RECAP: MIDWEEK ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Everton picked up a vital three points while Brad Friedel and Aston Villa were undone by Fernando Torres in an injury time defeat to Liverpool.
Chelsea 2 - 1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey watched in horror as 20 year old Chris Smalling rebounded a Mark Schwarzer save into his own net handing Chelsea the three points.
Fulham started the match flying high, hitting the game opener at Stamford Bridge just four minutes into the affair. Paul Konchesky was given room down the left wing to whip in a dangerous cross, which ended at the feet of Zoltan Gera. The striker took his first touch away from goal, before acrobatically finishing on the half volley with his back to goal.
Bobby Zamora should have made it 2-0 before half time, squandering a one-on-one with Petr Cech, putting his shot straight into the keeper.
Didier Drogba put Chelsea back into the match in the 73rd. Branislav Ivanovic picked out the Ivorian striker at the far post, who lost Chris Baird before heading across Marc Schwarzer to level matters up.
Fulham used last ditch defending for most of the match, absorbing everything Chelsea threw at them for 70 minutes. In the 75th minute all of that was undone as the Cottagers fell asleep at the back.
Salomon Kalou was allowed to pass the ball across the six yard box uncontested, and Daniel Sturridge forced a reaction save from Schwarzer after his tight angled cross. The parried clearance bounced off of Smalling's thigh and the defender slipped as he tried to clear the ball, hitting it into the side netting.
Drogba and Baird were the only players booked in the exiting West London affair, as Fulham occupy ninth. Up next, is Swindon next Saturday in the FA Cup third round.
Everton 2 - 0 Burnley
Tim Howard and Everton scored two late goals to overcome 10 man Burnley at Goodison Park.
Stephen Jordan picked up two yellows, receiving his marching orders after blatantly shirt pulling, forcing Owen Coyle's men to play down for the final 28 minutes.
David Moyes turned to the recently recovered James Vaughan in the 81st minute to provide some attacking impetus, and was rewarded with the striker's first touch of the ball. Marouane Fellaini sent in a cross from the left that Aiyegbeni Yakubu was unable to reach, but Vaughan was on hand to poke it home in the back in the 82nd.
In the 92nd minute, Yakubu was given his time to shine. Showing great strength and vision, the striker held off a challenge before making a 20 yard penetrating run, eventually setting Steven Pienaar up for a sweet left-footed shot past Brian Jensen.
Pienaar was shown a yellow for taking off his shirt after scoring, while Burnley were shown a list of cards. Andre Bikey, Michael Duff, Wade Elliott, and Tyrone Mears joined Jordan in the referees book. Up next for Everton is a visit from Carlisle in the FA Cup.
Wolverhampton 0 - 3 Manchester City
Marcus Hahnemann was beaten three times in front of his home fans, and earned a yellow card for dissent.
Craig Bellamy was a constant threat for the Citizens, and set Carlos Tevez up for the first of the night just after half an hour played. Bellamy used his speed to break into the area, squaring to Tevez whose shot was deflected off of Christophe Berra and past Hahnemann.
Wolves built pressure but lacked any killer instinct, and gave up a free kick in a dangerous area on the edge of the box. Javier Garrido took the free kick, bending it around the wall and into the lower corner in the 69th.
Tevez got his second of the night with three minutes remaining, with second half substitute Robinho teeing up the Argentine striker. Tevez has only failed to score in one December match, hitting eight goals in seven games.
Kevin Foley and Michael Mancienne were booked for Wolves, while Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta were booked for City. Up next for Hahnemann and company, a trip to Tranmere in the FA Cup.
Aston Villa 0 - 1 Liverpool
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa showed a lack of concentration as Fernando Torres' 94th minute goal separated the two teams.
Stephen Warnock was the culprit to Villa's demise as the defender gave possession up to Dirk Kuyt, who found Torres inside the Villa box. The Spanish striker wasted no time sliding a shot into Friedel's far corner to break Villan hearts.
Richard Dunne was the only Villa player booked, while Lucas Leiva was booked for Liverpool. Up next for Friedel and company is a test against Blackburn in the FA Cup.
Bolton 2 - 2 Hull
Jozy Altidore lasted 54 minutes as Stephen Hunt inspired Hull to earn a share of the spoils at Reebok Stadium.
Ivan Klasnic stared the scoring after Andy Dawson controlled a classic ball punted forward from the Bolton defense. Dawson's header landed straight at the forward's feet and Klasnic wasted no time hitting a stunning 25 yard belter into the low corner.
Just over an hour had been played when another long ball situation turned to gold for the home team. Paul Robinson punted a free kick into the area, and Hull keeper Boaz Myhill failed his punch save, allowing Kevin Davies to head in from 12 yards out.
It took Stephen Hunt 10 minutes to find a reply as Hull heaped pressure on Bolton. Craig Fagan sent in a great cross from the right, allowing Hunt to head in past Jussi Jaaskalainen from six yards out.
