion chasing Coventry were beaten at home again, this time 2-0 against Bradford City. The turkey had still not gone cold last time the Warwickshire club won and they have now slipped below the Clarets having played two games more.

Nobody would bet against the current top two, Portsmouth and Leicester, going up or against three of the bottom four who are Brighton, Grimsby, Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke going down.

But it is the chase for the play offs that is still wide open. Wolves are currently in the bottom play off position with 51 points and Derby in 16th place have only nine points less. That’s going to be a battle that will surely run until the last day of the season.

The Clarets are in FA Cup action this week but there are three league fixtures along with a full fixture list next weekend. These are as follows with kick off 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise shown.

Tuesday 25th February

Gillingham v Norwich City (7:45 p.m.)
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford (7:45 p.m.)

Wednesday 26th February

Stoke City v Walsall (7:45 p.m.)

Friday 28th February

Rotherham United v Sheffield United (7:45 p.m.)

Saturday 1st March

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

Sunday 2nd March

Norwich City v Ipswich Town (1:00 p.m.)

Leading Goalscorers (League Only)

22: David Johnson (Nottm. Forest)
16: David Connolly (Franchise)
16: Paul Dickov (Leicester)
15: Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth)
14: Marlon Harewood (Nottm. Forest)
13: Darren Byfield (Rotherham)
12: Andy Gray (Bradford)
12: Alan Lee (Rotherham)
12: Paul McVeigh (Norwich)
12: Neil Shipperley (Franchise)
11: Richard Cresswell (Preston)
11: Nicky Forster (Reading)
11: Kenny Miller (Wolves)
10: Pablo Counago (Ipswich)
10: Gareth Taylor (Burnley)
: Bobby Zamora (Brighton)