JOHN KRETLOW - Sunday, April 24, 2011
Tim Howard was unable to deny his former club a victory, while in the Championship Robbie Findley made his European debut for Nottingham Forest.
Wolverhampton 1 - 1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey squandered his chance to earn Fulham a win as his club was forced to battle for a point at backup keeper Marcus Hahnemann's Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Dempsey was played cleanly into the six yard box from Carlos Salcido but the American player could only scuff his shot to let Wolves off the hook early on. Just minutes later Wolves got their goal through striker Steven Fletcher who left Mark Schwarzer helpless to save the opener.
Substitute Andy Johnson came off the bench to grab the equalizer as Bobby Zamora unsettled the Wolves back four. The ball into the box fell kindly to the front man who let rip straight through the hands of Wayne Hennessey. Fulham has other opportunities to win the game, but Moussa Dembele missed his chance while Gael Kakuta forced Hennessey into a fine save.
Jody Craddock and Richard Stearman were booked for Wolves while Chris Baird and Brede Hangeland were booked for Fulham. Up next for Wolves is a quick turn around as they travel to Stoke City on Tuesday while Fulham host Bolton on Wednesday.
Manchester United 1 - 0 Everton
Tim Howard did everything he could to keep Manchester United at bay but the home team eventually broke through late on.
Howard made countless saves including a phenomenal one handed save on the young Javier Hernandez off of a textbook header. Howard seemed to have every angle covered, saving shots from Wayne Rooney while Hernandez kept Luis Nani's first half shot out of the net after being hit by the ball while on the ground.
Howard was unable to handle everything as Hernandez got the 83rd minute game winner. Antonio Valencia provided the ball from the flank and the Mexican international provided a replay of his initial set up but this time his header was straight down at the near post.
Howard and Tim Cahill were both booked in their narrow defeat while Manchester United's Anderson was the only player booked for the home team. Everton will look to rebound as they travel to Wigan on Saturday.
Aston Villa 1 - 1 Stoke
Brad Friedel was forced to earn his paycheck as Aston Villa could only draw at home to Stoke City.
Friedel was forced to make two key saves early on in the game, namely a diving parry of Kenwyne Jones' quality header. Jones' would not be denied after 20 minutes when Rory Delap's long ball into the box paid dividends. The throw in was low and flat and Jones' header was inch perfect to the far corner, leaving Friedel completely routed to the ground.
Aston Villa got the crucial equalizer just two minutes before the break as Villa's leading goalscorer came up clutch at the pivotal time. Kyle Walker's dangerous ball from the right flank met the superb run of Bent who headed home from 17 yards away, leaving Asmir Begovic asking questions of himself and his back four.
Stoke had a chance to win it at the end as Ricardo Fuller fired past Friedel after he though he had beaten the back four, but the goal was ruled offside as the striker was easily a yard past the last defender.
Begovic was joined in the book by Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson, while no Villa players were booked in the outing.
Neither Brad Guzan nor Michael Bradley were named to the roster for Villa.
Villa next travel to West Brom on Saturday.
Chelsea 3 - 0 West Ham
Jonathan Spector earned a rare start in West Ham United's line up but the champions were at their top game at home.
The conditions were sloppy at best and it was give and take throughout the game. Chances at either end went begging with Spector nearly getting on the score sheet with Freddie Sears' cross calling for a diving header from the American but Petr Cech had his angles covered.
The first goal came just before the half time whistle as Didier Drogba linked up beautifully with Ashley Cole. The left back made a surging run forward and eventually was able to pick out Frank Lampard who burried his shot from just outside the six yard box to go into the break ahead.
Chelsea could have been two goals up after David Luiz' shot his the cross bar. Robbie Keane had back to back chances, with Spector feeding in the striker beautifully but the shot went wide of the target. Fernando Torres was subbed on for Didier Drogba and the Spanish striker was finally able to produce for his new club.
It was route one soccer as Cech lumped the goal kick as far as it could go, and Nikolas Anelka was able to feed the striker into the box. The ball held up in the drenched field, but Torres checked his run and was able to swivel quick enough to have a shot to score in the 84th minute. Torres added an assist late on as Florent Malouda laced his 90th minute shot into the upper corner for the final goal.
Branislav Ivanovic was the only Chelsea player booked while Demba Ba and Thomas Hitzlsperger were both booked for West Ham. Up next for the Hammers is an away trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
Norwich City 5 - 1 Ipswich Town
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City moved into second place in the Championship after their emphatic win over Ipswich Town.
