ANDREW VORCE - Thursday, January 27, 2011
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa won a vital game away at Wigan while Clint Dempsey and Jonathan Spector came up empty-handed after being in charge in a limited midweek slate of English action.
Wigan 1 - 2 Aston Villa
Brad Friedel came up big for Aston Villa as they continue to turn their season around after a midweek win over Wigan.
Friedel was called upon a few times, saving everything within his grasp. Villa got the opener just four minutes into the second half as they finally were able to get past Ali Al Habsi.
A wall in the first half, the Wigan keeper made a fine parry on a 49th minute Ashley Young header, deflecting the attempt away. Gabriel Agbonlahor was first to react to the loose ball and headed over the line from a yard out.
Young made it two goals in the 62nd minute after drawing a penalty kick when he was brought down in the box. The England international picked himself up and converted his penalty against Al Habsi who guessed wrong.
James McCarthy got a goal back for Wigan when his 80th minute shot took a huge deflection that turned around Friedel who watched the ball fly past him and into the net.
Wigan applied massive amounts of late pressure, forcing Friedel into a yellow card for time wasting. Carlos Cuellar and Jean Makoun were also booked for Villa, while Steve Gohouri and Maynor Figueroa were booked for Wigan.
Up next for Villa is a visit from Jermaine Jones' Blackburn Rovers on Saturday in the FA Cup. Eric Lichaj did not make the bench for the outing.
Liverpool 1 - 0 Fulham
Clint Dempsey played an unfortunate role in the downfall of Fulham away at Anfield.
Eddie Johnson did not make the bench for the Cottagers.
The game's lone goal came when John Pantsil shot himself in the foot in the 52nd minute. Dempsey gave possession away to Fernando Torres who's subsequent shot was turned onto the post by Brede Hangeland.
Pantsil made three attempts to clear the ball but never could get it properly and a slight touch from David Stockdale ended up forcing Pantsil's final attempt into his own net.
Only Pantsil was booked in the game as Fulham look to bounce back as Tottenham come to Craven Cottage on Sunday in the FA Cup.
Birmingham 3 - 1 West Ham
Jonathan Spector and West Ham crashed out of the Carling Cup after going 3-1 up on aggregate away to Birmingham.
Already leading 2-1 coming into the second leg, Carlton Cole put the Hammers 3-1 up and firmly in the lead with a 31st minute goal. Receiving the ball in space off of a throw in, the striker had time and space to hit his shot sweetly from more than 25 yards out which curled around the helpless Ben Foster.
On the hour mark, Birmingham got back into the game when the West Ham defense crumbled on a corner kick. The Hammers failed to clear their lines giving Lee Bowyer time and space to smash a rocket shot straight past Robert Green after 59 minutes.
Birmingham then evened things up with 11 minutes left to go when Roger Johnson arrowed his header home.
Extra time ensued and Craig Gardner left no room for error with his laser of a shot from outside of the 18 in the 94th minute. Deciding to go for it himself, Gardner let fly with a cannon that Green was able to get a hand to but the keeper was beaten by the sheer power of Garnder's strike.
Gardner and Barry Ferguson were booked for Birmingham while Green joined Cole, Keiron Dyer, and James Tomkins in the book. West Ham next host Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.