Pompey clear as Foxes slip-up
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Pompey will be disappointed not to have extended their lead further after taking the initiative at Fratton Park, but Coventry fought hard to claim a point and remain in touch with the leading pack.
After a goalless first half Harry Redknapp's side took the lead after 50 minutes when Paul Merson sent through a great pass for Vincent Pericard and the striker - on loan from Juventus - out paced Mo Konjic before finishing past Fabien Debec.
Coventry came back and grabbed a share of the spoils just after the hour mark when young central defender Callum Davenport stabbed the ball home after a goal-mouth scramble.
Leicester began the day in second place, but they failed to hang on to their 100 percent home record as improving Burnley recorded a shock win.
The only goal of the game came after 54 minutes when Ian Moore headed home after Glen Little's corner was headed back across goal by Lee Briscoe.
Norwich took advantage of Leicester's slip up, as their defeat of Millwall took them to within four points of Pompey.
Substitute David Nielsen grabbed a brace (43 & 62), which sandwiched a strike from the Lions' Steve Claridge (50).
The Canaries sealed the win with 17 minutes when Darren Kenton flicked home a Philip Mulryne free-kick.
Sheffield United moved up to fourth place, after a terrific come back saw them beat Brighton 4-2 at The Withdean Stadium - The Seagulls' twelfth straight league defeat.
New manager Steve Coppell looked all set for victory after 34 minutes, after headers from Gary Hart and Graham Barrett had given them a 2-0 advantage.
The Blades did not get on the score-sheet until 20 minutes from time when Michael Brown finished from the edge of the area.
From then Carl Asaba stole the show - he picked up the ball following a great run from Michael Tonge to equalise and then converted two late penalties (86 & 88) to give United an unlikely victory.
Gillingham recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Watfrod at The Priestfield Stadium.
Malian international Mamady Sidibe scored his first for the club after just two minutes after good work from Paul Smith and Guy Ipoua then doubled the lead after 33 minutes when player-manager Andy Hessenthaler crossed from the right.
Substitute Kevin James completed the scoring with a great chip in the last minute.
Wolves put their poor start behind them with a 2-0 win over Stoke City.
The game at the Britannia Stadium looked set to end 0-0 with both defences on top but Scottish international Colin Cameron netted on 78 minutes to put Wolves in front.
Stoke had no answer and as they pushed forward for an equaliser Nathan Blake went on a solo run and fired a second deep into stoppage time.
It was a big three points for under-fire manager Dave Jones as he bids to lift Wolves back up the table.
Rotherham were held to a goalless draw at Blundell Park by a Grimsby side reduced to nine-men.
Georges Santos was sent off for his second bookable offence after 25 minutes and was followed into the changing room by Paul Raven who also picked up two bookings just before the hour mark.
Despite being down in numbers Paul Groves's side held on for a welcome point.
Reading maintained their top half place with a very good 3-1 victory over managerless Ipswich Town.
Royals' leading scorer Nicky Forster grabbed a superb hat-trick to take his side to victory.
His first came after 28 minutes when he headed home Ricky Newman's cross and then double his side's advantage with a fantastic second when he picked up the ball from Anthony Rougier and turned John McGreal before firing home from 18 yards
Young Darren Ambrose then gave Town some hope when he fired home a free-kick after 62 minutes.
However, Ipswich then had Pablo Counago dismissed for violent conduct after 67 minutes - and their misery was compounded two minutes later when Forster grabbed his third after beating the offside trap and sliding the ball under Andy Marshall.
Sheffield Wednesday recorded a valuable 2-1 win over Yorkshire rivals Bradford City at Hillsborough.
Dutchman Gerald Sibon fired the Owls in front after 20 minutes when he ran through from midfield before ramming the ball home.
Danny Maddix was sent off after 42 minutes for Wednesday and then two minutes later The Bantams were level when on-loan midfielder Stephen Warnock scored his first goal for Bradford.
Wednesday then secured only their second win of the season when Sibon grabbed the winner from the penalty spot with just four minutes remaining.
Preston produced a great comeback at The Bescot Stadium to claim a 3-3 draw with Walsall.
Jorge Leitao scored after 20 minutes when he picked up a rebound after an effort from Junior.
Junior then got on the score sheet himself just six minutes later when he collected a ball from Martin O'Connor and jinxed past two defenders before smashing the ball home from 25 yards.
Saddlers goalkeeper Jimmy Walker was then sent off for handling outside the area, which gave Preston hope.
North End did score after 38 minutes when Mark Rankine knocked down a cross for David Healy who converted from just six yards.
Walsall then restored their two goal advantage when Eric Skora handled in the area and Zigor Aranalde sent Teuvo Moilanen the wrong way.
Skora made amends for his earlier error when he crossed for Chris Lucketti who towered the ball into the net with just 15 minutes left.
The two minutes from time Scottish international Graham Alexander fired home after good work from Iain Anderson.
The tenants versus the landlords encounter at Selhurst Park saw Crystal Palace squander a two goal lead as they were held to 2-2 by Wimbledon.
The Eagles - who were the away side - took the lead when England youth starlet Wayne Routledge broke down the right and crossed for Julien Gray, who turned on the ball and blasted home from ten yards.
Palace looked well on their way to victory with just 20 minutes left when Andy Johnson was on hand to slot home, after Dele Adebola's effort was saved by Kelvin Davis.
Dons captain Neil Shipperley pulled one back after 76 minutes and then three minutes later substitute Patrick Agyemang capitalised on an error from Danny Granville to grab an unlikely equaliser.
Click below for match summaries:
Brighton 2-4 Sheffield Utd
Gillingham 3-0 Watford
Grimsby 0-0 Rotherham
Leicester 0-1 Burnley
Norwich 3-1 Millwall
Portsmouth 1-1 Coventry
Reading 3-1 Ipswich
Sheff Wed 2-1 Bradford
Stoke 0-2 Wolves
Walsall 3-3 Preston
Wimbledon 2-2 Crystal Palace
Click here for the Division One table