Whitbread started and went the distance for the Canaries.
In the 13th minute, Norwich's Andrew Surman finished a ball that was spilled by Ipswich goalie Arran Lee-Barrett, and 11 minutes later doubled the lead when a David Fox corner kick was inadvertently knocked in Ipswich's own goal by Gareth McAuley.
Grant Holt then found Simeon Jackson who hit home in the 73rd minute for City before Jimmy Bullard gave Ipswich Town some hope when he struck from 25 yards five minutes later.
Just after the restart Russell Martin scored after an impressive counter attack, giving Norwich a 4-1 lead before Dani Pacheco put the icing on the cake for the Canaries, adding a fifth in injury time.
Fox, Whitbread, and Marc Tierney were booked for Norwich.
Next up for Norwich is a home contest against Derby County on Monday
Nottingham Forest 3 - 2 Leicester City
Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest were victorious against Leicester City in a crucial Championship battle.
Findley made his debut for Forest - Nottingham currently hold the last playoff spot by only goal differential over Leeds and Burnley - coming in to play the final ten minutes against City.
Marcus Tudgay opened the scoring for the hosts in the 15th minute with a powerful header, but just five minutes later, Matt Oakley leveled the score for Leicester from 25-yards out.
Robert Earnshaw then pounced on a rebound to give Forest the lead in the 73rd minute.
Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp could not handle a shot and Darius Vassell made him pay with City's game tying goal just one minute later.
In the 86th minute, Leicester goalie Chris Weale then let an easy Paul McKenna shot get by him, giving Forest the improbable and crucial three points.
Diomansy Kamara and Angel Miguel Vitor were booked for Leicester.
With three games left in the season, Findley and Nottingham travel to Bristol City on Monday.
Leeds United 0 - 0 Reading
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United tied Reading in an important clash between playoff hopefuls.
Lichaj started and went the distance for Leeds.
This tie snaps Reading's eight game winning streak but also puts Leeds out of a playoff spot by the slimmest of margins.
Leeds was dominant throughout, recording fifteen shots, ten of them on goal. They also mustered eight corner kicks, but United were unlucky to not find the back of the net.
Jake Livermore and Richard Naylor were booked for Leeds.
Crystal Palace host Leeds on Monday.
Preston North End 0 - 4 Millwall
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End emphatically went down to Millwall in a Championship battle.
Johnson started and went the distance for North End.
Preston's chances at safety were dealt a heavy blow with the loss, while Millwall keeps their playoff hopes alive with the big win.
Darren Purse put Millwall on the board in the 42nd minute with an impressive header before Josh McQuoid doubled the score only two minutes later, signaling a long afternoon for Preston.
John Marquis then scored from six yards out in the 54th minute to give Millwall the comfortable lead.
Millwall added another insurance goal in the 65th minute, when James Henry slotted home a penalty kick, giving the home team the decisive victory.
Alan Dunne received a yellow card for Millwall, while Johnson, Ian Ashbee, and Iain Turner were booked for Preston.
Johnson and Preston host the American's former club Cardiff City on Monday.
Rochdale 2 - 3 Carlisle United
Frank Simek and Carlisle United beat Rochdale in League One play.
Simek started and went the distance for the Cumbrians.
Marcus Holness inadvertently deflected a ball into his own net, giving Carlisle the opening goal of the game in the 25th minute before Joe Thompson then tied the game for Rochdale five minutes later with a header past goalkeeper Adam Collin.
Matt Done then put Rochdale in the lead when he connected off of a freekick from Thompson in the 49th minute, but eleven minutes later Liam Noble scored off an impressive 30-yard bomb to level the game for Carlisle.
Matty Robson then scored the game winner for the Cumbrians in the 65th minute on a freekick.
Thompson was the only player booked for Rochdale.
Simek and Carlisle host Leyton Orient on Monday.
Plymouth Argyle 1 - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth Argyle took down Dagenham & Redbridge in Championship action.
Peterlin started and was subbed off in the dying minutes of the game for the Pilgrims.
Rory Patterson scored the only goal of the game for Plymouth in the 48th minute with an impressive low freekick.
The win keeps the Pilgrims safety hopes alive, though they are still five points from getting out of the relegation zone.
Patterson and Yannick Bolasie were booked for Plymouth.
Stuart Holden's Bolton earned a shock result over Arsenal, winning 2-1 at home.
Jermaine Jones' Blackburn takes on Manchester City on Monday.
Jon-Paul Pittman did not feature in Wycombe's tie against Torquay.