Division One – Weather hits New Year's Day Fixtures

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By Tony Scholes

Stoke clear a rare Preston attack during their win at the Britannia Stadium
The game at Gillingham against Norwich was called off on yesterday and Brighton (against Franchise) was next to go. Ours was next to be called off at at around 11:15 and just before noon the Grimsby v Bradford game was postponed by Mark Clattenburg.

The supporters of those away teams from Norwich, Burnley and Bradford along with a couple of people claiming to support a franchise were more fortunate than the Leicester fans who travelled to Reading and saw their game abandoned at half time by referee Mark Warren.

A wasted journey helped slightly by the news that Reading will only charge half price when the game is finally played. Supporters looking for more information on this abandonment have been further confused.

"Both Alan Pardew and Micky Adams agreed that the game should be called off at the interval after a consultation with the referee", said Leicester City’s official site but.

"Adams strenuously denied that he had agreed to the referee’s decision", it said on Leicester City’s official site.

Confused – let’s take a look at what Reading had to say.

"The decision was made with the agreement of both managers", Reading Football Club announced but on their official web site manager Alan Pardew said,

"I wasn’t happy with the decision and the announcement was not what I wanted to hear. I was annoyed with that. If we are giving out messages to the fans they have to be the right ones. It’s a shame that a message like this is put out."

Tommy Miller completes the scoring for Ipswich from the penalty spot
Maybe one day football clubs will treat supporters with more than contempt but we won’t hold our breath waiting.

And now to the games that were played and we’ll start with Stoke who having waited for weeks for a win have now found two in a few days with a 2-1 victory over Preston that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

It must have been bad from North End. Even after heavy defeats Craig Brown claims to be unlucky but the manager under severe pressure from the fans at Deepdale admitted that these fans did not deserve to be insulted by the first half performance.

Expected to be pushing for promotion our Lancashire neighbours are now languishing in 18th place although eight points clear of the relegation positions.

But Stoke were not the only club in the bottom three to win. Sheffield Wednesday won for the second time in a week with a 2-0 win at Millmoor against Rotherham. It’s not three consecutive defeats at home for the Millers and five without a win. That is in sharp contrast to their current away form that has seen them win their last three at Ipswich, Burnley and Preston.

The win sees the Owls off the bottom with desperate Brighton, so poor against the Clarets on Saturday, back in bottom place.

Malcolm Christie scores for Derby at Wolves
Wolves cannot win a raffle just now, probably too busy whinging and diving, and were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Derby. It was one of four draws in the division today. The two clubs pushing for a place in the top six, Crystal Palace and Coventry, drew 1-1 at Selhurst Park where Ade Akinbiyi scored his first goal of the season for Palace. Gary McSheffrey equalised for Coventry.

It was 1-1 too at the City ground between Forest and Walsall. David Johnson was dominating this section of our site not too long ago but he failed to score and has now got just one goal in the last six games.

The Forest goal was in fact a first league goal for another of their young players, Irish defender John Thompson with Gareth Ainsworth (on loan from Franchise) scoring for Walsall.

Leaders Portsmouth took a point at Watford with their fifth draw in the last six games. All the goals in the 2-2 draw came in the second half with Portsmouth coming from a goal down to lead 2-1 before Watford grabbed a late equaliser.

And finally the biggest win of the day came at Portman Road as Ipswich hit Millwall for four. The game ended 4-1 to the Tractor Boys after a goalless first half with former Hartlepool striker Tommy Miller scoring two of the goals.

It is FA Cup week next week and so the next 1st Division fixtures will be in two weeks time as follows, kick off 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise shown:

Saturday 11th January

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