WOLVES DOMINANT AS THEY INCREASE GAP
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Proudlock, who had not scored all season, opened the scoring just seconds before the interval when he swept the ball home from six yards, after Gary Walsh had fumbled Nathan Blake's shot from the edge of the area. Proudlock then grabbed his second just 15 minutes before time when he deflected in a wonderful 30-yard volley from Scottish international Colin Cameron.
Proudlock (pictured) then sealed his hat-trick after 78 minutes. Mark Kennedy fed Shaun Newton down the right and the former Charlton man's cross went underneath Walsh and the young striker slid in at the far post to make it 3-0.
The reason Wolves extended their lead was because second placed Burnley slipped to 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. Chris Bart-Williams scored the only goal of the game at the City Ground with a fierce shot from the edge of the area with just 12 minutes remaining.
Norwich City climbed into third with after a 2-0 win over Gillingham. The Canaries, though, left it late at The Priestfield Stadium with Welshman Iwan Roberts grabbing both goals in the final ten minutes.
Crystal Palace also maintained their progression up the table with an emphatic 4-0 win over tenants Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. First half strikes from Clinton Morrison (32) and Jovan Kirovski (40) gave Palace a 2-0 lead at the break and that was doubled in the second period when goals from Aki Riihilahti (80) and a Wayne Brown (88) own-goal gave Steve Bruce's men all three points.
Manchester City's Jekyll and Hyde-type form continued as they could only draw 2-2 with local-rivals Stockport County. The Citizens dominated play and possession, but it was The Hatters who took the lead twice and will consider themselves unlucky not have gained more than a point from the game.
Former Ayr United striker Glynn Hurst bundled the ball over the line for the opener after 48 minutes, but just over a minute later Ali Bernabia equalised. Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi then put County back in front, before the prolific Shaun Goater grabbed a point for Kevin Keegan's men just seven minutes from time.
The pressure has eased on under-fire Birmingham City boss Trevor Francis, as his side eased past Barnsley at Oakwell with a 3-1 win. The impressive Marcelo put The Blues in front after 36 minutes, but Danish midfielder Peter Sand scored on his league debut to put the home side level just nine minutes into the second half. However, Birmingham came straight back at Barnsley and went ahead just 60 seconds later when Geoff Horsfield rifled home. Veteran striker Paul Furlong completed the scoring seven minutes from time.
Grimsby seemed to have a hangover from their midweek cup heroics at Liverpool, but they were brought back down-to-earth with a 3-1 drubbing at the hands of Sheffield United. The Blades were two goals to the good after half-an-hour through Cameroonian international Patrick Suffo (13 & 27). Midfielder Michael Brown then sealed the win with his goal just after the hour mark, but Grimsby did grab a consolation when Simon Tracey put through his own net three minutes from time.
Crewe left it very late against Preston at Gresty Road with defender Steve Foster grabbing the winner in the final seconds of the game to give them a 2-1 win. Teenage sensation Dean Ashton returned from injury to put his side in front after 31 minutes and they held on for another 30 minutes before Mark Rankine equalised for North End, but just when a draw looked the most likely outcome Foster sealed the win with his goal.
Finally, Gianluca Vialli will hope that his side's 3-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday can kick-start The Hornets' season. Micah Hyde opened the scoring at Vicarage Road after just two minutes, but The Owls shocked the home side 15 minutes later when Tommy Johnson equalised. However, the home side did not have to wait long to reclaim the lead when Gifton Noel-Williams put them back in front after 27 minutes.
Icelandic international Heidar Helguson completed the scoring with a goal just after the hour mark.
Click here for Division One table.
Click below for match summaries:
Barnsley 1 Birmingham City 3
Bradford City 0 Wolves 3
Crewe Alex 2 Preston North End 1
Crystal Palace 4 Wimbledon 0
Gillingham 0 Norwich City 2
Manchester City 2 Stockport County 2
Nott`m Forest 1 Burnley 0
Sheffield United 3 Grimsby Town 1
Watford 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1