Pompey stretch lead at the top
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
An action-packed evening in Division One also saw Leicester come from behind to edge East Midlands rivals Coventry at The Walkers Stadium, Crystal Palace come back to stun Walsall in a 4-3 thriller and Wimbledon beat Rotherham in front of a record low crowd of just 849 at Selhurst Park.
Pompey were given a shock by visitors Preston North End as Richard Cresswell gave them the lead after 25 minutes.
Steve Stone then scored his first goal since his loan move from Aston Villa in his home league debut, and Paul Merson converted a slightly dubious penalty three minutes later.
Matthew Taylor put Pompey in control when his 34th minute strike made it 3-1 although Harry Redknapp's men were made to work for it when Graham Alexander's penalty made it 3-2 after the break but the hosts held out to stretch their lead by a point.
Grimsby Town fans had seen their side hit the net just four times at home so far this season and must have been pinching themselves as the watched their side bang in six past Burnley, but also concede five in the remarkable 6-5 victory.
On-loan Crystal Palace striker Steve Kabba grabbed the first after three minutes, before Gareth Taylor equalised after 22 minutes.
Steve Livinsgtone made it 2-1 to the hosts after 28 minutes, only for Ian Moore to level again a minute later. Kabba bagged his second before Stuart Campbell made it 4-2 after 36 minutes only for Robbie Blake's penalty brought it back to 4-3 at the break.
Taylor took just four minutes to get the scoring underway again to grab his second to once more make things all square at 4-4.
Both teams did not rest on their laurels and kept on trading punches with Alan Pouton's penalty putting the Mariners 5-4 and Simon Ford apparently made the game safe by making it 6-4 with 18 minutes left to play.
Blake grabbed his brace seven minutes from time but that was finally an end to the scoring and Grimsby held out for an incredible 6-5 win and send their fans home in a state of wonderment.
Liverpool winger Ritchie Partridge grabbed his second goal for Coventry by putting them ahead against Leicester but the hosts came back to square things up through Gerry Taggart, and Brian Deane grabbed the last minute winner for The Foxes, who also had Nicky Summerbee sent off late on.
Another exciting encounter saw Walsall go 2-0 up early on only for an Andrew Johnson hat-trick to eventually grab a 4-3 win for Palace at The Bescot.
The Saddlers went up early after five minutes with goals from Steve Corica and Junior.
Andy Johnson grabbed his first before Junior made it 3-1 after 53 minutes. Johnson got his second and Dougie Freedman notched before Johnson claimed the match ball and the three points with his last minute winner.
Wimbledon grabbed an unwanted record as only 849 spectators turned out to watch their 2-1 win over Rotherham at Selhurst Park.
Neil Shipperley's tenth of the season put The Dons ahead and David Connolly made it 2-0 on the hour, with Alan Lee grabbing a late response for The Millers.
Wolves continuec their recent improvement with a resounding 4-0 win over ten-man Gillingham at the Priestfield stadium.
Nayron Nosworthy was given his marching orders after 24 minutes shortly before Colin Cameron's penalty gave Dave Jones's men the lead.
Nathan Blake then bagged a hat-trick on 45, 52 and 59 minutes to put an emphatic finish on the game and keep Wolves in contention at the top of the league.
A single goal was enough to give Reading the points against Bradford at Madejski with Nicholas Shorey grabbing the winner after 71 minutes.
Norwich took on Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road but neither side could make the breakthrough with the game ending 0-0.
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