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Leicester 6 Huddersfield 1 – match report

Leicester 6 Huddersfield 1: New boy Wood bags brace as sorry Terriers are hit for six

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

07:25 GMT, 2 January 2013

Chris Wood marked his Leicester debut with two goals as the Foxes emphatically brushed aside struggling Huddersfield to maintain their place in the npower Championship play-off positions.

The New Zealand international, who netted 11 times on loan at Millwall before he was recalled by West Brom, completed his switch to the King Power Stadium this morning and needed just six minutes to open his Leicester account.

Wood formed an excellent understanding with the dangerous David Nugent and added his second midway through the first half before Ritchie De Laet's first Foxes goal capped off an outstanding 45 minutes.

Things got better for Leicester after the break as Anthony Knockaert bagged a quickfire brace and, after Scott Arfield netted a consolation, Martyn Waghorn converted late on to help City secure their second successive victory.

Impact: Wood scored twice on his Leicester debut

Impact: Wood scored twice on his Leicester debut

MATCH FACTS

Leicester: Schmeichel, Keane, Konchesky, Morgan, De Laet, Marshall (Dyer 66), Drinkwater, James, Knockaert (Gallagher 74), Nugent (Waghorn 57), Wood.

Subs Not Used: Logan, King, Moore, Futacs.

Goals: Wood 6, 24, De Laet 45, Knockaert 49, 51, Waghorn 76.

Huddersfield: Smithies (Bennett 46), Wallace, Lynch (Dixon 55), Gerrard, Hammill, Hunt, Arfield, Southern, Clayton (Norwood 81), Novak, Vaughan.

Subs Not Used: Peter Clarke, Scannell, Robinson, Atkinson.

Booked: Lynch.

Goals: Arfield 60.

Att: 25,913

Ref: Mark Haywood

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The Terriers' struggles continued and they have now gone 10 games without a win.

In a frantic opening, Town midfielder
Adam Clayton had to hack the ball off the line to prevent Knockaert
from breaking the deadlock, while James Vaughan – replacing Jermaine
Beckford who is ineligible to play against his parent club, fired over
from a tight angle.

The Foxes opened the scoring thanks
to Wood, who rose highest to nod in from close range after Alex Smithies
had brilliantly kept out Nugent's header from Knockaert's cross.

Nugent then burst into the box and unleashed a shot that Smithies saved
before the former England striker headed Paul Konchesky's cross wide.

The hosts' front two continued to cause havoc for the Terriers defence
and they were both involved in the second goal after 24 minutes. Wood
linked up superbly with the impressive Nugent and fired a low shot that
flew in off the post.

Wood wasted a chance to complete his treble, heading wide from 12 yards nine minutes before the interval.

Leicester went in at half-time 3-0 ahead. Knockaert picked up the ball
35 yards out and after teasing the Town defence, fed full-back De Laet
who fired past Smithies.

City started the second half where they left off in the first as Knockaert scored twice in three minutes.

Rout: Knockaert scored two goals in three minutes during the thumping win

Rout: Knockaert scored two goals in three minutes during the thumping win

The Frenchman swept home the overlapping Konchesky's cut back from 12
yards and then after fooling the visiting defence with some eye-catching
trickery, he darted through two players and curled a shot past Ian
Bennett, replacing the injured Smithies at half-time.

Huddersfield got on the scoresheet in the 59th minute thanks to Arfield,
who converted after Kasper Schmeichel had parried his initial shot.

That sparked the visitors into life, with Arfield heading over and
Schmeichel denying Lee Novak a goal on his 100th start for Huddersfield.

Arfield and Clayton combined to set up Adam Hammill and the on-loan Wolves winger fired a 25-yard shot wide.

Despite the pressure, Leicester grabbed a sixth 15 minutes from time
when Waghorn, a replacement for Nugent, volleyed home after Wood nodded
Konchesky's delivery back across goal.

Crystal Palace 1 Huddersfield 1 – Wilfried Zaha, Keith Southern score

Crystal Palace 1 Huddersfield 1: Zaha stunner not enough to rein in Terriers

PUBLISHED:

20:02 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 22 December 2012

Wilfried Zaha enhanced his reputation with a stunning goal but Crystal Palace were pegged back by Huddersfield in an incident-filled match.

Arsenal and Manchester United are rumoured to be lining up January bids for the young England winger, and he bumped up his price tag by firing Palace into the lead in style.

Stunner: Wilfried Zaha (left) bangs home another screamer

Stunner: Wilfried Zaha (left) bangs home another screamer

Match facts

CRYSTAL PALACE: Speroni, Ward (Moxey 53), Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Garvan (Gabbidon 15), Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Bolasie (Moritz 82), Murray. Subs Not Used: Price, Easter, O'Keefe, Appiah.

Goal: Zaha 39

Sent off: Delaney

HUDDERSFIELD: Smithies, Hunt, Gerrard, Lynch, Woods, Scannell (Ward 71), Southern, Norwood (Hammill 46), Clayton, Vaughan (Clarke 81), Beckford. Subs Not Used: Bennett, Dixon, Peter Church, Atkinson.

