THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Champions League ~ Marseille win mid-table tie
Considering the Champions League is supposed to bring together the best teams from each European league, Marseille against Inter had a distinctly mid-table feel to it. Marseille's only win from their previous seven games had come at home to the Italians in the first leg, leaving them eighth in Ligue 1. Inter, with one win in nine, are seventh in Serie A. It was no surprise, then, that the match was low on quality. However, it was high on last-minute drama. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Inter looked like forcing extra-time through a Diego Milito goal.

But Steve Mandanda scored for the French side in the 91st minute to give them a late aggregate lead. Moments later Marseille's goalkeeper was sent off and Giampaolo Pazzini scored a penalty for Inter. It was too little too late for Claudio Ranieri's team. There wasn't even time for the kick-off and Marseille progressed to the quarter-finals on away goals.

Premier League ~ Ten years without a League win at Anfield for Moyes
Last night Steven Gerrard scored the first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby at Anfield since Fred Howe scored four for Liverpool in a 6-0 win in 1935. The 3-0 victory for Liverpool means that Everton have not won at Anfield since September 1999. That game was won by a solitary Kevin Campbell goal in the fourth minute. A young Steven Gerrard was brought off the bench in the second half of the game, only to be sent off in the last minute. Last night was also about David Moyes. The Everton manager, who celebrates his tenth anniversary as Everton manager today, has never won at Anfield. He surprised many by making six changes to the side that had beaten Spurs, perhaps with the FA Cup quarter-final against Sunderland on Saturday in mind. If his decision backfires, he will hear about it in no uncertain terms at Goodison on Saturday.

Championship ~ Derby beat Forest in feisty derby
A last minute Jake Buxton header sealed Derby County's victory over local rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park. What the game lacked in quality, it more than made up for in fight and endeavour. Six players were booked and Marcus Tudgay, the former County striker, was sent off for Forest. Derby's double over their A69 rivals will count as the highlight of an inconsistent season. Nigel Clough's Derby are 13th in the Championship but have already matched last season's points tally – a sign of slow but steady progress that will be welcomed by the fans.

League One ~ Blades struggle to break down Colchester
Sheffield United manager Danny Wilson has been keen to point out in recent weeks that his side's focus is on catching league leaders Charlton, rather than looking over their shoulders. Under normal circumstances a 1-1 draw at in-form Colchester United would be considered a good result. As it is, it is hard not to notice that United are now only two points ahead of Sheffield Wednesday, having played the same number of games. A win in the Steel City derby would have taken the Blades eight points clear with two games in hand. Instead, three defeats in six mean Wednesday and Huddersfield Town have closed in. The race for automatic promotion is wide open.

League Two ~ Northampton overcome Dagenham and Redbridge in relegation fight
Northampton Town did their chances of League Two survival a lot of good with a 1-0 win at bottom side Dagenham and Redbridge. Toni Silva, the 18-year-old on loan from Liverpool, scored the only goal of the game to move the Cobblers up to 19th in the table, five points clear of Plymouth Argyle in 23rd. Aidy Boothroyd's side have now won three games in a row and will hope the improvement in form is enough to avoid relegation. Dagenham, meanwhile, are at the foot of the table. Four points from safety, they have lost their last three and are strong candidates for their second successive relegation.

Conference ~ Wrexham's player-manager leads from the front
Wrexham moved to within three points of Conference leaders Fleetwood Town with a convincing 5-0 victory away at Ebbsfleet. The win, their largest of the season, included two goals from player-manager Andy Morrell. They will have been even more pleased when they heard Fleetwood had conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 away at Mansfield. With a game in hand and equal goal difference, Wrexham will now fancy their chances of finishing the season as Conference champions and taking the only automatic promotion place that comes with it. Tom Hocking

Comments (4)
Comment by Toby Gymshorts 2012-03-14 13:20:05

RE: Derby v Forest - fight and endeavour are, unfortunately, not the talking point from that game.

Comment by jonmid 2012-03-14 14:09:50

just sick chants from Derby they should have points deducted

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2012-03-14 14:21:38

Pedants' corner: Steve Mandanda didn't score the decisive goal for Marseille - goalkeepers rarely do. He conceded the ultimately irrelevant penalty, while Brandão scored Marseille's goal a moment earlier.

Comment by cantagalo 2012-03-14 17:09:06

Pedant's corner #2 - A52, not A69!

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