ANDREW VORCE - Monday, May 10, 2010
Stuart Holden was back on the field for Bolton who sealed a final day win, as Tim Howard's Everton produced a last gasp finish against Portsmouth in the closing day of English action.
Aston Villa 0 - 1 Blackburn
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa were beaten at home by Blackburn on the final day, but still secured sixth place due to Liverpool's goalless draw at Hull City.
A Liverpool win at Hull City would have seen the American's team drop to seventh, but the Merseyside giants were held goalless at KC Stadium.
While a similar scoreline would have been more indicative of the game at Villa Park, Blackburn were were gifted the win thanks to a defensive blunder by their gracious hosts.
Richard Dunne was the culprit for Villa's downfall as his miscued defensive header sent Jonas Olsson's cross into his own net for the game's only goal with six minutes remaining in regulation.
The game was an otherwise largely uneventful contest, with David Dunn the only booking for Rovers, and Dunne and Ashley Young drawing yellow for Villa.
Wolverhampton 2 - 1 Sunderland
Marcus Hahnemann was in goal as Wolves fought back to win at home on the final day, with two Sunderland players being shown their marching orders in the final minutes.
Kenwyne Jones beat Hahnemann after only eight minutes played when his shot took a major deflection off of Jody Craddock to give the Black Cats an early lead.
It only took Wolves only two minutes to find the equalizer however, as Alan Hutton took down Matt Jarvis in Sunderland's penalty area, with Kevin Doyle stepping up to convert the equalizing penalty.
In need of something special to sneak a win, on-loan midfielder Odlene Guedioura stepped up to produce a wonder shot in the 78th minute. From 20 yards out, Guedioura sent in a thundering blast that left Craig Gordon clutching at straws and gave Wolves the full three points.
Michael Turner and Jack Colback picked up their second bookings not long after, as Sunderland were reduced to nine men for the final minutes. Wolverhampton's Jarvis was the only other player booked in the encounter.
Arsenal 4 - 0 Fulham
Arsenal finally put in the performance they had needed so desperately over the final weeks of the season, however it came at the expensive of Clint Dempsey's Fulham who have an eye on next weeks Europa League Final.
Arsenal needed the win to lock up third place in the Premier League, and three first half goals ensured that.
An error by the usually-stalwart Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer gifted Arsenal the opening goal in the 21st minute, when he lost control of a back-pass from Chris Baird, which Andrei Arshavin scooped up, dribbed around the stunned keeper and sent into goal for 1-0.
Robin Van Persie made it 2-0 five minutes later after blasting in a rebound from his own shot, then Emmanuel Eboue was the catalyst for Arsenal's third goal, flicking the ball goal-ward in the direction the lurking Van Persie but seeing it knocked into the Fulham net by Cottagers defender Chris Baird for an own goal in the 37th.
Dempsey was shown yellow in the 66th minute after protesting too much for the referee's liking after he felt he had been pulled down by Sol Campbell for a penalty, and was pulled out of the game by Hodgson to rest up for Wednesday's Europa Cup final one minute later.
The Gunners then added a fourth in the waning minutes, with Mexican international Carlos Vela chipping the ball over Schwarzer in the 84th minute after being sent through by Samir Nasri.
The Cottagers finish the season in 12th place, but still have one last hurdle to clear in the form of the Europa League final on Wednesday against Atletico Madrid.
Everton 1 - 0 Portsmouth
Tim Howard did his defensive duties as Everton scored at the death to earn all there points against Portsmouth.
Controversy surrounded the match after Anthony Vanden Borre had a goal disallowed for being in an offside position which left Pompey fans fuming, but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov left no room for error after sealing all three points with a wonder strike.
Bilyaletdinov shot on the turn with his first touch, smashing into the upper corner with a perfectly-placed blast. No players were booked, as the win secured an eighth-place finish, two points behind hated rivals Liverpool for the final Europa League spot.
Bolton 2 - 1 Birmingham
Stuart Holden made his return to Bolton on the final day of the season in the team's home win over Birmingham, which should all but assure his place in the upcoming training camp for the World Cup.
Holden made his return to competitive action in the 66th minute after Wanderers were already two goals up.
The game was a fierce encounter, and Kevin Davies opened the scoring three minutes past the half-hour mark after nodding home a Paul Robinson free kick.
Birmingham saw what they thought was the equalizing goal disallowed as James McFadden was penalized for a hand ball on the play.
Vladamir Weiss put on a show, and eventually found Ivan Klasnic who hammered home from close range on the hour mark to put Bolton up by two. Shortly after entering the game, Holden had a shot go narrowly wide just ten minutes later.
McFadden brought one back after Christian Benitez's penalty was initially stopped by Jussi Jaaskelainen, only for the Scottish international to put away the rebound.
Klasnic and Gretar Ran Steinsson were booked or Bolton, while Lee Bowyer, Roger Johnson, Sebastian Larsson, McFadden, and Liam Ridgewell were all booked for Birmingham.
Colchester 1 - 0 Leyton Orient
Eric Lichaj did his best to try to secure a point for Leyton Orient on the final day, but the team was undone at the death after a late hand ball saw Luke Ashworth sent off.
Lichaj made his presence known on the attacking end as his shot was stopped by Ben Williams in the 62nd minute.
One minute into injury time, Ashworth handled Kem Izzet's goal bound shot on the line. Ashworth was sent off and Kevin Lisbie stepped up to bury the penalty.
Lisbie was booked for Colchester, while Adam Chambers joined Ashworth in the book.
Wycombe 3 - 0 Gillingham
Jon-Paul Pittman was a 90-minute man as already relegated Wycombe hit Gillingham for three to condemn their visitors to the same fate.
Pittman had a goal disallowed for offside midway through the second half, but Matt Phillips had already opened the scoring just before the break. On a solo run, he cut in from the right flank and curled in a shot inside the far bar from outside the 18-yard box and past Alan Julian.
Gillingham wasted their chances, and Alan Bennett sealed the deal in the 64th minute. Against the run of play, the Chairboys won a corner, and Bennett nodded home their second of the evening.
Kevin Petsy added a third in the 72nd minute after his shot took a major deflection off of defender Mark Bentley and around Julian at his near post.
Josh Gowling, Rene Howe, Adam Miller, and Jack Payne were booked for Gillingham, while only John Mousinho was booked for Wycombe on the final day.
Jonathan Spector was relegated to the bench in West Ham's final day date with Manchester City, which ended 1-1.
Jozy Altidore's Hull drew 0-0 at home to Liverpool, however the American is already stateside preparing for the World Cup camp thanks to a red card suspension.
Mike Grella stayed on the bench for Leeds United who were directly promoted after a 3-1 win to Bristol Rovers, avoiding a possible third straight playoff letdown.
Zak Whitbread did not make the bench in Norwich City's 2-0 loss at home to Carlisle United.
Stockport's nightmare came to an end as Tranmere was their last opponent in League One, falling 3-0 at home with Jemal Johnson coming off the bench.
Seb Harris was on the bench as Northampton drew 1-1 against 10 man Bury.