Goals: Southern 75

Booked: Hunt, Lynch, Woods

Sent off: Gerrard

Ref: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).

Att: 17,993

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But a goalkeeping error by Julian
Speroni allowed Keith Southern to claim his first goal for Huddersfield
as the visitors snatched a draw.

It was harsh on Speroni, who kept
Palace in the game in the first half after they were reduced to 10 men
when Damien Delaney was sent off after only 10 minutes.

The Argentinian, a survivor from the
last time Palace were in the Premier league seven years ago, pulled off
a string of fine saves including a penalty from Adam Clayton.

But his second-half blunder gifted Huddersfield a point as Palace slipped to third in the npower Championship.

Huddersfield also ended the match with 10 men after Anthony Gerrard saw red late on.

Speroni was straight in the thick of
the action when he dived to his right to keep out Jermaine Beckford's
header after just two minutes.

The Eagles were dealt a huge blow eight minutes later when defender Delaney was sent off for a foul on Beckford.

Palace, now a man down, should have
also been a goal down 10 minutes later when Joel Ward pulled down former
Selhurst winger Sean Scannell in the area.

Clayton stepped up to take the penalty but his weak effort was comfortably saved by Speroni, low to his right. Moments later Speroni was at it again, superbly turning away Beckford's point-blank shot from Scannell's cross.

Huddersfield were well on top but
they came close to gifting Palace the lead when Jack Hunt's pass back to
goalkeeper Alex Smithies was intercepted by Glenn Murray.

The 20-goal striker rounded Smithies but found the angle too tight and rolled his effort across goal.

And having weathered the early storm, the 10 men took the lead in style with seven minutes of the first half remaining.

Yannick Bolasie robbed Oliver Norwood
on the right-hand corner of the penalty area and slipped in Zaha with
an extravagant backheel.

Zaha charged into the box, sidestepped Hunt and lashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of Smithies' net.

In first-half stoppage time Clayton almost atoned for his penalty miss with a 20-yard curler but Speroni clawed his effort away.

However, for all Speroni's heroics
before the break he was badly at fault as Huddersfield grabbed the
softest of equalisers in the 74th minute.

Palace half-cleared a corner and Southern, lurking just inside the area, helped the ball back towards goal.

Beckford was standing in front of
Speroni but the keeper had no excuse for allowing the ball to squirm out
of his hands, through his legs and into the net.

Referee Graham Scott levelled up the numbers with 10 minutes left when he showed Gerrard a red card for a lunge on Bolassie.

Mile Jedinak went closest for Palace in the second half but his drive flew over as the hosts had to settle for a point.

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: James Vaughan grabs late equaliser

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: Vaughan puts Terriers back on track as Wanderers rue missed chances

PUBLISHED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

James Vaughan marked his return from injury with a late equaliser as Huddersfield denied Bolton a return to winning ways with a 2-2 draw at the John Smith's Stadium.

The striker, making his first start in eight games following a thigh problem, struck in the 87th minute to help the Terriers avoid a third successive defeat.

After Mark Davies had cancelled out Zat Knight's first-half own goal, Eagles wasted the chance to put his side in front when his 74th-minute penalty was saved by Alex Smithies.

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Match facts

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon, Clayton, Atkinson (Ward 80), Norwood, Novak (Lee 80), Church (Scannell 75), Vaughan. Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Wallace, Arfield.

Yellow cards: Gerrard, Novak, Vaughan, Dixon, Clayton.

Scorers: Knight 9 og,Vaughan 87.

Bolton: Bogdan, Mills (Ream 85), Knight, Ricketts, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews, Eagles, Mark Davies, Lee, Kevin Davies. Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ngog, Petrov, Afobe, Pratley, Butterfield.

Yellow cards: Bogdan.

Scorers: Mark Davies 70, Eagles 80.

Att: 16,372

Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

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However, the in-form winger looked to have given Bolton, who lost to struggling Ipswich last weekend, the three points six minutes later before Vaughan's late leveller.

Adam Clayton tried his luck from distance early on, but Adam Bogdan was equal to the former Leeds midfielder's 30-yard effort.

The Trotters responded and dangerman Eagles pulled the ball back only for Keith Andrews to scuff a shot into the hands of Smithies, who then had to keep out an Eagles 25-yard drive after Peter Clarke gave away possession.

But it was the hosts who went ahead in the ninth minute when Anthony Gerrard headed Oliver Norwood's corner goalwards and the ball went in off visiting defender Knight.

Bolton almost levelled up three minutes later when Andrews fired narrowly over after Mark Davies saw his effort blocked.

However, Town were unfortunate not to double their advantage when Clayton's shot was parried by Bogdan and Lee Novak hit the rebound against the crossbar.

Huddersfield had to be alert at the back to clear a Sam Ricketts header, while at the other end Chris Atkinson sliced a half-volley over the top from 25 yards.

