RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Ian Joyce made his first start of the season for Southend United while the Premier League reached its halfway point with Marcus Hahnemann and Wolves on the wrong end of things at Anfield.
Liverpool 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Marcus Hahnemann played the full ninety minutes as Wolves were reduced to ten men after a disputed sending off changed the course of the game. Stephen Ward was dismissed for a second yellow card in the 54th minute, the referee giving the second card originally to Christophe Berra before being surrounded by Liverpool players and changing his mind.
Liverpool took the lead in the 62nd minute with a header by Steven Gerrard. Emiliano Insua received the ball down the left, and crossed into the penalty box for the England midfielder to power in a header from six yards.
The clincher came in the 70th minute with a deflected goal from Yossi Benayoun. Insua put in a cross from the left, and when the ball arrived with the Israeli to the right of the goal, where he struck from twelve yards, the ball taking a wicked deflection off Karl Henry before looping over a helpless Hahnemann into the left corner of the net.
The visitors were unfortunate, and had several chances of their own, but move down to fifteenth in the standings. They can take many positives from the game, and will be confident as they host sixth ranked Manchester City on Monday evening.
Fulham 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Clint Dempsey went the distance as the Cottagers hosted London Rivals Spurs. Eddie Johnson watched from the stands.
The visitors can be grateful for a great goalkeeping display from Heurelho Gomes that kept them in the game. He was beaten on only one occasion when Dempsey beat him with a free-kick from thirty yards in the 33rd minute, but was fortunate that the crossbar prevented the goal.
Fulham remain ninth in the standings, and will stay in London as they travel to first ranked Chelsea on Monday.
Sunderland 1-1 Everton
Tim Howard was a ninety-minute man as Everton came from behind late in the game.
The Black-cats took the lead in the 17th minute with a header from Darren Bent, scoring his eleventh goal of the season. The forward started the move with a headed pass to his strike partner Kenwyne Jones out on the right, and when the cross came in it was inch-perfect, allowing the England man to score from eight yards into the bottom-right corner.
Everton pushed forward, and their efforts were rewarded with a Marouane Fellaini goal in the 85th minute. Tony Hibbert put in a cross from the right wing bye-line, and the ball was controlled by the Belgian before being lashed into the top left corner from seven yards.
Fourteenth ranked Everton will host thirteenth ranked neighbours Burnley on Monday.
Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa
Brad Friedel went the distance and Brad Guzan watched from the bench as Villa were taken apart late in the game after the introduction of Gunners substitute Cesc Fabregas.
The first goal came in the 65th minute, and was scored by Fabregas. The Spaniard was fouled by Richard Dunne twenty-three yards from goal, slightly left of the posts, and he took the free-kick himself, bending the ball over the defensive wall into the top-left corner of the net.
Fabregas scored again in the 85th minute from a Theo Walcott cross. Armand Traore won the ball deep in the Arsenal half, and hit a long diagonal pass to the winger who accelerated down the right before laying a pass inside for Fabregas to score from twelve yards into the bottom-right corner for his twelfth goal of the season.
In the 91st minute Abou Diaby scored to put the icing on the cake. He received the ball in midfield, and ran at the defense before shooting into the bottom right corner from twenty yards.
The Villans remain fourth in the standings, and will host seventh ranked Liverpool on Tuesday.
Hull City 1-3 Manchester United
Jozy Altidore started the game, but was substituted in the 83rd minute, as Hull failed to win for the fifth successive game.
Wayne Rooney scored the first goal in the waning moments of the first half when the Tigers failed to clear a right wing cross. Barren Fletcher crossed the ball in, and the England forward tapped in from two yards into the center of the goal for his twelfth of the season.
Rooney also had a part in the equalizing goal in the 60th minute, scored from the penalty spot by Craig Fagan. He attempted a weak back pass to red Devils goalie Tomasz Kuszczak, and as Altidore ran in to capitalize he was fouled by Rafael Da Silva, the resulting spot-kick being scored into the bottom-right corner.
United were back in front in the 73rd minute due to an own goal from Andy Dawson. Ryan Giggs put a ball into the area for Rooney, and he cut the ball back across goal from a tight angle, where the Hull defender, under pressure, put into his own net from two yards.
The Rooney show continued with a hand in the 82nd minute goal from Dimitar Berbatov. The England man moved on to a Nemanja Vidic header and ran into the left of the penalty area before laying a perfect pass to the Bulgarian at the far post, and he scored from a yard out into the bottom-right corner.
Hull are nineteenth in the standings, and will travel to eighteenth ranked Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday.
