Premier League ~ City in unfamiliar chasing position
Manchester City dropped below Manchester United for the first time since October following their 1-0 defeat at Swansea on Sunday. The result, combined with United's 2-0 win over West Brom at Old Trafford, means Roberto Mancini's men find themselves looking up at their rivals with only ten games to go. Mancini remains confident. "This was not a critical game," the Italian said. "The championship will be decided three games from the end of the season." If City lose a few more "non-critical" games, the meeting with United that he refers to may be too late, especially with injuries to Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott.

Championship ~ Vicente inspires Poyet's Brighton
Brighton moved up into a play off place after beating relegation candidates Portsmouth 2-0. The victory was largely down to the performance of Rodriguez Vicente, who came off the bench to make only his seventh appearance of the season. The winger, who won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia, scored both goals and was called "the best player at the club" by Gus Poyet following the match. Vicente has struggled with injuries through out his career. "A month ago," said Poyet, "we made a decision to push him to the limit in terms of fitness, which is not nice, but I thought right or wrongly we needed to force him to get to another level and this week in training he was absolutely spectacular."

League One ~ Notts strengthen play off claims
Jonathan Forte scored a first half hat-trick at the Valley as Notts County comprehensively beat league leaders Charlton Athletic. County were 4-0 up at half time and withstood a Charlton fightback in the second half to win 4-2 and send manager Keith Curle into "dreamland". His side have now won seven out of their last nine games and occupy the final play off place, though Stevenage and Carlisle both have games in hand. The victory will provide a boost in confidence for County as their next two games are at Meadow Lane against Sheffield Wednesday and United, who lie in third and second place respectively. Good results from those matches and fans' worries about appointing Curle may disappear completely.

League Two ~ Youngsters shine as Crewe win thriller
A goal in the fifth minute of injury time gave Crewe Alexandra a 4-3 victory away at Gillingham. It looked like being a frustrating afternoon for Crewe, who were leading 3-1 before being pulled back to 3-3. That was until Max Clayton, the 17-year-old who came on as a second half substitute, scored the late winner. The victory owed much to another of Crewe's 17-year-olds, too. Nick Powell scored twice, one a stunning 30-yard strike into the top corner, and set up the Railwaymen's third. Overall, the win satisfied boss Steve Davis. "We were brilliant for most of it and pathetic for some of it," he said.

~ Strathspey aren't as bad as Fort William
The battle of the Highland League's bottom two ended in a 2-1 victory for Strathspey Thistle. Coming off the back of a 7-1 midweek defeat to Forres Mechanics, Thistle found themselves 1-0 down to Fort William on 26 minutes, Darren Quigg giving the Lochaber men the lead. Just on half time Mateusz Bobrowski levelled for Thistle before Joe Hardie scored the winner in the second half. The win moves Strathspey on to eight points for the season, four points ahead of Fort William but nine behind Brora Rangers. Due to winter weather abandonments, though, Fort William have only played 21 games to Strathspey's 25 and Brora's 28. Tom Hocking

Comments (2)
Comment by ingoldale 2012-03-12 18:14:32

I think this column is a great addition to the website but, as a Grimsby fan, I regret is does not cover the Conference as well as news from the four League division plus A. N. Other.

Comment by madmickyf 2012-03-15 03:07:17

I wonder if all those Notts County fans are still missing Mad Dog?

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