Town finished the half strongly, with Norwood curling a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide before Bogdan had to backtrack quickly to tip over Jack Hunt's teasing cross.

Bolton came out firing in the second half and Knight almost made up for his earlier error but his header was off target, before Lee Chung-yong shot narrowly wide from an acute angle.

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

In the 52nd minute, referee Eddie Ilderton waved away Bolton's appeals for a penalty when Kevin Davies was bundled over in the box.

Kevin Davies was then played in by Lee, although the former England striker's shot whistled past the post.

Bolton's pressure told in the 69th minute when Mark Davies picked up a pass from Eagles and side-footed home from 12 yards.

Eagles missed a glorious opportunity to put his side into the lead five minutes later as his penalty was tipped onto the post by Smithies after Paul Dixon fouled Ricketts in the area.

However, the former Manchester United winger made amends shortly afterwards when he found the net from 12 yards.

But Vaughan secured a point for Simon Grayson's outfit three minutes from time, shooting into the bottom corner.

Paul Gascoigne: Sportsmail"s favourite Gazza stories

The good, the bad and the ridiculous – Sportsmail's favourite Gazza stories

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 22 November 2012

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 22 November 2012

Paul Gascoigne will always have a very special place in the hearts of Tottenham and Lazio fans and with the two squaring up in the Europa League, the former England star has been invited to watch the action in Rome's Olympic Stadium.

It's 20 years since Gazza swapped White Hart Lane for the Italian capital and here, Sportsmail writers and photographers share their favourite memories of one of the best midfielders and brightest characters to have graced the game.

Lazio lad: Paul Gascoigne

Spurred on: Paul Gascoigne

When in Rome: Paul Gascoigne is set to watch two of his former clubs in action in the Europa League

……………………………………………………………………………..

LEE CLAYTON
I went to Botswana with him and I
can’t tell all the stories, but he was brilliant company, dazzled on the
pitch, scored a couple of goals past me and made me wish him all the best.

He once threatened to send me ‘back in a box’ when I approached him for an interview in Portugal a few years back.

But on a trip to Africa in 2006, to
promote the FA’s work abroad (including visiting an orphanage and a
hospital specialising in treatment for children with AIDS ) he was in good form.

In the wild: Our man Lee Clayton with Paul Gascoigne and a couple of friends they met in Botswana

In the wild: Our man Lee Clayton with Paul Gascoigne and a couple of friends they met in Botswana

We parted at Heathrow with a kiss (him, not me) and stayed in touch after.

The kids loved seeing him and so did the cheetahs during a visit to a wildlife centre.

In company, he was fine. He even overcame his hatred for flying. His demons were never far away, but he seemed happy.

He said he had lost his love for English football because it was ‘dull’. He wasn’t dull.

MATT BARLOW
The fondest memories are of those gliding runs and explosions of pace and the trail of bodies he would leave in his wake.

The most shocking memory, the tackle that wiped out his knee in the FA Cup final.

I will never tire of hearing the thousands of (perhaps slightly embellished) stories from his career. Climbing into a tumble dryer at Newcastle and emerging so dizzy he couldn’t stand.

Appearing naked on the front seat beside Dino Zoff when the team bus came out of a tunnel and into daylight.

Emotional: Gascoigne in tears was one of THE images of Italia 90

Emotional: Gascoigne in tears was one of THE images of Italia 90

Covering himself in ketchup and lying beneath Bobby Robson’s balcony at the team hotel during Italia 90.

Or when Matt Holland asked him why he had 'Holland 8' written on the back of his hand and was told it was because he had been told to mark him at corners.

But my favourite memory is when my mate Steve copied his hairdo, around 1990, the one with it
all brushed forward with a little fringe, and unwittingly revealed for
the first time how abnormally large his head actually was. Good old Gazza.

DOMINIC KING
I sadly never covered Everton when Gazza was playing there but I do know several stories about him.

One which springs to mind is when he entertained
a packed restaurant one Sunday afternoon by letting a parrot that had
been bought for him by his erstwhile sidekick Jimmy Fivebellies out of its cage. The squawking was apparently deafening.

As for his football, the goal he scored against Scotland at Euro 96 epitomised his genius. What a crying shame his demons prevented him reaching astral heights.

Thirsty work: Gazza's celebration after scoring against Scotland is also unforgettable

Thirsty work: Gazza's celebration after scoring against Scotland is also unforgettable

CHRIS WHEELER
It was rude and it was wrong, but it
has to be the moment before England’s World Cup qualifier with Norway in
October 1992 when Gazza was asked by NRK network reporter Thor Eggen if he would like to send a message to Norway.

‘Yes,’ replied Gazza. ‘F*** off Norway!’

LAURA WILLIAMSON
I know it’s predictable, but it’s that goal against Scotland at Euro ‘96. I was still at primary school and I remember watching it in awe…and then laughing.