Just seven minutes later, the game was tied up when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink flicked on a Bernard Mendy cross, with Hunt finishing from a tight angle to settle the affair in the 78th.
Mendy and Dawson were booked for Hull, while Gavin McCann picked up a yellow in his efforts. Up next for Altidore and company, a game against Wigan in the FA Cup.
Tottenham 2 - 0 West Ham
Jonathan Spector was the second substitute in West Ham's loss to Tottenham, coming on in the 19th minute.
Eleven minutes in, Aaron Lennon turned on the boosters down the right flank, with no Hammers able to keep pace. The winger tried to pick out the stagnant Peter Crouch, but his cross across the six ended at an unmarked Luka Modric who volleyed home the shot.
Luis Jimenez replaced Scott Parker in the 12th minute, while Spector came on for Ilunga in the 19th. The game was put to rest with nine minutes left in the game with Jermaine Defoe having two clear looks at goal. None of the Hammers defense decided to step to the England striker, and his first attempt was straight at Robert Green. The goalkeeper could only perry the shot back into Defoe's path for an even stronger shot which crashed into the far corner.
Vedran Corluka and Defoe were booked for Spurs, while Alessandro Diamanti, Guillermo Franco, and Radoslav Kovac were booked for West Ham. Up next for Spector, another North London game as Arsenal come to Upton Park in the FA Cup.
Bristol City 2 - 2 Watford
Jay DeMerit went 90 minutes as Watford hit a last gasp equalizer against 10 man Bristol City.
Watford had a goal disallowed for offsides, and were instantly countered for the opener from City. Nicky Maynard was stripped of possession by Henri Lansbury, but Danny Haynes took no time to strike the loose ball into the back of the Hornets net in the 38th.
It took Tom Cleverly five minutes to reply as a poor Jamie McAllister clearance saw the Manchester United loanee leave goalkeeper Dean Gerken no chance from just inside the area.
With moments left in the first half, Hartley stepped up to smash in a 30 yard free kick that went in off the underside of Scott Loach's bar to give City the half time lead. Lewin Nyatanga was sent off in the 69th. City and Watford each had another goal disallowed by the referee, but it was John Eustace who had the final say, poking in the equalizer from close range with three minutes left on the clock.
Bradley Orr joined Nyatanga in the book for City, while eustace and Lansbury were booked for the Hornets. Up next for DeMerit and company, a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Leyton Orient 1 - 2 Southend United
Ian Joyce started his second consecutive game in between the sticks for Southend United, and notched his first victory since taking over senior goalkeeping duty.
Orient started scoring in the 57th as United failed to clear their lines, with Adam Chambers pouncing on a loose ball and prodding it into the bottom corner. It only took the Shrimpers two minutes to find a reply, as captain Adam Barrett punished Ben Chorley for a slack clearance with a strong finish.
Lee Barnard forced a strong save from Jamie Jones, but Alan McCormack was ready for to smash in the rebound with 18 minutes left to play. Chorley and Loick Pires were booked for the home team, as Damian Scannell found his way into the referees book.
Up next for Southend, a home game with Walsall next Saturday.
Wycombe 2 - 5 Brighton
Jon-Paul Pittman went 90 minutes after Wycombe let a first half lead slip when Glenn Murray went goal-crazy scoring four on the way to an away win for Brighton.
Pittman started scoring in the 27th minute as Brighton failed to deal with a long range John Mousinho effort. The original shot clanged off the foot of the post, and Pittman was quickest to react and prodded home the loose ball. Murray answered, however, after 36 minutes with a spectacular bicycle kick from a Elliott Bennett cross.
Mousinho gave the hosts the lead going into the break after Peter Brezovan made a complete mess of Tommy Doherty's deflected free kick. The shot stopper failed to hold onto the shot, and Mousinho tapped in from two yards out in the 40th. Just four minutes into the second half Brighton were back in it with Nicky Forster volleying in Gary Dickers cross. Forster turned provider, setting Murray up to head home his second of the night to give the visitors their first lead in the match.
Wycombe switched off while Brighton picked it up another notch, with Murray scoring again in the 70th. Chris Westwood failed to defend the goal scorer, and Murray fired past Scott Shearer. Murray got his final 10 minutes from full time, heading in Dean Cox's cross to double his goals in the season, bringing his tally to eight so far in the campaign.
Stuart Beavon was the only Wycombe player booked, while Murray was booked for Unsporting behavior after his third goal. Wycombe next face Norwich in league play next Saturday.
Frank Simek and Sheffield Wednesday will have to wait for their match against Blackpool as the match was postponed due to a frozen surface.
Mike Grella stayed on the bench as Leeds broke away late to beat 10 man Stockport 4-2.
Jemal Johnson is out injured for Milton Keynes Dons fell against Huddersfield 1-0.
Zak Whitbread is out injured as Millwall beat Bristol Rovers 2-0.
Eric Lichaj's match for Lincoln City versus Darlington was postponed due to a frozen playing surface.
Seb Harris was on the bench as Northampton drew 0-0 at Barnet.