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Match round-up - Second Division A, Day 29

Rayo Vallecano returned to the top of the table after a 1-1 draw against Granada on Sunday lunchtime. The game was preceded by protests from players and fans against president Teresa Rivero and her husband José María Ruíz-Mateos after the club was put in to legal administration, but once on the park the players forgot all that and got on with the job in hand. There was little action though until two minutes before the break, when Dani Benítez opened the scoring for the visitors with a well struck free kick. With twenty minutes to go though Trejo played a ball through for Tito to equalise, saving a point which took them back above Betis. Granada themselves drop to fifth after a third game in a row without a win.

Only one game left for Sunday evening, Recreativo taking a big step to move away from the danger zone after beating Salamanca 0-1. Two wins in a row had given the locals hope of getting clear of the relegation spots themselves, and starting the day just two points behind the Andalusians a victory would have taken them above their opponents in the table. However the heavy rain made play difficult, and only a good save from Biel Ribas prevented Pablo Sánchez from opening the scoring for the visitors before the break. Twenty minutes in to the second half Lamas headed home Rafita's corner for what was to prove the winner, and any hopes Salamanca had of saving a point ended when Arbilla was sent off late on. (13.03.11)

Betis moved back to the top of the table pending Rayo's game on Sunday after a 0-1 victory over Girona in the first match on Saturday evening. Heavy rain throughout Spain made playing conditions difficult, but the locals had the better of the first half, with Peragón bringing a good save out of Casto and then hitting the post a few minutes later. After the restart though the visitors started to get on top, and with a quarter of an hour to go Rubén Castro got on the end of a Beñat corner to head home what was to prove the only goal of the game. Any hopes the Catalans had of a come back ended when Tébar was shown a second yellow card late on, and they fell to a second defeat in a row which leaves them two points below the play-off spots.

Later in the evening Celta were surprisingly beaten 0-1 by Villarreal B, a result which means they drop out of the automatic promotion spots for the first time in several weeks. The Galicians had lost their last two games though, and although they started well they were unable to find the target, with David Rodríguez and Michu in particular failing to convert chances. A minute in to the second half the visitors were left with ten men when Jaume Costa picked up a second booking, but just two minutes later Iago Falqué beat Falcón to open the scoring. Gerard and Falqué could have added to the lead later on, but Paco Herrera's side felt themselves unlucky not to have saved a point after the referee ruled out strikes from De Lucas and Rodríguez for dubious offsides, as well as waving away appeals for a penalty on Iago Aspas.

It was a good day for the "B" sides though, with Barcelona Athletic thrashing neighbours Gimnàstic 4-0 to move up the table to fourth. Again rain played a big part, but after Oier saved Mairata's early header, Jonathan Dos Santos picked up a pass from Edu Oriol to put Luis Enrique's side ahead. Ten minutes before half time Jonathan Soriano scored the second from Nolito's corner, and the two Jonathan's repeated the act after the interval, Dos Santos beating Rubén Pérez after good work by Thiago, and Soriano converting a penalty after Raúl Fuster brought down Montoya in the area for his nineteenth of the season and his side's eighteenth in just four games. Only a good save from Rubén prevented Soriano from scoring his hat-trick, but after Muniesa was sent off for a foul on Morán the game came to a slow end.

With both reserve teams ineligible for promotion, Cartagena return to the play-off places after a 2-0 victory over Huesca. Onésimo's side had gone four games without defeat and their confidence showed early on, Roberto testing Casilla in the opening minutes. However with just over a quarter of an hour gone Toché got on the end of Botelho's cross to open the scoring for the home side. Roberto, Camacho and Víctor Pérez brought good saves out of the local keeper either side of half time, and Luis Helguera hit the post after the interval. But Toché almost caught out the visiting defence a couple of times from quickly taken free kicks, and with the game in injury time Botelho picked up a pass from Víctor to score the second from a wide angle.

Xerez and Alcorcón are now four points behind Cartagena after they cancelled each other out in a dull 0-0 draw. The locals had only picked up one point from their last five games, and although Bermejo missed an early chance, Angel Sánchez almost gave the visitors the lead when he hit the post close to half time. Leandro and José Marí could have scored for the Andalusians after the interval, but in the end both teams decided that a point was sufficient to keep alive their hopes of reaching the play-off spots.

Numancia are just a point behind Xerez and Alcorcón after beating struggling Tenerife 2-1. Barkero put the home side in front with a well struck free kick on the quarter hour mark, but ten minutes later the Canary Islanders equalised when Nagore headed Natalio's cross past his own keeper. Five minutes after the restart Barkero restored the lead from the penalty spot after Kitoko handled in the area, and Aragoneses had to be at his best to keep out Cedric and Del Pino soon afterwards. But in the end Tenerife felt themselves unlucky not to have saved a point when Natalio hit the post late on.

Valladolid's five game unbeaten run came to an end when they lost 2-0 to Las Palmas. The Canary Islanders themselves had gone 14 matches without a victory, but they took the lead shortly before the break when Josico got on the end of Pedro Vega's centre to beat Jiménez. With ten minutes to go half time substitute Armiche wrapped things up with an individualist effort, and the forward could have added a third with a bit more luck near the end. A first home win of the tear though for Juan Manuel Rodríguez's side, and they are now within a point of escaping the drop zone.

Albacete drop further down in to the relegation spots though, and they are now five points below Las Palmas after losing 2-1 to bottom club Ponferradina. The locals themselves had gone seventeen games without a win, but they took the lead early on when De Paula picked up a rebound to beat Kaylor Navas. Calle equalised from the penalty spot after Cristian handled the ball in the area on the half hour mark, but with the game in injury time youngster Borja picked up a long pass to run on and score the winner. It was another blow for the Manchegans, who have yet to win under new coach David Vidal. (12.03.11)

An improving Elche consolidated their place in the play-off spots after beating Córdoba 2-1 in the Friday night game. Pepe Bordalás's side had won their last two matches, and they took the lead ten minutes before the break when Angel headed in Xumetra's cross. Tena headed the equaliser twenty minutes in to the second half, but Angel scored the winner a few minutes later with his second of the night, getting the finishing touch after David Sánchez headed towards goal. (11.03.11)