I can appreciate the vision, talent and audacity now, but back then it was the sheer joy of a wonderful sporting moment – and fact Gazza seemed just as happy and excited as me.

GRAHAM CHADWICK
My favourite picture is the one of him and Vinnie Jones taken when Newcastle played Wimbledon at Plough Lane in 1988.

Taken by the great Monte Fresco, it gave me the inspiration to get into sports photography.

Ouch: Vinnie Jones gets to grips with Gazza in one of the most famous photgraphs in football

Ouch: Vinnie Jones gets to grips with Gazza in one of the most famous photgraphs in football

KEVIN QUIGLEY
My personal favourite was when I was working for The People and was sent to do a feature with Gazza and Jimmy Greaves.

They were doing a stand-up Q&A and when I got there Jimmy didn’t really like my idea of a head-to-head picture.

Gazza being Gazza shoved his face up to Greavsie's nose… then said: 'Hope you've got it.'

Really nice guy for such a big star.

What a pair: Gazza and Greavsie were entertainers on and off the pitch

What a pair: Gazza and Greavsie were entertainers on and off the pitch

And finally….Adam Shergold says:

'My favourite Gazza memory will be totally different from the others here – it was the extraordinary six weeks he spent at my club, Boston United, in the summer of 2004.

United were by this time established in the Football League and evidently had ambitions of a kind and a whole load of persuasive power to entice Gascoigne to south Lincolnshire.

After all, Boston hardly has the nightlife he might be used to and is miles from anywhere.

It had been two years since he played in England – at Burnley – and a year since he joined Gansu Tianma in China, purely for the sake of an accompanying ITV documentary I might venture.

No tea party: Gazza had a brief spell at Boston in 2004

No tea party: Gazza had a brief spell at Boston in 2004

He rocked up about a month before the start of the League Two season and, to be fair to the 37-year-old, looked in good shape.

I later heard from friends in and around the club that he was on a strict regime of going to the gym three times a day and subsisted exclusively on Bran Flakes.

With hindsight, he looked too fit – all skin and bone with a pale complexion.

You could kind of tell this wasn't going to be a permanent change of club by the fact Gazza holed himself up in a suite in the New England hotel, rather than look for a property in the area.

Unsurprisingly in such a sleepy town, Gazza was pretty bored. My dad, who works at the nearby Toyota dealership, had the surreal sight of Gazza walking in and asking for a test drive on a new model to pass the time.

On the pitch, it seemed Gazza was knuckling down to the hard graft but his performances, frankly, tallied with those of a faded diamond.

I remember three things – a pre-season match with a youth team from his old club Newcastle in which he sprayed magic 60-yard passes without a second thought, having put another 1,000 on the gate and attracted all the regional news crews to York Street.

Steve Evans, our manager at the time, brought him off the bench in the derby with Lincoln at Sincil Bank – and he immediately put in two pin-point crosses to earn us a 2-2 draw.

And in a game against Chester, he actually avoided a second yellow card by kissing the referee.

But after just four league appearances, Gazza had checked out of the New England, handed back the keys to his hire car and left the club.

Allegedly it was because United wouldn't allow him to appear on 'I'm a Celebrity.'

But it was probably 'I'm a star in a small backwater… get me out of here!'

All in all, a very strange, if exciting, episode.

Euro 2012 winners Spain – which Brits could play in their team?

Which British player would get into this all-conquering Spain side

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 2 July 2012

When Jamie Redknapp said Paul Scholes would get into this Spain team the debate raged, so… Which british player would make it

Lee Clayton

KENNY DALGLISH for Cesc Fabregas. Dalglish, who could play with his back to goal and turn and punish teams, would add greater firepower to Spain’s wonderful playmakers.

Dalglish used his backside to roll defenders and was a clever striker. He would not be an embarrassment playing their way.

King Kenny: Scotland and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish

King Kenny: Scotland and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish would make it

Neil Ashton

GARY LINEKER was the outstanding goalscorer of his generation, winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in 1986 and scoring four times for England at Italia 90. He would easily win a place as an orthodox central striker in any international team of any era.

Martin Keown

You would have to pick a striker. If they had an orthodox striker in that final third making attacking runs they would have been even more successful. I might share a BBC studio with them but ALAN SHEARER and GARY LINEKER spring to mind. Spain’s style would suit Lineker more.

Gain for Spain: Gary Lineker

Gain for Spain: Gary Lineker

Michael Walker

As someone who won the Double with
Arsenal as a centre forward and then three European Cups with Liverpool
as a midfielder, the glorious, languid, precise RAY KENNEDY was a Spanish prototype long before Johan Cruyff started shaping Barcelona into what Spain have become today.

Matt Lawton

I'm only going to consider players I saw and I’d like to say PAUL GASCOIGNE – my favourite England player – and I’d like to argue the case for a PAUL SCHOLES or a BRYAN ROBSON.

