RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers picked up three huge points at home to Tottenham while all three American Premier League keepers were unable to come out of the weekend with wins.
Bolton 4 - 2 Tottenham
Stuart Holden played an integral part in Bolton's giant triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in front of their home supporters at Reebok Stadium.
Tottenham had made light work of Inter Milan in the Champions League in midweek, with Gareth Bale being dubbed 'the prince of Europe' all around the world.
After a 3-1 home win over the reigning European Champions, Holden and company had their work cut out for them.
Bolton signaled their intent within 30 seconds making Huerelho Gomes work immediately. Kevin Davies led his squad from the front and got Wanderers out ahead in the 31st minute.
Fabrice Muamba made a huge tackle on Sandro, sending it to Davies who was in an offsides position. Taking his time to steady himself, the England striker struck the ball sweetly and even Gomes' touch couldn't deflect it anywhere but into the back of the net.
The second goal came in the 54th minute through Gretar Rafn Steinsson, the player tasked with marking Bale. Tottenham failed to clear their lines time and time again, giving Johan Elmander the time to pick out Steinsson unmarked inside the box.
The defender's first touch set himself up, and his second shot was hit nicely straight into the bottom corner of the far post.
Bolton were flying high with multiple chances going just wide, namely Matthew Taylor's patient volley clattering off of the outside of the post.
Taylor was rewarded in the 76th minute as his pinpoint pass into the feet of Chung-Yong Lee forced Benoit Assou-Ekotto into a challenge which resulted in a penalty. Davies stepped up and confidently sent his shot into the top right corner to virtually put the game out of reach.
The game was far from over however as Alan Hutton got one back in the 79th minute. The right back ghosted past Taylor, dancing along the edge of the penalty area before curling in a left footed shot that left Jussi Jaaskelainen swinging at thin air.
Spurs continued to push and had Bolton on the back foot, with Roman Pavlyuchenko making it a one goal game in the 87th minute.
The Russian substitute was left unmarked on the back post as Bolton failed to clear their lines, and the big looping ball fell straight down. Without showing concern the striker waited for the perfect moment to leather his volley straight through the crowd and into the top corner at the far post.
Wanderers were rocking and the quality of Spurs was shining, with chance after chance going wide as the away team tried to equalize. It all looked hopeless as a great ball through to the amazing run of William Gallas nearly set the defender on a break away at Jaaskelainen. At the absolute last second Holden flew in with a tackle to dispossess the Spurs man in the 90th minute.
From one end to the other, the Bolton back line cleared the ball up towards Davies. Caught on the counter, the forward's flicked on header to Martin Petrov sent the striker raising one-one-one with Gomes. With all the confidence in the world he expertly lifted his shot over the keeper to ensure all the points stayed at Bolton in the thrilling match.
Paul Robinson was the only player booked in the match for his first half tackle on Sandro. Up next for Bolton is a midweek match at Goodison Park against Everton.
Manchester United 2 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Marcus Hahnemann was beaten in added time by Ji Sung Park as Wolverhampton were robbed of a point just minutes before the final whistle.
The story of the day was England international Owen Hargreaves' first start in over two years for United. Ferguson gambled with the healthy-again player, but his gamble failed as the midfielder only lasted five minutes before taking himself off due to a hamstring complaint. Bebe was the substitute, playing his first substantial minutes in the Premier League.
Park scored just before the half time whistle after Wolves backed off of Darren Fletcher in the midfield. Allowed the space to bring the ball from half all the way to the penalty box, Fletcher picked out Park with a beautiful ball. Hahnemann tried to rush out, but Park kept his composure to slot past the American keeper for the opening goal.
Mick McCarthy then was made to look like a tactical genius after his 64th minute double substitution. Wolves had been given many chances, and the introduction of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Steven Fletcher proved to be the difference maker.
Nenad Milijas fired a shot onto the foot of Ebanks-Blake and the former United man did the rest. His first touch took him wide of Nemanja Vidic and his shot soared through the legs of Edwin van der Sar to tie things up in the 66th minute.
In classic United fashion, Park was able to find the goal as four minutes were added on to the end of the game.
In the 93rd minute the South Korean international danced through the Wolves box and shot to Hahnemann's near post. The American will probably feel he could have done better, but reacted late to the near post shot and his diving swipe was just short as all three points slipped away.
Javier Hernandez was booked for diving in the 82nd minute as he tried to draw a penalty from Hahnemann who came out to block his shot, and was the only player booked in the game.
Up next for Wolves is an equally difficult task when Arsenal come to Molineux on Wednesday.
Fulham 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Clint Dempsey started against Aston Villa's Brad Friedel, with Eddie Johnson on the bench for Fulham while Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj were on the bench for Villa.
