RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Everton's Champions League dreams ended, while Jonathan Spector and Birmingham escaped relegation from the Championship with a late goal against Tim Ream and Bolton.
Aston Villa 3 - 1 Hull City
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa secured safety and another season in the Premier League with a win over Hull.
Guzan went the distance at goalkeeper for Villa as he has done all season long.
Villa wasted little time showing how much this match meant to the team, as the Villans found the back of the net just 54 seconds in the match. Gabriel Agbonlahor burnt his defender along the left wing and centered the ball to Ashley Westwood, who fired his shot into the low right corner of the net.
Hull managed to find an equalizer in the 28th minute. Off a free kick, the Tigers elected to go short, and Liam Rosenior dribbled deep inside the 18-yard box before crossing the ball across the face of the net, where Villa's Jordan Bowery deflected the cross into his own goal.
Villa retook the lead in the 41st minute off a corner. Nathan Baker had two headers blocked - the first by Hull defender Nikica Jelavic and the second by goalkeeper Steve Harper - but Andreas Weimann wasn't to be denied, heading the second rebound into the left side of the net.
In the third minute of first-half stoppage time, Weimann added another headed goal to give Villa a two-goal lead. Bowery managed to get by his man on the left wing and powered a cross to Weimann in the middle of the box, and Weimann place a header into the right side of the net.
With the win, Aston Villa has 38 points, and following Norwich's tie on Sunday, the team could celebrate safety with one match to spare. The Villans square off with Manchester City on Wednesday before finishing off their season at Tottenham next Sunday.
Stoke City 4 - 1 FC Fulham
Jumping out to a three-goal lead, Geoff Cameron and Stoke sealed Fulham's relegation fate with a win on Saturday.
Cameron played the 90 minutes for Stoke, which has inched closer to its best-ever finish in the Premier League with its 12 win of the season.
Tight for much of the first half, Stoke broke the stalemate in the 39th minute. A Fulham defender blocked a Stephen Ireland shot, but Stoke's Peter Odemwingie pounced on the ball right in front of the line and tapped it into the net.
On the other side of the halftime break, the Potters buried the Cottagers, starting in the 54th minute. Oussama Assaidi used a through pass from the halfway line to put Odemwingie behind the defense, and Odemwingie squared to Marko Arnautovic, who launched his 15-yard shot into the top netting.
The Potters put the match to bed in the 73rd minute when Steven N'Zonzi put Arnautovic on a counter, and Arnautovic laid off a pass to Assaidi for an easy goal.
Fulham managed to pull one back in the 80th minute as Kieran Richardson scored while unmarked in the box, but Jonathan Walters sprung loose off a Charlie Adam pass and sealed the Cottagers' fate.
With the win, Stoke kept pace with ninth-place Newcastle, trailing by just two points, and the Potters will finish off the season at West Bromwich next Sunday.
FC Everton 2 - 3 Manchester City
Tim Howard and Everton let their Champions League dream slip away with a home loss to Manchester City on Saturday.
Howard manned the sticks for the Toffees, who trailed Arsenal by four points going into the weekend with just two matches remaining. They needed a positive result to stay in the running for fourth place.
Early in the match, it seemed like Everton could get the result it needed. In the 11th minute, Leighton Baines crossed to the top of the 18-yard box to Steven Naismith, who passed it back to the left for Ross Barkley. Barkley placed his shot into the upper opposite corner of the net to give the Toffees the lead.
While Everton had a chance to double its lead not too long afterward, it was City that scored next. In the 22nd minute, Sergio Aguero picked up a Yaya Toure pass, dribbled into the box and beat Howard to the right post.
Manchester City's Edin Dzeko scored a goal on either side of halftime to give the Citizens a two-goal lead. The first came in the 43rd minute, launching himself into the air to meet a James Milner cross and head the ball past a diving Howard, and the second came in the 48th minute, with Samir Nasiri passing to a wide-open Dzeko and the Bosnian tapping the ball into the net.