Watford 0-0 Nottingham Forest
Jay DeMerit played ninety minutes as the Hornets earned a deserved draw with high-flying Forest. The visitors have now gone fifteen games without defeat.
The hosts were denied a penalty in the 92nd minute when a Henri Lansbury shot appeared to be cleared off the goal-line by the arm of Nicky Shorey.
Thirteenth ranked Watford will visit twelfth ranked Bristol City on Monday.
Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Newcastle United
Frank Simek played all ninety minutes as the Owls held top of the standings Magpies in a thrilling encounter at Hillsborough Stadium. The home team have now gone ten league games without a win, but this result will fill them with confidence.
The hosts went ahead with a goal from Luke Varney in the 14th minute. The ball came in from the right to James O'Connor on the right edge of the area, and his cross was headed into the top-right corner from six yards out.
The visitors were level in the 19th minute with Kevin Nolan's fiftieth goal of his career. Danny Guthrie received the ball on the right-edge of the area, and crossed the ball for the ex-Bolton man to score his eleventh of the season with a header from twelve yards into the top-right corner.
The Geordies were then ahead with a Shola Ameobi goal in the 22nd minute, even though he was clearly two yards offside. Guthrie again was the provider with a pass from the left, which the forward took before chipping into the center of the goal from sixteen yards.
Wednesday equalized in controversial circumstances with an O' Connor goal in the 60th minute. A left wing cross was dipping towards visiting goalie Steve Harper, but Varney challenged, and appeared to foul, the keeper, and the ball fell at the feet of the midfielder who scored from two yards into the lower-middle of the goal.
Twenty-second ranked Sheffield will travel to 7th ranked Blackpool on Monday.
Southend United 1-2 Colchester United
Ian Joyce played his first ninety minutes of the season for the hosts after regular Keeper Steve Mildenhall pulled out late with a back injury.
Phil Ifill scored the opening goal for the visitors in the 46th minute of the game, with the second half just seconds old. Steve Gillespie floated a cross from the left edge of the area, and the defender met the ball with a header from twelve yard to the bottom-left of the net.
The U's were two up when Anthony Wordsworth scored with a twenty yard free-kick in the 57th minute. He took the free-kick from the front-edge of the "D" of the penalty area with his left foot, and guided it just inside the left post, leaving Joyce with no chance.
The hosts pulled a goal back in the 76th minute with a header by Lee Bernard. Simon Francis ran to the right front edge of the area before putting in a lovely flighted chip for the forward to head into the top-left corner from seven yards.
Southend are sixteenth in the rankings, and will visit twentieth ranked Leyton Orient on Monday.
Yeovil Town 4-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Jon-Paul Pittman started the game, but was substituted in the 74th minute as the Chairboys crashed to a heavy defeat. The real damage was done in a sixteen minute period of the second half when Town scored three goals.
The hosts scored in the 36th minute with a Kieran Murtagh goal after Wycombe failed to clear a left-wing corner. Two defenders had headers, the second of which went to the left edge of the area, where the midfielder struck the call into the bottom-left of the net from fifteen yards.
JP Kalala scored the second goal in the 71st minute after sloppy defending let the Chairboys down. Jon Obika was allowed to run into the left of the area, and crossed a slow bobbling pass right across the front of the goal for Kalala to get a tap-in from two yards into the bottom-center of the net.
The third goal was not long in coming, as Obika scored in the 73rd minute. Ryan Mason passed a simple ball between two defenders for the substitute to run on to, and he slid his shot under keeper Scott Shearer from twelve yards into the center of the goal.
Sam Williams completed the scoring in the 87th minute when surrounded by defenders. Andrew Welsh drove to the bye-line on the left edge of the area, before squaring the ball to the forward, who had a tap-in from two yards, directly in the center of the goal.
Wycombe played better than the scoreline suggests, and could have got something from the game but for late mistakes. They remain ranked twenty-third in the standings, and will need to get points when they host twenty-first ranked Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday.
Jonathan Spector was an unused substitute as West Ham gained a vital 2-0 win over relegation rivals Portsmouth.
Mike Grella was an unused substitute as Leeds United beat Hartlepool United 3-1.
The injured Zak Whitbread missed Millwall's 2-0 defeat at Norwich City.
Jemal Johnson watched from the stands as Milton Keynes Dons beat visiting Stockport County 4-1.
Eric Lichaj did not even make the bench as Lincoln City beat Chesterfield 2-1.
Seb Harris was on the bench as Northampton Town beat Dagenham and Redbridge 1-0.