CHAD WINGER - Monday, September 12, 2011
Brad Friedel and Spurs earned their first victory of the campaign while Jonathan Spector's Birmingham blasted Millwall in English play this weekend.
Everton 2 - 2 Aston Villa
Everton let a late lead and two points slip away at home when Gabriel Agbonlahor beat Tim Howard in an otherwise dominating Toffees performance.
The team from Goodison Park, after a turbulent summer which saw numerous star players depart, took a 19th minute lead after Tim Cahill pulled the ball back for Leon Osman to slot past the Irishman Given for the opener.
Moments after the half Barry Bannan clocked Leighton Baines for what looked like a sure penalty, but referee Michael Oliver was unmoved by the incredulous pleas from the hosts and waved play on.
Villa took advantage of the gift in the 63rd when Stilian Petrov blasted a ferocious bomb from over 30 yards to tie the game, but six minutes later, Baines scored from the spot after Fabian Delph fouled Phil Jagielka, perhaps a make-up call for the earlier dispute.
Everton, who controlled the match and had numerous scoring opportunity - including second-half shots by Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell which required sprawling Given saves - will have no one to blame but themselves for allowing Agbonlahorto sneak in to the back post and nod home a cross from Marc Albrighton with only seven minutes left.
Howard started and went the distance while Brad Guzan remained rooted to the Villa bench as Given's understudy. Eric Lichaj is out until the New Year with a hip injury.
Following the draw, Howard and the Toffees sit in 10th with four points while Villa and their American duo sit two spots higher with eight.
Everton host Wigan on Saturday while Newcastle pay a visit to Villa Park on the same day.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Brad Friedel and Spurs got off the schneid, dropping Wolverhampton on the road for their first victory of the season.
Friedel was to thank in the early going for keeping Tottenham level when he denied a fourth minute strike from Stephen Hunt before pulling off a fantastic parry ten minutes later to deny Karl Henry from scoring his first goal since 2008.
His counterpart Wayne Hennessey was the American's equal, though, slapping a Jermaine Defoe dropper past the post then saving Roger Johnson from being credited with an own goal after the former Cardiff City man flubbed a touch inside his box.
Midway through the second 45, Spurs finally got on the board when newly arrived Emmanuel Adebayor latched on to a Scott Parker thread and rounded Hennessey for the simple finish.
Defoe put the finishing touches on the win in the 80th when he completed a scintillating give-and-go with Niko Kranjca and rifled into the corner.
Friedel, who started his record 279th consecutive Premier League contest, notched six saves for the shutout as Spurs hopped all the way up to 14th in the standings.
Next up for Tottenham is a long road trip to face PAOK Saloniki on Thursday in the Europa League in Greece before returning home to host Liverpool on Sunday.
Fulham 1 - 1 Blackburn Rovers
Clint Dempsey had a sure-goal saved by Paul Robinson in injury time as Fulham we unable to find a late winner versus Blackburn at Craven Cottage.
The opening half hour of the contest was mainly a one-sided affair for the hosts, but the closest Fulham came to an opener was after Bobby Zamora stole a lazy Scott Dann back pass. Zamora was brought down by Michel Salgado, but referee Howard Webb said play on much to the Cottagers' chagrin.
With Fulham still smarting from the non-call, Spain's Ruben Rochina put the visitors ahead just after the half hour mark when he put a square from Junior Hoilett into the top corner.
Rovers did not hold the lead long, however, and just six minutes later Danny Murphy threaded a relatively simple pass for Zamora who brushed off a weak Gael Givet tackle to cut in and slot home.
In the 73rd, Dempsey played Murphy a stellar through-ball which brought out the best of Robinson to swat away, but the one-time England keeper one-upped himself in injury time by denying a Dempsey blast.
With the draw, Fulham drop into relegation position at 18th, and the task gets no easier in the next week when they host FC Twente on Thursday in Europa League play before Manchester City and their perfect record come to town on Sunday.
Birmingham City 3 - 0 Millwall
Jonathan Spector went the distance as the Blues jumped up to 12th in the standings by annihilating Millwall thanks to a Chris Wood hat trick.
Despite the eventual lopsided score, Millwall had the best of the first 20 minutes and nearly went in front when Liam Feeney clanged a drive off the post from around 20 yards.
It was all downhill from there, though, as Kiwi Wood scored for first of his three goals in the 29th when he converted a close-range cross from Jean Beausejour.
Adam Rooney provided the 62nd minute assist for Wood for shot home from the corner of the area, two minutes before making way for convict Marlon King.
Wood completed his hat trick in the 90th minute, heading home a Chris Burke pass.
Spector, who went the distance as a defensive midfielder, had little moments of note.
Birmingham host SC Braga on Thursday in continental competition, before returning to second flight action next weekend when they battle the Saints in Southampton.
Hamstrung Zak Whitbread failed to make the Norwich City bench when they fell 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion.
Stuart Holden will have to wait to get his revenge on Manchester United who continued to make a mockery of competition in the Premiership with a 5-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Reebok Stadium.
Cody Cropper was not named to the Ipswich Town bench as the Tractor Boys capitulated 2-0 to Blackpool.
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert scored a hat trick over a Robbie Findley-less Nottingham Forest to lead the Saints to a 3-2 win.
Conor Doyle remains injured and was not named to the Derby County roster who fell to Coventry City 2-0.
Frank Simek is still over a month away from returning for Carlisle United who lost 2-1 to Hartlepool United.
Neither Mike Grella nor Anton Peterlin got off the bench when Walsall fell to Notts County 2-1 and Brentford defeated Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 respectively.
Southend United's Jemal Johnson did not make the bench when The Shrimpers lost 2-0 to Swindon Town.
John-Paul Pittman played out the final 14 minutes when Oxford United tied Burton Albion at home 2-2.