ANDREW VORCE - Monday, November 29, 2010
Clint Dempsey was the only happy Yank in the Premier League as he scored to get Fulham a share of the spoils while Brad Friedel and Tim Howard let in eight goals between them in lopsided losses.
Fulham 1- 1 Birmingham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham fought back from being a goal down to equalize at home to earn a draw at Craven Cottage.
Birmingham got off on the front foot after Alexander Hleb's menacing run in the 20th minute. Skipping past the defenders in his way, the on-loan Barcelona man picked his head up to find Sebastian Larsson unmarked on the back side. The front man had enough time to take a touch to steady himself, and his finish was inch perfect past Mark Schwarzer.
Dempsey created the corner that resulted in his goal while Birmingham boss Alex McLeish contested the validity of the call, stating that the ball never went fully out of bounds. Fulham didn't wait while taking their corner, and Dempsey powered past his markers and headed his goal home in the 53rd.
American compatriot Eddie Johnson had a similar chance to Larsson's, but Ben Foster was equal to the challenge, putting the ball wide after making the kick save.
Dempsey was the only player booked in the game as Fulham next face Arsenal at home in the first game in December.
Aston Villa 2 - 4 Arsenal
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa were overpowered by Arsenal as Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj watched from the bench.
Friedel kept the scoreline more flattering to Aston Villa rather than Arsenal after making multiple key saves. Major questions will be asked of Aston Villa as they continue to slump under Gerard Houllier.
Arsenal started quickly but it took them until the 39th minute to find the opener due to Friedel's heroics. Slick passing wasn't getting Arsenal past Friedel, so Andrey Arshavin decided to go it alone and blasted a shot at the American shot stopper. Having already beat a defender, Arshavin's shot was too strong as Friedel could only palm it into his own net.
Moments later Friedel forced Samir Nasri to miss by taking away his angle as the Villa defense failed to do anything about his run. In the 45th minute however, Nasri did get his goal.
There was one final corner kick in the first half, and Nasri was camped out alone on the top of the 18. The corner kick fell invitingly, and wasting no time Nasri smacked his first time volley that caught Friedel at his near post.
Aston Villa debutant Ciaran Clark had a moment of inspiration to put Villa back in the match. Having been at the club since he was 11, the defender showed his teammates how it's really done in the 52nd minute. Arsenal failed to clear their lines as the headed ball fell right to the chest of Clark. Taking a moment to trap the ball, Clark let loose with a cannon of a volley that whizzed past Lukasz Fabianski.
The game was once again put out of reach as Marouane Chamakh got a goal to his name just four minutes later. Tomas Rosicky did well to hold off his defenders and slotted Chamakh through into the 18. Having out-sprinted his defenders, the midfielder forced Friedel to come off his line which gave him the opportunity to fire home his goal.
Clark got his second on the night after losing his marker after Villa won a corner kick. Ashley Young picked out Richard Dunne on the edge of the area, and his header back into the mix found Clark who headed it off the underside of the bar and into the back of Arsenal's net.
Arsenal were not to be denied however, as slick play ended at the feet of Chamakh, who unselfishly played his ball over the top of Friedel to the unmarked Jack Wilshere who sealed all three points.
Clark and Chamakh were the only two players booked for either team. Villa next face Birmingham in the Carling Cup Quarterfinals.
Everton 1- 4 West Brom
Tim Howard could do nothing but watch the balls fly into the back of his net as Everton were picked apart by West Brom at home.
West Brom took it to the Toffees and got the opening goal just 16 minutes in. Howard could only get a hand to Paul Scharner's header as the big defender powered home from close range. It was all downhill from there as Chris Brunt scored an absolute beauty of a free kick, curling in an inch perfect shot that left Howard helpless in the 26th.
Everton came back in typical fashion as Tim Cahill scored another trademark header. Virtually unmarked inside of the 18 on a corner kick, the Australian hit man rose above the rest to arrow home his header past Scott Carson into his back post just before the break.
The halftime team talk from David Moyes was thrown out of the window when Mikel Arteta was shown straight red in the 58th for stamping on Gonzalo Jara after his slide tackle on the Spaniard.
Second half substitute Somen Tchoyi toyed around with the Everton back line who failed to put a challenge on the midfielder. Given his time, Tchoyi lined up his shot and curled it up and over Howard who had no chance at all to save the 72nd minute shot.
The game was put to bed when Youssouf Mulumbu chipped over Howard in the 87th minute. Mulumbu played a clever one-two with James Morrison which forced Howard off his line, and the midfielder's shot sailed over Howard, off of Sylvan Distin and into his own goal for the unfortunate own goal.
The midfielder was booked in his celebration, and picked up a second booking in the 89th minute for a soft challenge on Jermaine Beckford, seeing both squads finish with 10 men.
Beckford was booked for Everton, while Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans were both booked for West Brom. Up next for Everton is an away clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Carlisle United 3 - 2 Tamworth
Frank Simek and Carlisle United left it to the final minutes to finally beat Blue Square Bet Premier League minnows Tamworth.
Simek started the game and went the full ninety in the Cumbrians' FA Cup win. American Mike Grella did not feature.
Tom Marshall struck first in the 30th minute for Tamworth after heading home a Stefan Oakes free kick.
In the 50th minute, Carlisle was able to even the score after Gary Madine scored from close range after a James Berrett shot rebounded off the post.
The 75th minute saw a Danny Thomas free kick find the back of the net, giving Tamworth a 2-1 lead.
The Cumbrians evened the score in the 86th minute when Francois Zoko scored when a James Chester header came to him in front of goal.
Tamworth's dreams were then crushed when Chester headed home the game-winner in the 90th minute, giving the Cumbrians the FA Cup win.
Daniel Bradley and Jay Smith were booked for Tamworth, while Carlisle escaped without any player getting booked.
Marcus Hahnemann was dropped to the bench as Wolves clawed their way to victory, a 3-2 home win over Sunderland.
Jonathan Spector didn't make the bench as West Ham won 3-1 at home to Wigan.
Stuart Holden missed out on Bolton's dramatic 2-2 home draw against Blackpool due to a thigh injury.
Conor Doyle did not leave the bench as Derby County lost to Burnley in Championship action.