Elche are looking better and better for promotion every week, and this Sunday lunchtime they took another step closer to a return to the top flight for the first time since the 1988/89 season after they beat second placed Almería 1-0. The East coast side have built their campaign this year on their 100% home record and their defensive strength, and once again they won it by a single goal to zero. The first half though was overshadowed by referee Trujillo Suárez, who disallowed two good goals by visitors Aleix Vidal and Charles, as well as turning down fair penalty appeals by Powel and Carles Gil. Visiting keeper Esteban also escaped a red card before the break when he caught Etxeita with a punch, but after the restart Etxeita and Damian Suárez both rattled the woodwork before Etxeita got on the end of Edu Albácar's corner to head home what was to prove the winner.
Sabadell moved back up to the play-off spots after beating a sad Racing Santander 0-1 in the other game which took place at mid-day on Sunday. The only goal of the match came early on, Lanzarote scoring for the Catalans with an individualist effort in the seventh minute. Jairo and Koné did test visiting keeper Manu after the break, but otherwise the Cantabrians were just as poor under new coach José Aurelio Gay as they were under Fabri, and they fell to a sixth defeat in a row which left them in next to bottom spot at the end of the day. After the final whistle there were ugly scenes as angry fans confronted figurehead club president Harry Lavín and the players, and three hooded individuals even followed Bouazza to his home before he faced up to them and they left.
Last week's bottom club Mirandés climbed above Racing after they beat fellow strugglers Hércules 3-2 later in the day. The locals had only won once this season in their Anduva stadium, but by half time they were three up, Iribas catching out Falcón with a cross-come-shot, and Diaz de Cerio taking advantage of some slack defending to score two more. The striker got himself sent off though after picking up a second booking with a quarter of an hour to go, but two goals from Portillo after that were not enough to prevent the Alicante based side from dropping to the foot of the table. Sporting Gijón move away from the danger zone however after they beat Xerez 3-0, their first victory since the end of October. All the goals came after the break, Trejo setting up substitute Bilic for the first, and Nacho Cases for the second. And Bilic headed his second of the evening near the end after good work by Sangoy to take the Asturians a point above their opponents in the table.
Ponferradina were one of the favourites to go back down this season, but they are now up in to the play-off spots for the first time in their history after beating Numancia 0-1. The goal though came in controversial circumstances in the eighteenth minute with Ripa still on the ground claiming a foul, Acorán picking up a quick throw-in and running on to beat Herrerín. After the break Natalio hit the bar and Juanjo and Del Pino went close, but keeper Santamaría and his defence held fast to make it five straight wins in a row. The León based side move a point above Las Palmas, who held on for a 0-0 draw at Recreativo despite playing all the second half with ten men. The Canary Islanders were unbeaten in their last telve games, but they were lucky not to go behind when Chuli hit the woodwork twice before the break. Murillo was sent off on the stroke of half time for a second bookable offence, but Sergio Lobera's side sat back to defend after that, and Vitolo almost won it for them on a last minute breakaway. (16.12.12)
Girona are back up to second in the table after a 2-0 victory over promotion rivals Villarreal. The Catalans started the day just three points above their rivals in the table, and there were a few nervous moments when Cavenaghi and Mellberg went close for the visitors before the break. However Benja headed in a corner a few minutes after the restart, and with ten minutes to go Jandro scored the second from the penalty spot after Mellberg was sent off when he picked up a second yellow card for handling inside the area. Rubi's side are now four points clear of Alcorcón after the Madrid based team were held to a 1-1 draw by Barcelona B. Oriol Riera volleyed the locals in to the lead after Juli laid the ball back with just over a quarter of an hour gone, and the ex-Barça B striker came close to a second when he headed just wide before the break. However Luis Alberto hit the post five minutes in to the second half, and with twelve minutes to go he levelled the scores with an angled shot past Dorronsoro following good work by Rafinha.
Córdoba are another side who are in the running for promotion this year, and after their good performance against the mighty Barcelona in the cup last Wednesday, they moved to the brink of the play-off spots with a 1-3 victory at Huesca. New coach Angel Royo saw Diogo combine with Tariq to open the scoring for the locals midway through the first half, but some eight minutes later Pedro equalised with a low shot past Luis García. And youth international Fede Vico scored twice in the first twenty minutes of the second half, the first from Pedro's cross and the second with an angled shot past the keeper, to leave the Aragón based team further down in the drop zone. Guadalajara move three points clear of Huesca in the table though after a 0-1 win at Murcia, their second victory in a row. The match was delayed by twenty minutes after a popular member of the Murcia ground staff collapsed and died shortly before the kick-off. The locals players agreed for the game to go ahead, but they were beaten by a strike from Gaffoor after a corner fell to him with twenty minutes to go, and although the goalscorer got himself sent off a minute later for a hard tackle on Kike García, the visitors held on for an important victory. (15.12.12)
Lugo moved away from the danger zone after a 3-2 victory against Real Madrid Castilla on Friday evening. Although Víctor Díaz picked up a De Coz pass to put the locals ahead in only the third minute, Juanfran set up Jesé to equalise five minutes later, and then scored a second himself after a corner came back out to him shortly before half time. Oscar Díaz made it all square again though from the penalty spot just four minutes later after Derik fouled the forward in the area, and on-loan Castilla striker Fran Sol came on to get the winner for the Galicians near the end. (14.12.12)