The View Outside The Premier League: Palace Show Resilience and the Gills Are On A Roll
It proved to be a weekend of quiet satisfaction for Crystal Palace fans. Despite Dougie Freedman's decision to join Bolton the Eagles produced the performance of the day to end Leicester City's unbeaten home record. And for good measure, Bolton lost at Middlesbrough.
Because of his past service to the club Crystal Palace won't wish too much bad luck on Freedman but there's no doubt there would be some satisfaction finishing above Bolton, who languish in 18th place at present.
Bolton have resources that the Londoners don't have but the spirit at Selhurst Park is second to none. There's a blend of experience and youth with Wilfried Zaha as the jewel in the crown attracting the most attention.
Solid pros like Julian Speroni, Glenn Murray and Paddy McCarthy are providing a solid platform for Zaha to perform. After a sticky start the Eagles are in fourth spot and they have a reasonable chance of ending the campaign in a play-off slot.
Martin Allen is one of those managers who has seen it all in the lower divisions. Even Notts County's decision to fire him last season, when the club sat in play-off berth, can't curb his massive enthusiasm and County's loss is Gillingham's gain.
The Kent outfit are cutting a swathe through League Two at the moment, defeated just twice in 15 league games. It leaves them five points clear at the top after Port Vale tripped up on Saturday.
Key man so far is Danny Kedwell, another example of a non-league player who has come into League soccer with aplomb. Kedwell started out at Grays then came to the fore at AFC Wimbledon; and he's still scoring at a good rate with the Gills, banging in nine in the league so far.
Even at 29 Kedwell is learning from the much-travelled Deon Burton. The Jamaican striker is now 36 and has played for more than 10 League clubs, with his last engagement before Gillingham being with Gabala in Azerbaijan.
Allen's teams always play in a positive style and right now the Priestfield Stadium is an exciting place to be. From 2000-2005 the Gills played in the second tier and their fans certainly believe that the club should be in League One at least.
Sheffield Wednesday picked a good moment to travel to Ipswich as the Suffolk club are in a rut and parted company with Paul Jewell last week. The Owls really needed points and duly got them thanks to two strikes from Everton loanee Ross Barkley.
Even with these points Wednesday stay in the bottom three but their future looks a lot brighter than the Tractor Boys. Ipswich will have to take heart from Peterborough United, who started the season in abject fashion but clawed their way of the relegation berths on Saturday.
Tranmere's runaway start to the season has slowed dramatically and on Saturday they needed a late equaliser by Jake Cassidy to save a point at home to Preston. Despite their mini-wobble Ronnie Moore's team stay three points clear as nearest challengers Stevenage were thumped 4-0 by a rampant Swindon Town.
In the Blue Square Premier Grimsby Town suffered a third home defeat on the bounce. Macclesfield Town snatched the win with a late penalty to add more gloom after last week's loss to Kidderminter in the FA Cup.
Grimsby and Macclesfield are contrasting teams. Matt Barnes-Homer's winner was his 11th of the League season leaving him top scorer for the division - the Mariners have no player with more than five goals but they have three more points than the Silkmen.