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Saturday, March 21, 1998 Published at 19:30 GMT

Sport: Football

Dutch destroyer rescues Forest
image: [ Nottingham Forest: Still top of the tree ]
Nottingham Forest: Still top of the tree

Full English results from James Alexander Gordon (2'52")
Nottingham Forest and Sunderland, two of the three teams fighting for automatic promotion from the first division, won with late goals.

Stoke City climbed off the bottom with their first win in two months. Reading take over at the foot of the table.

Birmingham City 1 - 2 Nottingham Forest

Leaders Nottingham Forest scored twice in the last 10 minutes to snatch victory when defeat looked likely.

Simon Brotherton reports from St Andrews (0'52")
Forest were losing to a Peter Ndlovu penalty until a rash challenge by Michael Johnson who was sent off for his second bookable offence.

From the resulting free kick just outside the penalty area Pierre Van Hooijdonk equalised with a goal that left keeper Ian Bennett stranded.

And in the last few seconds Van Hooijdonk completed the turn-around with a 25-yard drive to keep Forest clear at the top.

Sunderland 2 - 1 Portsmouth

Sunderland leapfrogged their neighbours Middlesbrough, who are playing on Sunday, to take second place.

Peter Slater reports from the Stadium of Light (0'54")
But they made hard work of their win against Portsmouth, Allan Johnston scoring the winner six minutes from time.

Kevin Phillips scored for Sunderland first with a near post header from Johnston's cross after 16 minutes.

But they gifted the south coast team an equaliser. Paul Hall fired into an empty net after a terrible defensive mix-up leaft the goal unguarded.

Ipswich Town 3 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ipswich ripped their play-off chasing rivals apart and could have easily doubled their goal tally.

The game was just two minutes old when Matt Holland lofted a ball was lofted forward, which caught the Wolves defence sleeping.

David Johnson nipped in from the left to side foot the ball past goalkeeper Hans Segers.

Holland scored the second with a shot through a crowd of players from a half-cleared corner and James Sawcroft wrapped it up with a third on 74 minutes.

In the first half Wolves were unlucky with two disallowed goals for Steve Bull but there were no arguments when Simon Osborn was sent off for two late challenges on Petta.

Crewe Alexandra 0 - 3 Charlton Athletic

Charlton struck at the start and end of the first-half to take control of their game against mid-table Crewe.

Danny Mills scored after three minutes to give the visitors the lead before Clive Mendonca released Shaun Newton for the midfielder to fire his side 2-0 up a minute before the break.

Just after the break Mark Kinsella got the third to keep Charlton's promotion campaign on track.

Stoke City 2 -1 Queens Park Rangers

Stoke moved off the bottom of Division One by beating Queens Park Rangers.

It was the club's first win in two months and the first since Chris Kamara took charge.

QPR striker Iain Dowie scored an own goal to give City the lead before youngster Dean Crowe sealed victory. Simon Barker's late penalty was merely a consolation for the visitors.

Manchester City 0 - 0 Sheffield United

High-flying FA Cup semi-finalists Sheffield United and relegation-haunted Manchester City shared the spoils in a goalless draw.

City's new signing from Bolton Wanderers Jamie Pollock was booked in the 11th minute.

Tranmere Rovers 3 - 1 Bradford

Struggling Tranmere came from behind to win after being down at half-time.

Eddie Youlds headed the visitors in front before Kenny Irons, Gary Jones and David Kelly goals gave Rovers three vital points.

Reading 2 - 0 Huddersfield Town

Two goals in the last 17 minutes secured the win for Huddersfield in a relegation battle.

The strikes by Marcus Stewart take Huddersfield six points ahead of Reading who slip to bottom of the league.

West Bromwich Albion 2 - 2 Port Vale

West Brom's hopes of nicking a play-off place faded after a draw with Port Vale who are still in danger of dropping down to division two.

Sean Flynn put Albion in front but Jan Jansson pulled the strugglers level. Bob Taylor appeared to have secured Albion three points only for Martin Foyle to garb an injury time equaliser.

Bury 1 - 0 Oxford United

In-form Oxford United slipped up to Bury, a team in trouble at the foot of the table.

Bury dominated the game and could have won by more were it not for Oxford keeper Phil Whitehead.

His saves included two spectacular stops in the first half to deny Tony Rigby.

Tony Ellis eventually struck midway through the second-half to give Bury a vital 1-0 win.

Swindon Town 1 - 1 Stockport County

Colin Woodthorpe scored a late equaliser to give Stockport a draw at Swindon, who had gone ahead through Alan McDonald.

Former Aston Villa and Liverpool player Mark Walters missed a penalty for Swindon.

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