But the difficulty comes when I ask myself who misses out. Robson for Sergio Busquets No. Scholes for Xabi Alonso No. Gazza for Xavi or Iniesta. Sorry, no again. The English players might get in my squad but not in my team.

Ian Ladyman

In order to flourish in this Spain team you don’t just need to be technically perfect, you also need to have an acute awareness of time and space and possess a level of intuitive football intelligence that sets you above other players.

Maverick: Paul Gascoigne was the most naturally gifted England player of his generation

Maverick: Paul Gascoigne was the most naturally gifted England player of his generation

PAUL GASCOIGNE had all of these and also had a burst of speed over five yards that enabled him to ease away from defenders.

Andy Townsend

TEDDY SHERINGHAM would have played the role filled by Cesc Fabregas better than the Spain midfielder. He was just as good with his link-up play, which fits in with the Spanish style, but is a better finisher and better with his head.

Spain proved they didn’t need to play with a centre forward but Sheringham would have provided the end product.

Saturday debate: Who will be promoted to the Premier League?

The Saturday debate (Championship special)… Who do you think will be promoted to the Premier League

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 23 March 2012

It's crunch time for the Championship teams vying for promotion to the Barclays Premier League – the richest league in the world.

Will it be Southampton, West Ham or Reading for the automatic spots And what about the play-offs Sportsmail's finest give their verdicts…

Saints go marching in: the South Coast club are favourites for promotion on our panel

Saints go marching in: the South Coast club are favourites for promotion on our panel

LEE CLAYTON

Frank McAvennie said on Tuesday that West Ham are 'playing with too much fear' at home.

They have to overcome that to join Southampton's promotion party.

It would be a great story if Brighton follow Swansea's lead through the play-off final with the impressive Gus Poyet, but Michael Walker has a bet on Blackpool at 50-1.

And I suspect he may be buying the office tea round with his winnings.

DOMINIC KING

Southampton have been the most consistent team in the Championship and have hit a rich vein of form in the last 10 games. They look a good bet for the title.

West Ham may have wobbled in recent weeks but are capable of producing outstanding football, as they showed when demolishing Blackpool last month.

With a bit of luck, Ian Holloway will come up trumps in the play-off lottery. They could never be discounted in a one-off situation.

Hammered! West Ham's home form has been a major cause for concern

Hammered! West Ham's home form has been a major cause for concern

NEIL ASHTON

Southampton easily play the best football in the Championship and deserve to be promoted under their excellent manager Nigel Adkins.

Reading are on a magnificent run and they are good enough to see off the threat of West Ham. Brighton struggle to score goals away from home, but they could sneak through to the play-off final.

LAURA WILLIAMSON

West Ham's home form isn't good enough and they still have to play some of their promotion rivals at Upton Park, but I can see Sam Allardyce guiding them through the play-offs.

Watch out for Brighton, though: Gus Poyet's side have recovered from a mini-dip before Christmas and play some beautiful football, too.

Royal assent: Reading's fabulous run hit the buffers when they were beaten by Peterborough

Royal assent: Reading's fabulous run hit the buffers when they were beaten by Peterborough

JOHN EDWARDS

Rickie Lambert will surely earn himself the opportunity to prove he can score goals in the Barclays Premier League, having performed in the three divisions below it.

I expect his match-winning flair to take Southampton up as champions, with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce's experience and know-how proving crucial in seeing off Reading for the second automatic place.

Consolation for Reading will be a Premier League return via the play-offs.

MARK ALFORD

Southampton won 1-0 at Leeds despite being absolutely battered – that's title-winning character Fergie would admire.

Reading have surged into the automatic slots since Jason Roberts signed – nine wins in 11 matches and five goals.

Look out for Middlesbrough (if Barry Robson stops getting sent off) and Birmingham in the play-offs.

I'd like to see Chris Hughton guide City back after what happened at Newcastle.

Wembley way: Swansea won last season's play-off final over Reading

Wembley way: Swansea won last season's play-off final over Reading

Mailonline's Football League bloggers:

JOE RIDGE – 1 Southampton, 2 Reading. Play-offs: Cardiff.

I fancy Reading to pip West Ham for second. I don't think Big Sam knows his best XI whereas Brian McDermott has been able to keep his together.

MARTIN DOMIN – 1 Southampton, 2 Reading. Play-offs: West Ham.

Expect Sam Allardyce's men to have enough class to squeeze through.

KEVIN COULSON – 1 Southampton, 2 Reading. Play-offs: West Ham.

Allardyce, Mowbray, Hughton and Holloway have all gone up before but, crucially, so have a lot of West Ham's players. So it's the Hammers to win ugly in the play-offs.

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Leeds 3 Nottingham Forest 7: United torn apart at Elland Road as McCleary runs riot

Leeds 3 Nottingham Forest 7: McCleary runs riot as 'Sunday League' Leeds torn apart

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UPDATED:

23:44 GMT, 20 March 2012

Garath McCleary came up with a convincing argument for being kept on by cash-strapped Nottingham Forest after shaping one of the scorelines of the season at a stunned Elland Road.

