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All the fizz of the Coca-Cola Football League: Austin living a fairytale

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29 Mar 2010 00:45:41

All the fizz of the Coca-Cola Football League: Austin living a fairytale

SIGNING OF THE SEASONPlucking players from obscurity is becoming a lost art. They clearly still have the knack at Swindon, having prised striker Charlie Austin (right) away from non-League Poole Town last autumn. An incredible 16 goals in 22 starts later, including Saturday's winner at Hartlepool, the 20-year-old is proving to be a latter-day fairytale. HOW THE MIGHTY ARE FALLINGWhen Leeds visited Old Trafford on January 3 and shocked Manchester United in the FA Cup, they stood 20 points clear of Millwall. After losing to a late Chris Martin goal at Norwich and hearing of Millwall's 5-0 thumping of bottom club Stockport, Simon Grayson's side - 15 points in 15 games - are now just a single goal ahead. Millwall, by contrast, have gained 35 points in just 14 games. SHAGGY DONNY STORYDoncaster Rovers' players and boss Sean O'Driscoll have been growing beards during March to raise money for charities, the NSPCC and Right To Play. A wonderful gesture with only one problem. Since the appearance of facial hair on his chin, top scorer Billy Sharp hasn't scored. Happily, Rovers still managed a 1-0 win at Barnsley. BRADFORD BOYS WILL SCORE THEM FOR YOUBradford City players found the net five times against Dagenham & Redbridge but somehow contrived to turn them into a 3-3 draw. Leading 2-1 and then 3-2, own goals from Steve Williams and then Luke Oliver stymied the home team's attempt to continue their good form under new manager Peter Taylor. SCOUT'S CORNERBrothers in Rochdale arms, both called Chris and both 24 years old, Messrs Dagnall and O'Grady have scored 20 league goals each for the runaway League Two leaders after Dagnall's hat-trick sealed a 4-1 win over Grimsby. O'Grady is eight inches taller than 5ft 6in Dagnall but so prolific are they that opposing teams cannot focus their attentions on one without neglecting the other. Sportsmail valuation: £400,000 for both. Prolific: Chris Dagnall Hotshot: Chris O'Grady ROLL OUT THE CARPET 'I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. The pitch is bobbly, uneven and dry and I didn't think it would suit our ball players.' Macclesfield manager Gary Simpson on the not-so-green, green grass of home. In spite of conditions at the inappropriately-named Moss Rose, his team eked out a late 1-0 win over Cheltenham. GATE OF THE DAY In the tale of England's two St James' Parks, it takes Exeter nine games to attract enough fans to match Newcastle's average. Still, the 5,887 who witnessed the 2-1 win over Walsall which lifted Paul Tisdale's side out of the League One relegation places would not have been anywhere else. WHAT'S THE POINT? No teams in the Championship have drawn as many league games this season as Swansea and Ipswich - 35 combined now after a goalless stalemate at the Liberty Stadium. Oh yes, and they also drew their fixture at Portman Road back in October. NOT THE WAY WE WEREJust four years ago, Watford and Crystal Palace met in the play-offs as they chased the same Premier League dream. Aidy Boothroyd (right) took Watford up that season. But Palace's home defeat by Cardiff, combined with Watford's draw against Middlesbrough, means they will be squabbling to avoid a relegation ticket to League One when they face each other at Vicarage Road tomorrow night.  Reading 1 West Brom 1: Tamas to the rescue but Carson is the Albion heroSheffield United 0 Scunthorpe 1: Hayes strike spoils Blades' play-off hopesSwansea 0 Ipswich 0: Tractor Boys rally to keep Keane in a job - for nowWatford 1 Middlesbrough 1: Sub Lita strikes to salvage a point for BoroBarnsley 0 Doncaster 1: Cop that! Rovers deliver knockout blow


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