Preston North End's result at Elland Road was glorious and ludicrous enough to be worth a blog of its own, but there were a few other results worth mentioning, with the individual performance of the day probably reserved for the Carlisle United striker Gary Madine, who spent his day in court pleading guilty to a charge of causing actual bodily harm and his night scoring the first hat-trick of his career.
In the Championship, Leicester City fans, probably pretty glum already, are unlikely to be pleased to note that precisely 40 of the 92 teams in the Football League have conceded fewer goals all season than the 10 the Foxes have shipped in the last few days. In each of their last two matches, a 6-1 defeat to Portsmouth on Friday and a 4-3 reverse at Norwich City last night, they have given away a penalty for handball and had a man sent off – a habit they probably want to be getting out of pretty soon.
"It is a difficult time and everything is going against us," Paulo Sousa said. "Everything in the game didn't go in our favour. It is something we want to change and to do that we need to keep the spirit and attitude I saw last night. From what I saw and heard in the dressing-room, we have that spirit. We need things to turn because we don't have other solutions, and to make things turn we need this attitude they have."
So Leicester will start winning, so long as they keep showing the attitude they already are showing when they're losing. Got that? Right. Let's carry on.
Hull City's recent improvement – clean sheets in each of their three games before last night, which also brought two of their three wins so far this season – came to an emphatic end at Burnley, where they were walloped 4-0. "We didn't work hard enough," Nigel Pearson said. "We gave ourselves ridiculous problems. There are issues that need to be dealt with. Sometimes you might get an unlucky break but just because you've conceded one goal, you can't just fold. We didn't stop crosses, we didn't track players. Quite frankly, I'm not happy."
Also not happy is Coventry City's Gary McSheffrey, who has started recent games as a substitute but came off the bench to score the winner in last night's fortuitous 2-1 win over Doncaster Rovers – and promptly ran to Aidy Boothroyd and informed him what he thinks of his selection policy, earning himself a fine for abusing the manager.
In League One, Brighton and Hove Albion won again to consolidate their lead but there is more interest just behind them. So far as I can work out, AFC Bournemouth are currently enjoying their highest league position since the heady days of August 1998, when they started the season with three wins on the spin to briefly sit second. Last night Michael Symes scored the first of his two goals in the second minute to set the Cherries on their way to a 3-0 win over Exeter City, who came into the match on the back of a six-game unbeaten run.
Bournemouth started the season 75/1 for the title with Paddy Power, who considered only three teams less likely to win it. The other surprise successes of the early season are Rochdale (who were 60/1 for the title pre-season but, weirdly given that they are currently fourth, have since gone out to 66/1), who have now gone six games without losing themselves. Last night's victory over Huddersfield Town – still favourites to win the league – was rendered considerably more emphatic when goals from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Chris O'Grady in the last three minutes brought the final score to 3-0.
Carlisle are third after thrashing Hartlepool United 4-0 at Victoria Park. I haven't seen the goals, though Lubomir Michalik's opener is said to have been a 45-yard – yes, 45 yards – free-kick screamer. The other three were all scored by Madine, a 20-year-old striker, who retained admirable focus given that he had earlier been warned he might end up in prison for (much less admirably) beating up a Carlisle fan in a pub in February. Madine signed a two-year contract extension in the summer: "The chairman and gaffer pulled me in a few weeks ago and told me they had been impressed with the way I'd grown up as both a footballer and a person," he said at the time.
Port Vale remain top of League Two after beating Shrewsbury – who were second at the start of the game – 1-0, Micky Adams admitting his charges "weren't at our fluent best". Lincoln City's manager Chris Sutton resigned this morning, apparently citing personal reasons, following a 0-0 draw at home to Burton Albion (having given no hint of it last night). The bottom three sides, Hereford United, Barnet and Morecambe, each conceded four.
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