The midfielder, 24, is out of contract in the summer and has yet to be offered new terms, due to Forest’s financial crisis.

Manager Steve Cotterill may just be tempted to pass a begging bowl round the City Ground, though, after McCleary scored four times to wreck Leeds’ faint play-off hopes.

Pure delight: Nottingham Forest put a serious dent in Leeds' promotion hopes at Elland Road

Pure delight: Nottingham Forest put a serious dent in Leeds' promotion hopes at Elland Road

MATCH FACTS

Leeds: Lonergan, Connolly, Lees, O'Dea, Robinson (Pugh 66), White (Webber 46), Clayton, Brown, Snodgrass,Becchio (Paynter 80), McCormack.

Subs Not Used: Forssell,Thompson

Booked: Robinson.

Goals: Snodgrass 6 pen, Becchio 53, Brown 55

Nottm Forest: Camp, Gunter, Chambers, Lynch, Cunningham, McCleary, Moussi (McGugan 86), Guedioura, Reid, Blackstock (Miller 84), Majewski (Wootton 84).

Subs Not Used: Smith, Greening.

Booked: Reid.

Goals: Guedioura 8, McCleary 45,Blackstock 52, McCleary 56,60,71, Blackstock 81.

Att: 21,367

Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

‘Garath is a wonderful boy,’ beamed Cotterill.

‘He has scored more goals tonight than he had appearances last season, but he is a special talent. I’ve never been in charge of a team that’s scored seven, and to do it at a place like this makes it even better.’

It was the first time Leeds have ever conceded seven at home in the League, but there was little sign of the mayhem to come when Adlene Guedioura tripped Ross McCormack for a sixth-minute penalty that Robert Snodgrass converted.

Guedioura made amends with a 35-yard strike Leeds legend Peter Lorimer would have been proud of in the eighth minute.

Guedioura looked like hogging the headlines after leading a lightning-quick 45th-minute breakaway and setting up McCleary for a drive that went in off the underside of the bar.

It was McCleary who took top billing, though, once Dexter Blackstock had put Forest 3-1 ahead with a far-post header in the 52nd minute.

Luciano Becchio bundled home a Snodgrass cutback in the 53rd minute and Leeds were level two minutes later through Michael Brown’s 20-yard strike.

Their joy was short-lived, as McCleary spectacularly volleyed home a Blackstock flick-on in the 56th minute and completed his hat-trick on the hour.

McCleary cut in from the right and beat Lonergan in the 71st minute, and the play-offs could hardly have been further from Neil Warnock’s thoughts when Forest made it seven in the 81st minute, as Blackstock seized on defensive uncertainty.

Head boy: Dexter Blackstock jumped highest at the back post to make it 3-1

Head boy: Dexter Blackstock jumped highest at the back post to make it 3-1

High five: Forest's Garath McCleary grabbed four of his side's goals

High five: Forest's Garath McCleary grabbed four of his side's goals

The Leeds boss, who faces a
pre-arranged session with fans at Elland Road tomorrow, said: ‘I’m quite
embarrassed by the result, but you learn more about your players at
moments like this, rather than when you’re winning. It tells you who is
prepared to stand up and be counted, who you want alongside you in the
trenches.

‘We fought back really well to get to 3-3, but their fourth goal was straight off a Sunday League pitch. That demoralises you.’

Don't get used to it: Robert Snodgrass had earlier given Leeds a firm footing in the game

Don't get used to it: Robert Snodgrass had earlier given Leeds a firm footing in the game

Upset: Leeds boss Neil Warnock saw his side ripped apart at home

Upset: Leeds boss Neil Warnock saw his side ripped apart at home

Middlesbrough 0 Leeds 2: Neil Warnock aiming for play-offs

Middlesbrough 0 Leeds 2: Warnock's men on play-offs hunt after cruising to away win

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 11 March 2012

Leeds kept their push for a play-off spot alive with an impressive victory over Middlesbrough, Neil Warnock's side cruising to a comfortable three points after two first-half goals.

Robert Snodgrass was the man to bring Warnock his first away goal since he succeeded Simon Grayson in February, dragging the ball underneath Boro keeper Jason Steele in the 18th minute.

Luciano Becchio doubled the lead just nine minutes later following a dreadful mistake by Justin Hoyte. Barry Robson's late dismissal in a tussle with Adam Clayton added insult to injury for Boro.

Opener: The team celebrate Robert Snodgrass' goal

Opener: The team celebrate Robert Snodgrass' goal

MATCH FACTS

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Bennett, Bates, Williams (Main 63), Hines, Bailey, Hammill, Robson, Emnes, Jutkiewicz (Thomson 63, (Ogbeche 80))

Unused subs: McMahon, Arca

Sent off: Robson

Leeds: Lonergan, Connolly, Lees, White, Robinson, O'Dea, Brown, Clayton (Pugh), Becchio (Forssell 90) Snodgrass, McCormack (Webber 87)

Unused subs: Nunez, Thompson

Scorers: Snodgrass 18 Becchio 27

Booked: Connolly, Clayton

Referee: Boyeson

Attendance: 21,301

Despite a much-improved performance in the second half, Tony Mowbray's men were unable to overcome the two-goal deficit and reduce the gap on the automatic promotion places.

