ANDREW VORCE - Sunday, April 25, 2010
Jozy Altidore was sent off for a headbutt in Hull's 1-0 loss to Sunderland ending his time in England early, while Jonathan Spector scored an own goal yet West Ham managed to pick up a vital victory at home to relegation rivals Wigan in a full slate of English action.
West Ham 3 - 2 Wigan
Jonathan Spector had a nightmare opening for West Ham after scoring an early own goal, but West Ham showed true character after fighting back to earn all three points.
Spector put Ben Watson's fourth minute corner into his own net as he miscued his header. The Hammers got back into it in the 31st as Ilan slotted home a Carlton Cole pull back. The turnaround was complete just before half time to give the Hammers the hope they needed. Chris Kirkland did wonders to stop Mark Noble's free kick, but Radoslav Kovac was on hand to nod home the rebound from close range.
West Ham conceded a second goal from another corner as Hugo Rodallega converted in the 52nd minute. Controversy swarmed as the Hammer players insisted the Wigan man used his hand to divert the ball in the goal, but Referee Alan Wiley waved away the pleas.
With 12 minutes left to play, Scott Parker was rewarded for his industry after picking up possession from Guillermo Franco. Wasting no time, the Hammer released an absolute rocket from 25 yards out that swirled on its way to the goal and past an outstretched Kirkland for the game winner.
Titus bramble and James McCarthy were booked for Wigan, while Spector picked up a card for West Ham. West Ham could ensure their Premier League status for next season with a win on Sunday against Fulham.
Wolverhampton 1 - 1 Blackburn
Marcus Hahnemann was beaten just once in the opening stages but Wolves were able to get one back to secure a point at home.
The American goalkeeper could have done better after a long floated corner went over the crowd and just over the gloves of the shot-stopper. Ryan Leson was on hand though to knee in at the back post with Hahnemann unable to react.
Stephen Ward set up Sylvan Ebanks-Blake for the equalizer nine minutes from time by sending in a delightful cross. The tiny front man jumped hight in the box and sent his header off the back post before going into the back of the net.
The goal ensures Wolves another season in the Premier League, while only Morten Gamst Pedersen was booked for Blackburn. Wolves will look for three points when traveling to Portsmouth next week.
Aston Villa 1 - 0 Birmingham
The battle of the Midlands was a keeper spectacle as American Brad Friedel proved he was still at the top of his game against his young English counterpart Joe Hart.
It took a controversial spot kick decision to separate the two squads as Roger Johnson was penalized for bringing down Gabriel Agbonlahor inside of the box after initially winning the ball. Controversy aside, James Milner made no mistake, sending his spot kick straight down the middle in the 83rd minute.
Carlos Cuellar was booked for Villa, while Stephen Carr, Barry Ferguson, Johnson, and Gregory Vignal were booked for Birmingham. Up next for Villa is a trip to Manchester City in a game that could decide fourth place.
Everton 2 - 1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey was a 90 minute starter against Tim Howard's Everton, but Fulham were undone at the death after coughing up a late penalty.
Everton shot themselves in the foot just before the break as Leighton Baines blindly attempted a pass back to Howard after being put under pressure. Erik Nevland was on hand to intercept the pass, and coolly slotted past the keeper for the opener in the 36th.
Slick play saw Everton earn a comeback goal just four minutes in, with Chris Smalling being attributed for an own goal. MIkel Arteta's cross in the box was headed goalward by Victor Anichebe and Mark Schwarzer was way too slow to react.
Chris Baird then gifted Everton the win when his attempted clearance caught Tim Cahill in the stomach and the referee awarded a penalty right at the death. Arteta stepped up to comfortably slot home the penalty kick, tacking all three points at home.
Only John Pantsil was booked, as Fulham next face Hamburg in the Semi-Final of the Europa League, while Everton face Stoke City away.
Hull 0 - 1 Sunderland
Jozy Altidore played in his last game in England this season as the striker was sent off in the first half for a head butt on Alan Hutton, who was also sent off.
It was all Sunderland from the opening minutes, and it only took Darren Bent seven minutes to find the back of the net. The entire Hull back line was caught ball watching, as a ball across the back found Bent unmarked for the simplest of tap ins from a tight angle to secure all three points.
