Division One ? Brighton's day as top two pull further away

Last updated : 09 February 2003 By Tony Scholes

Brighton v Wolves
Rooted to the bottom of the division virtually all season they came up against Wolves yesterday, the same Wolves who had stuffed their relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 at Hillsborough just a week earlier.

Having won just two home games all season they weren’t given much of a chance against the 6th place club but David Jones’ boys didn’t know what had hit them as the home side took hold of the game. Once in front they were never going to let go and deservedly won the game 4-1.

At the top of the table both Portsmouth and Leicester had easy wins that saw them pull even further clear from the pack. They are both looking comfortable now and it will be a major surprise if anyone can stop them both going up automatically.

This week they scored ten goals between them with Portsmouth bagging a 6-2 home win against Derby and Leicester running out 4-1 winners at Walsall and all this whilst Sheffield United were managing to throw away three points.

Ipswich v Sheff Utd. - Ambrose scores the Ipswich equaliser
They travelled to Ipswich where nobody was expecting anything like the recent cup match when Ipswich scored three times in four minutes to pull level at 3-3 before losing to a last minute goal.

But they got another equally exciting game and this time Ipswich (at home on this occasion) found themselves 2-0 and down to ten men once Pablo Counago had been sent off. It wasn’t quite three in four minutes this time but they did get three in the last half hour to dent the Blades promotion hopes whilst improving their play off chances as they move up to 9th.

Forest have now got within a point of Sheffield United with a tea time win over Palace at the City Ground and this has seen Palace slip down the league again.

Norwich were two up at Hillsborough but had to settle for a 2-2 draw as the Owls came back. The point does neither team any great favours and Sheffield Wednesday are looking more and more set for relegation with each passing week.

Watford v Rotherham
Incredibly Norwich are still in 5th place. With Burnley winning yesterday it now leaves Norwich and Reading as the bottom two clubs in the division based on results over the last two months and yet both of them are in the play off area.

But it is such a crazy league this season where, apart from the odd club at either end of the league table, everyone is similar and can beat each other.

Two of those bottom clubs, Grimsby and Stoke, met with Grimsby coming out on top easily in a 2-0 home win. The relegation places do look now to be between these two along with Wednesday and Brighton.

Elsewhere Preston won again and they will be giving Craig Brown the freedom of Preston if this continues. Not quite, most Preston fans still seem desperate to see the back of the former Scotland coach.

And Rotherham won away from home again, this time at Watford. It is their seventh away win this season with four of them in the last seven games. Only the top two can boast more away wins.

And that leaves the Franchise lot who once again opened their doors to virtually nobody. They didn’t manage to go below four figures this time but only just as 1,178 saw their 2-2 draw with Bradford at Selhurst Park.

Reading and Gillingham didn’t play, their game will be played tomorrow and it is a depleted fixture list next Saturday with eight of the division’s clubs competing in the FA Cup 5th round.

This weeks league fixtures are as follows with 3:00 p.m. kick offs unless shown otherwise.

Monday 10th February

Reading v Gillingham (8:00 p.m.)

Saturday 15th February

Bradford City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday
Gillingham v Grimsby Town
Millwall v Reading (1:00 p.m.)
Rotherham United v Coventry City

Leading Goalscorers (League Only)

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