Warnock's Leeds, however, remain in 10th place but are now within four points of making a late surge for the play-off places.

A period of applause in tribute to Middlesbrough's long-serving recruitment co-ordinator Jack Watson, who passed away aged 90 yesterday morning, preceded kick-off.

Becchio glanced a header across the box only for Ross McCormack to skew wide under as the visitors poured on the early pressure.

Nicky Bailey drove aimlessly over Andy Lonergan's bar as Leeds sat deep, content to restrict their hosts to speculative efforts.

Lukas Jutkiewicz and Darren O'Dea then clashed heads, the latter coming off worse, and as the action resumed Marvin Emnes bustled into space to clip a promising strike into the away fans.

But the Dutchman's verve failed to inspire Boro and they soon fell behind.
In the 18th minute, O'Dea sprayed a perfectly-weighted ball down the right flank for Aidan White.

The Leeds-born winger dragged the ball across to the waiting Snodgrass, who slotted underneath Steele to register a first Leeds away goal under Warnock's stewardship.

And less than 10 minutes after drawing first blood, Leeds doubled their lead.

Hoyte failed dismally to clear a Becchio through-ball, allowing its intended recipient McCormack to claim ownership and turn the ball across the goalmouth for the Argentinian to coolly convert from six yards.

Robson forced Lonergan to punch behind as Boro pressed to gain a foothold in the game, but it might have been three to the visitors at the break if Becchio had coped better with a glorious long ball into Steele's box.

The Leeds offensive showed no signs of abating as the second half got under way, with Snodgrass quick to ripple the side netting with a fearsome drive that the away fans thought had beaten Steele.

Easy: Luciano Becchio grabbed the second

Easy: Luciano Becchio grabbed the second

Mowbray had opted to make no substitutions during the interval, but his side's renewed vigour soon showed. Rhys Williams angled a bullet header just wide of a post as Robson lofted a fine free-kick across the goalmouth.

Boro's momentum was interrupted, though, as Williams pulled up following a clash with Becchio, and Leeds took advantage to test Steele once more.

Clayton picked his spot, his dipping drive nicking off Matthew Bates to nestle on the top of the net with the home stopper flat-footed.

The struggling Williams was withdrawn as part of a double substitution after the hour mark, Jutkiewicz also removed as Kevin Thomson and Curtis Main took to the field.

A period of quiet tension preceding the final 20 minutes was only punctuated by a blazing drive beyond the near post from the eager Clayton.

McCormack was just shy of dancing on to a White back-heel in the 73rd minute as Leeds sought to put the game to bed.

But the result was surely beyond Middlesbrough as recent substitute Thomson took a kick to the head, to be replaced by Bart Ogbeche.

And in a final blow to Boro's chances of a late recovery, Robson was shown a straight red card for raising his hands to Clayton as time ticked away at the Riverside.

Leeds rode out the seven minutes of injury time to claim a valuable victory and delight the near 3,000 travelling fans.

SIX NATIONS 2012: Favourite England v France memory

Saturday debate: What is your favourite England v France memory

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 9 March 2012

Chris Foy

RUGBY UNION: Micky Skinner’s tackle on France No 8 Marc Cecillon in the 1991 World Cup quarter-final at the Parc des Princes. The home side were attacking England’s line and Cecillon stormed forward from the base of a scrum only to be picked up, marched back and dumped on his backside by Skinner. That act of defiance had a major bearing on the outcome. England won 19-10.

Le Crunch: Mickey Skinner tackles Marc Cecillon

Le Crunch: Mickey Skinner tackles Marc Cecillon

Peter Jackson

RUGBY UNION: March 16, 1991, minutes into a double-edged England-France Grand Slam decider. Simon Hodgkinson’s penalty misses. Pierre Berbizier catches it in-goal and instead of touching down for a drop-out, he gives it to Serge Blanco and the French are off, en route to the greatest try seen at HQ. The crucial work is done by Didier Camberabero, whose toupe truly made him the man who put the rug into rugby. Camberabero’s delicious cross-kick. Phillipe Saint-Andre, haring downfield, catches it on the second bounce and scores. Magic. England recovered to win a thriller 21-19.

Matt Lawton

FOOTBALL: The Group B clash at Euro 2004 had it all – oh, except the famous English victory Frank Lampard’s first-half goal seemed to have served up. David Beckham’s penalty was saved but it was still 1-0 to England as 90 minutes passed. Then for Zinedine Zidane’s injury-time artistry (a superb free-kick equaliser) and a sweep of his majesty (his late, late penalty) to seal a 2-1 win. He even regained his composure after vomiting at the head of his run-up to that spot-kick winner. Unassailable drama.