Dempsey had an early chance as the American was sent through into the penalty area. With only Friedel to beat the keeper did well to kick save the strike, and Zoltan Gera's resulting shot was unable to cause any harm.
Villa were the first to score as a beautiful ball to Marc Albrighton caught Carlos Salcido out. Albrighton's first touch took him past the defender and his finish past Mark Schwarzer was clinical in the 41st.
Fulham got a share of the spoils in the dying seconds through Brede Hangeland. Villa had chance and chance again, but with the last few seconds Albrighton forced a foul that allowed Fulham a free kick.
Everyone piled forward and Hangeland rose above the rest and his header bounced off a Villa player and past the rooted Friedel who didn't even try to stop the ricocheted ball.
Damien Duff was the only player booked in the match as Fulham next face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge while Villa take on Blackpool at home.
Blackpool 2 - 2 Everton
Tim Howard and Everton twice came from behind to earn a share of the spoils at Blackpool, though the Toffees surely feel they could have won the match.
Blackpool got the scoring started in the 10th minute as Neil Eardley bent his free kick around Howard's wall and into the back of the net. The free kick was top quality, but Howard's wall placement left him no chance to scramble across the goal to save the shot.
Almost immediately Everton were back on level ground through none other than Tim Cahill. In typical fashion the ball found its way to the left flank where Aiyegbeni Yakubu's cross was floated to the penalty spot for Cahill to power his header home in the 13th.
Blackpool were back on the front foot just two minutes into the second half when David Vaughan scored for the Tangerines.
There was an appeal for hand ball, but the Everton back line failed to clear the ball, and each shot took Howard further out of position. Vaughan's first shot was blocked, but he stayed with it to practically finish into an empty net with Howard scrambling.
Again Everton fought back and in the 50th minute things were level again. Seamus Coleman, who was on loan at Blackpool last season, showed real tenacity to win his header and beat Stephen Crainey. Coleman used his head to push the ball further into space, and his shot was too powerful for Matthew Gilks who could only push the ball into his own net.
Crainey and Eardley were both booked for Blackpool, while Everton's Phil Jagielka was booked. Up next for Howard and company is a home test against Bolton.
Milton Keynes Dons 0-0 Stevenage
Jemal Johnson and Milton Keynes Dons tied Stevenage in FA Cup action, ensuring another game between the two.
Johnson did not start, but came on in the 68th minute for Lewis Guy.
The first half saw both teams struggle for any goal scoring opportunities.
Though, early in the second half Dons' Angelo Balanta came close to a goal when he drove a ball low to goal, only to miss by inches.
Stevenage would respond when Yemi Odubade nearly reached the back of the net. MK Dons' goalie David Martin was forced to make an impressive save to preserve the tie.
In the late stages of the game, Johnson could have won the game for MK Dons, but the American was off by only inches.
Scott Laird and Micheal Bostwick were booked for Stevenage.
Carlisle United 6-0 Tipton Town
Frank Simek and Carlisle United emphatically beat Tipton Town in FA Cup play this weekend.
Simek made his usual start for the Cumbrians while fellow American Mike Grella did not dress for the game.
Carlisle quickly had a four goal lead after only 24 minutes, with Gary Madine netting a hat-trick in the first half.
Bernard Zoko opened the scoring for Carlisle in the fourth minute when he scored oast Tipton Town's goalie Matt Sargeant.
Madine then easily scored from one yard out after Ben Marshall set him up from close range.
Only three minutes later James Berrett's corner found Madine once again for a header.
Zoko scored the fourth goal of the game, scoring from 15 yards out after another Berrett corner.
The 44th minute saw Tipton's defense break down once again after another corner found Madine who was clinical in front of goal.
In the 83rd minute, Madine scored his fourth goal of the game after he finished a Craig Curran cross.
The Cumbrians next face Crewe Alexandra in Johnstone's Paint Trophy action in the midweek.
Plymouth Argyle 0-4 Swindon Town
Anton Peterlin made his first start in a while as Plymouth went down in FA Cup action to Swindon Town.
Peterlin started and went the full 90 minutes for the Pilgrims.
The 23rd minute saw Swindon open the scoring when Sean Morrison headed home a Jon-Paul McGovern corner.
Before half-time Swindon doubled their lead when Charlie Austin connected on a Michael Rose strong free-kick.
Plymouth saw their luck continue to get worse when Dean Parrett was sent off after a foul on David Prutton, leaving the Pilgrims to play the rest of the game with ten men.
Swindon's Wincent Pericard was able to finish a cross from Matt Ritchie in the 52nd minute.
In the 69th minute, Town scored their final goal when Charlie Austin's cross was headed home by Ritchie.
Swindon next play Brentford in Johnstone's Paint Trophy this Tuesday while Plymouth host Exeter City in the same tournament.
Jonathan Spector did not dress for West Ham who drew 2-2 at Birmingham.