Second Division A - Day 12

Although the first division programme takes a rest due to the international break, there was a full round of second division matches this weekend. Recreativo Huelva moved to the top of the table pending Sunday's games despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Albacete on Saturday evening, their goal difference marginally better than that of Xerez. The visitors played a defensive game, limiting their opponents to long shots from Gastón Casas and Uche before the break. And they took the lead soon after the restart, Buades heading in on the far post after Santamaría had knocked on Pacheco's corner. Marcelino brought on Cheli and Calle, and after Calle and Uche went close, Uche won his side a penalty after he was brought down by Santi in the area. The defender was sent off after picking up a second booking for protesting and Calle drove home the spot kick, but the locals were unable to take advantage of the extra man after that and had to settle for a point.

Hércules missed out on a chance to move up into the top three after they too could only draw 1-1 at home to Eibar. The Basque side had never lost in five previous visits to the Rico Pérez stadium, and they adapted better to the wet conditions with Asensio going close early on. The locals recovered quickly, with Kike Mateo trying his luck, but three minutes before half time Azkoitia got on the end of a free kick to head past Moso and put the visitors ahead. The keeper stopped Arriaga from making it two soon after the restart, but César had to clear off the line from Sergio Mora at the other end with Etxeberría beaten. With three minutes to go Sisi set up Mateo for him to level the scores, but Eibar had a chance to restore the lead when Sergio Fernández was sent off after giving away a penalty on Iñigo. However Moso guessed correctly and saved Azkoitia's spot kick to ensure that the points were shared.

In the third match on Saturday evening, Lleida climbed out of the relegation zone after beating Catalan rivals Gimnastic Tarragona 0-2. Bolo and Diego Reyes both wasted early chances as the locals started well, but Oscar Rubio put the visitors ahead in the twentieth minute with a spectacular shot from outside of the area. Lanzarote almost made it two before the break, but Merino and Ismael put Rangel to the test at the other early in the second half. However Lleida went further in front when substitute Santos picked up the ball on the edge of the area to beat Alvaro, and although Nàstic tried their best they could not find a way through a well ordered defence. (12.11.05)

Xerez returned to the top of the table after a 3-0 win over Lorca on Sunday evening. The Andalusian side had been overtaken by Recreativo the day before, but a second half hat-trick from Geijo restored their three point lead over their neighbours. After a dull first hour, the Hispano-Swiss striker headed home a cross from second half substitute Ismael to open the scoring. Two minutes later Geijo got his second of the night after turning the defence and running through to beat Jauregui, and with a quarter of an hour to go he got on the end of Ismael's cross to head past the keeper again and complete his hat-trick.

Valladolid move up into the promotion spots, two points behind Recreativo, after a 0-2 win over Ciudad Murcia in the last match of the weekend. Marcos Alonso's side dominated right from the start, and were even more on top when Amaya got himself sent off for a second bookable offence with just eighteen minutes on the clock. Capdevila opened the scoring ten minutes before the break after a defensive clearance fell to him, and then set up Aduríz three minutes after the restart for a second goal. Gibanel headed against the bar later in the second half, but other than that the home side didn't cause too many problems for Bizzarri.

Real Murcia are out of the top three though after they were beaten 2-0 by Málaga B, a result which takes the youngsters out of the relegation zone. Casuco's side were two down with only a quarter of the game gone, Gonzales-Vigil putting the locals in front with an acrobatic shot after a series of rebounds, and Pina making it two when he turned in a long ball from Diego Castro following a throw in. After that they sat back to defend, but could have increased the lead with the odd counter-attack in the second half, Usero in particular trying his luck with a long shot.

Murcia are overtaken in the table by Almería, who made it in to third spot for a couple of hours after beating Racing Ferrol 2-1 before Valladolid's match kicked off. There was little activity at either end before Soriano beat Bouchard with a shot from outside of the area on the stroke of half time. Francisco picked up a pass from Ortíz to extend the lead five minutes in to the second half, but Granon closed the gap to one goal a few minutes later after Carlos set him up. The result extends the home side's unbeaten run to five games, and leaves the Galicians down in the relegation zone.

Levante are level on points with Almería though after a 0-1 win over Numancia, who drop into the bottom four as a result. The Valencia based side took the lead midway through the first half when Riga collected a cross from Carmelo to beat Alvaro Nuñez. Moreno and Trashorras had gone close for the locals before that, but only a header from Azkorra caused any problems for Cavallero in the second half, and Congo and Camacho could have increased the lead for Mané's side later on.

Geijo wasn't the only player to score a hat-trick on a high scoring weekend in the second division. Sporting Gijón's Biagini was also on target three times to give his side a 1-3 win at Tenerife, a bad start for the Canary Islanders' new coach Antonio López who was named as replacement for Barrios midweek but who watched this game from the stands. Biagini put the Asturians ahead from the penalty spot in the twelfth minute after Almirón fouled Javi Fuego, and the locals were left with ten men when La Paglia got sent off for a second bookable offence just three minutes after the restart. The Argentine striker took advantage to score two more soon afterwards, the first after rounding keeper Bernardo and the second after picking up a pass from Juan. Maikel got one back with half an hour to go, and numbers were evened up when Sastre also picked up a second yellow card late on.

Roberto Soldado also helped himself to two goals as Real Madrid Castilla hammered promotion hopefuls Elche 4-0, taking his side away from the bottom four. The young striker returned from first team duty to open the scoring ten minutes before the break after Unanua could only push out an effort from Adrián Martín, and Jurado added a second with a spectacular shot before the half time whistle. The visitors started to come back until Benja was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Soldado and Adrián Martín added two more in the last quarter of an hour.

Bottom club Castellón came back from a goal down to beat fellow strugglers Poli Ejido 2-1, only their second win of the season. The visitors dominated the wet conditions early on, and they went in front with a Keko penalty after a mistake by keeper Raúl Jiménez early in the second half. Epitié equalised though just four minutes later, and substitute Marcos got the winner with a looping header ten minutes from the end to give Pepe Moré his first triumph. The visitors had keeper Kike sent off in injury time, and their manager Pepe Mel is almost certain to be out of a job this week. (13.11.05)