Jimmy Bullard hit the post after Geovanni won a penalty kick for Hull, but Altidore and Hutton's challenges were the focal point after the match. The two got wrapped up after fighting for the ball on the touch line, and Hutton threw the ball at the back of Altidore's head. The young American reacted rashly, jumping up and getting in the face of Hutton before eventually head butting his opponent.
Geovanni joined Altidore in the book, Fraizer Campbell, Jordan Henderson, and David Meyler were booked for Sunderland. Hull's only chance at survival is a big win at Wigan.
Stockport 0 - 6 Huddersfield
Jemal Johnson was taken off in the 69th minute as Huddersfield went to town on Stockport who have lost all sense of purpose after being relegated.
The match had a horror start for Stockport, conceding just two minutes in. The former County man fired home after a Theo Robinson cut back, with a deflection from Sam Barnes wrong footing keeper Owain Fon Williams.
It was generally quiet for the first half after that, but seven minutes from half time Huddersfield struck again. Danny Drinkwater stripped David Perkins of possession with Robinson netting his own goal, slotting home after a tight turn to score his 15th of the season.
Pilkington continued to wreak havoc on his former team, tearing up the flank in the 68th minute. Robinson was unable to beat the post after getting onto the cross, but Jordan Rhodes smashed home the deflected shot from close range. With five minutes left, Drinkwater got his own curling in a 20 yard free kick.
Gary Roberts added the fifth in stoppage time, while more punishment was dished out when Lee Novak slotted home a penalty kick right at the death. Andy Halls and Perkins were booked for Stockport, who next face likewise relegated Southend.
Wycombe 2 - 2 Swindon
Jon-Paul Pittman went 55 minutes as the striker made way for a tactical substitution, but Wycombe twice let a one goal lead slip as they only picked up a point at home.
The opening stages were relatively quiet until Matt Bloomfield decided to take the game into his own hands on the stroke of half time. Collecting the ball in the middle of the park, Bloomfield went on a surging run up the field before drilling a low shot past David Lucas to give the Chairboys the advantage heading into the break.
Billy Paynter continued his hot streak for Swindon, who sit in fourth place and continue to push for a promotion spot. The striker hit the back of the net just three minutes into the second half, but Alex Revell cancelled out his equalizer in the 75th minute.
Kevin Betsy was taken down by Jon-Paul McGovern inside the box and Revell stepped up to take the penalty kick. Lucas parried the save, with the ball falling to Gareth Ainsworth. The captain quickly crossed the ball back into the mix, with Revell converting with a close range header.
The Chairboys could not hold on, and let their lead slip five minutes later to Alan Sheehan. The defender made a surging run forward, racing onto Scott Cuthbert's through ball before slotting past Tom Heaton.
Betsy, Revell, and Craig Woodman were booked for Wycombe, while Cuthbert, Mark Marshall, Paynter, and Sheehan were booked for Swindon. Wycombe need a win against Leyton Orient in order to keep their survival hopes alive.
Millwall 2 - 1 Leyton Orient
Eric Lichaj was a 90 minute man for Leyton Orient, who could not cope with the strength of Millwall in the third place team's quest for promotion.
Paul Robinson opened the scoring in the 69th minute after the Lions dominated the entire game. Orient failed to defend strong enough, and Robinson was allowed to fire home from close range after being loosely marked.
Orieint shot themselves in the foot with 10 minutes to play when Adam Chambers bundled Scott Barron in the box. Steve Morrison stepped up to net his 20th of the season from the spot. Ben Chorley scored a 90th minute eqalizer after a Jason Demetriou corner was not cleared, but it was too little too late.
Chambers, Sean Thornton, and Jimmy Smith were booked for Orient, who will looking to give themselves a cushion when they face Wycombe on Saturday.
Stuart Holden's Bolton were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Portsmouth.
Jay DeMerit's Watford ensured their place in the Championship next season after a 3-0 win over Reading, with the captain being sidelined through injury.
Frank Simek did not make the bench as Sheffield Wednesday lost 3-2 at Cardiff.
Devann Yao's Ipswich drew 2-2 with League Champion's Newcastle United.
Zak Whitbread did not suit up for Nowrich, who won 2-0 at Gillingham to win League One.
Mike Grella stayed on the bench in Leed's 4-1 win over Milton Keynes Dons.
Kenny Cooper's Plymouth were outclassed 3-0 by Nottingham Forest, with the striker not suiting up for the struggling club.
Seb Harris did not suit up for Northampton who won 2-0 at home to Shrewsbury.