Everton made things interesting down the stretch when Romelu Lukaku scored in the 65th minute. The Belgian left his marker and headed home a cross from Baines to pull one back, but the Toffees couldn't find an equalizer over the final 25 minutes plus six minutes of stoppage time.
The Toffees finish off the season next Sunday at Hull.
Bolton Wanderers 2 - 2 Birmingham City
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham scored a goal in second-half stoppage time against Tim Ream and Bolton to rescue themselves from relegation to League One on Saturday.
Spector went the distance for Birmingham, while fellow American Will Packwood was unavailable for selection. Ream started and played the entire match for Bolton, which finished the season in 14th place.
Birmingham's survival chances looked bleak with less than 15 minutes to go before second-half stoppage time. Following a goalless opening 45 minutes, Bolton scored two goals in a 19-minute span, starting in the 57th minute. Off a free kick, David Wheater got the ball to Lee Chung-yong, who scored from a tight angle. Then, in the 76th minute, Lukas Jutkiewicz doubled the Trotters' lead by beating Birmingham goalkeeper Darren Randolph to the near post.
Although the match wasn't going its way, Birmingham received good news when they learned Doncaster was trailing its match, meaning if the Blues could find a way to turnaround their match.
They started the comeback just two minutes after Jutkiewicz's goal. Mitch Hancock sent in a cross to Nikola Zigic, who headed the ball into the back of the net.
That goal energized the Blues, and they continued to push for an equalizer. It took until the third minute of stoppage time, but they finally managed to get the goal they needed. Ream cleared a Zigic header off the line, but the rebound went to Paul Caddis, who headed the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Birmingham held on for the tie, and combined with a Doncaster loss to Leicester, the Blues avoided relegation on goal difference. The team finished the season in 21st place with 44 points.
Ipswich Town 2 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday
Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday ended the season with a three-match losing streak, capped off by a loss at Ipswich Town.
Onyewu picked a yellow card in his 90 minutes of action for the Owls, who finished the season in 16th place.
Although Wednesday created more chances and had more shots on goal, Ipswich was the first to find the back of the net in the 36th minute. Wednesday goalkeeper Damian Martinez couldn't hold onto a Daryl Murphy shot, and Tommy Smith tapped the rebound into the back of the net.
The Tractor Boys took that lead into the break and held until the 55th minute, when Wednesday created an equalizer. The Owls' Caolan Lavery fanned on a shot, only for teammate Kieran Lee to blast the ball into the back of the net from close range.
In the 67th minute, Paul Green sealed the win for Ipswich, meeting a Stephen Hunt cross following a free kick and heading it into the low left corner of the net.
Despite multiple attempts on net in the closing minutes, Sheffield Wednesday couldn't claw back once again, and the Owls were forced to end the season with a loss.
Leeds United 1 - 1 Derby County
Zak Whitbread played for the first time in five-and-a-half months in Derby County's 1-1 tie with Leeds on Saturday.
Whitbread went the distance and recorded a yellow card in his first match action since a 3-2 win over Watford on Oct. 19.
Having scored the most goals in the Championship during the season, Derby jumped out to an early lead. In the sixth minute, Simon Dawkins used his left foot to score from close range.
The Rams took that lead into the break, but Leeds answered quickly after the restart. In the 50th minute, Danny Pugh and Ross McCormack combined to put Matt Smith alone on net, and Smith lobbed a shot over Derby goalkeeper Lee Grant to equalize.
Although both teams had multiple chances to find a match-winning goal, it ended in a tie. Derby County finished the season in third place with a club-record 85 points and will face off with Brighton in the promotion playoffs on Thursday.
Brad Friedel was on the bench for Tottenham's 2-0 loss at West Ham on Saturday.
Jozy Altidore played the final 25 minutes in Sunderland's 1-0 win at Manchester United on Saturday.
Eric Lichaj wasn't available for Nottingham Forest's 2-1 loss to Brighton at home.
Danny Williams missed Reading's 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, ending the Royals' season after failing to qualify for the promotion playoffs.
Duane Holmes dressed but didn't come off the bench in Huddersfield Town's 4-1 win at Watford.