Heartache: Zinedine Zidane scores France's winner at Euro 2004

Heartache: Zinedine Zidane scores France's winner at Euro 2004

Lee Clayton

FOOTBALL: Michel Platini has made a dog’s dinner of running UEFA, but he could play. In the midfield quartet called Carre Magique (the magic square), Platini, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Luis Fernandez were must-have trades for my Panini sticker collection and first played together against England in 1984. They won 2-0, Platini scored a header and a free kick. It was the start of something beautiful.

Neil Wilson

OLYMPICS: Nobody ran or threw on my favourite England-France moment on July 6, 2005, although I was not alone in jumping for joy in Singapore at the result of the vote for host city of the 2012 Olympic Games: London 54, Paris 50. Close but crushing.

Memorable day: Jonathan Edwards and Co celebrate London being awarded the Olympics

Memorable day: Jonathan Edwards and Co celebrate London being awarded the Olympics

Simon Cass

F1: Nigel Mansell passing bitter rival Alain Prost with a daredevil out-braking manoeuvre in front of Prost’s home fans at the 1991 French Grand Prix.

Mike Dickson

TENNIS: OK, so he’s British not English, but Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2008 when he came back from two sets down on a dramatic Centre Court evening to defeat Richard Gasquet, hitting the ball round the net post to clinch his third set comeback and mounting the photographers’ pit.

The Saturday debate: Who is the toughest tackler you have ever witnessed in action?

The Saturday debate: Who is the toughest tackler you have ever witnessed in action

Nigel Reo-Coker intimated earlier this week that Premier League players do not know how to tackle, so Sportsmail asked out panel of experts who is the toughest tackler they have witnessed in action.

Uncompromising: Stuart Pearce

Uncompromising: Stuart Pearce

LEE CLAYTON

Stuart Pearce. When Stuart Pearce
went into a tackle for England it was as if he was tackling for me, the
bloke sitting next to me, my next door neighbour – and the whole
country.

JEFF POWELL

Gerson. No-one in this country wanted
to be on the wrong end of tackles from Ron Harris, John Giles, Peter
Storey, Bobby Collins, Paddy Crerand or Graeme Souness, while Bryan
Robson and Dave Mackay were among our most prolific and cleanest
tacklers.

But the most ferocious tackler of them all was also a cultured exponent of the most beautiful game.

Gerson was the link between the
defence and attack of the greatest team of all time – Brazil's 1970
World Cup winners – and such was his mastery of the ball and midfield
that he was voted above Pele, Carlos Alberto, Tostao, Rivellno and
Jairzinho as the man of that magical final against Italy.

Gerson's ruthlessness in the tackle,
however, was best expressed by the 100,000 fans in Rio's Maracana
stadium who clicked their fingers in unison whenever he went into the
tackle. It created the noise of a leg breaking.

It was the most unnerving sound – most of all for the opponent about to be challenged by Brazil's enforcer-in-chief.

MARTIN KEOWN

Billy Whitehurst. My strongest memory is going into a tackle with Billy Whitehurst when I was at Aston Villa for which he was favourite and then, all of a sudden, I was favourite.

He let me get the ball and then clattered into me deliberately afterwards. I had scars down my shins for 18 months.

Combative: Vinne Jones

Combative: Vinne Jones

NEIL ASHTON

Vinnie Jones. A no-contest. It seemed Jones could be nasty, evil and wicked on the football field, as vindictive as they come.

For evidence, check out his assault on Manchester City's Peter Reid five seconds into an FA Cup tie back in 1991 on YouTube, or his scandalous challenge on Steve McMahon in the first few minutes of Wimbledon's 1988 FA Cup final victory over Liverpool.

There were no apologies and certainly no prisoners where Jones was concerned.

MATT LAWTON

Graeme
Souness. Has there ever been a harder man on a football pitch He might
be the cultured, sophisticated, articulate face of football punditry
now, but Souness was as tough as they come and a wonderful, wonderful
player, too. He was a winner. He won the ball and usually the match.

Hardman: Norman Hunter 'tackles' Jim Cannon of Crystal Palace

Hardman: Norman Hunter 'tackles' Jim Cannon of Crystal Palace

Wild streaK: Terry Hurlock

Wild streaK: Terry Hurlock

MARK ALFORD

Norman Hunter. One video was played to death in my house through the 1990s. My dad eventually broke that cassette after rewinding a clip of Hunter one too many times. It was from 1968 when he left an Everton player flat-out, unconscious. For a 12-year-old lad it was both brutal and beautiful.

STEVE CURRY

Tommy
Smith. Bill Shankly said: 'Tommy Smith wasn't born, he was quarried.'
He was a more frightening sight than those hard men of Leeds – Bremner,
Hunter and Giles.

MATT BARLOW

Terry Hurlock. I first saw him playing for Brentford at Chesterfield when he was an immense midfield presence, if slightly wild. Fans connected with him.