RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Clint Dempsey scored twice for Fulham as Jonathan Spector notched his first Premier League goal by besting Tim Howard in a full weekend of English action.
Everton 2 - 2 West Ham
Tim Howard was beaten twice in Everton's home game against West Ham, once by his international teammate Jonathan Spector.
The contest was back and forth from the off but it was West Ham who broke the deadlock as Spector popped up with a first half goal. Luis Boa Morte kept his composure as he raced towards the end line and his cut out was directed at Spector instead of top goalscorer Frederic Piquionne. The American did not disappoint as he tucked away his first ever Premier League goal in the 27th minute.
It took Everton until the 77th minute to get back into it after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov acrobatically struck home the equalizer. A big ball forward was knocked back to the Russian by Marouane Fellaini and the substitute nearly side volleyed the ball past the helpless Robert Green from outside the area.
Piquionne thought he had grabbed the game winner in the 84th minute after his backwards header put the visitors in the lead. Everton failed to deal with a Hammers corner, and the final ball in was flicked on by Piquionne who subsequently ran into the stands to celebrate with the away fans. Having just been booked minutes earlier, the striker was promptly shown his second yellow card and sent off.
Everton used their man advantage in their favor as Fellaini grabbed the equalizer in the dying seconds. Fellaini controlled a cross into the box around his two defenders with his chest before turning and sending his shot to the far corner for the equalizer.
Fellaini was booked for Everton while Scott Parker joined Piquionne in the book for West Ham. Everton next face Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday while West Ham face Birmingham at St Andrews Stadium on Wednesday in the Carling Cup semi-final.
Fulham 2 - 0 Stoke
Clint Dempsey scored on both sides of halftime to ensure Fulham picked up all three points at home to Stoke.
The opener came in the 33rd minute after clever work from Andrew Johnson on his 150th Premier League appearance. Taking the ball all of the way to the byline, the forward was able to pick out the run of Dempsey who wanted the ball more and was able to finish from close range under pressure.
Dempsey set up his second with an exquisite first touch in the 56th minute as he turned Ryan Shawcross the wrong way after controlling a long ball forward. Shawcross had no option but to foul the American and was sent off for his decision. Dempsey felt brave enough to step up and take his own penalty, converting from the spot.
Danny Murphy went into the book for Fulham while Andy Wilkinson joined Shawcross in the book for Stoke. Up next for Fulham is a Wednesday trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool.
Aston Villa 1 - 0 Manchester City
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa defended their slender lead at home after a dream start for Darren Bent.
Having just made the multimillion dollar move from Sunderland earlier in the week, Bent was handed his first start for his new club at home against Manchester City. Ashley Young was the creator after Villa stripped City of the ball inside their own half. Young was released into space and Joe Hart could only parry the shot as far as Bent who tucked home the rebound from a difficult angle in the 18th minute.
Villa defended for their lives with Friedel and his back four making numerous last ditch efforts to see out their win. Ciaran Clark picked up a booking for Villa while Aleksandar Kolarav was booked for City. Eric Lichaj failed to make the bench for Villa who have an away game at Wigan on Tuesday.
Blackburn 2 - 0 West Brom
Jermaine Jones started in his first game for Blackburn who saw off West Brom at home.
Jones nearly gave up a penalty after lunging on Peter Odemwingie but was fortunate that the referee did not find enough cause to give the penalty. West Brom had the better of the first half chances but shot themselves in the foot in the 41st minute. New signing Roque Santa Cruz put Gabriel Tamas under moderate pressure but the defender unmistakably headed David Dunn's cross into his own goal.
There was no mistaking Blackburn's second goal as Canadian born David Hoilett smashed home his first Premier League goal. Just two minutes into the second half the 20 year old jinked around the Baggies stagnant back line to fire home an 18 yard rocket that gave Boaz Myhill absolutely no chance.
Only Jerome Thomas was booked in the match and Blackburn face Aston Villa next Saturday in the FA Cup.
Norwich City 2 - 1 Sheffield United
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City defeated Sheffield United in Championship play. The American center back started and went the full 90 minutes for the Canaries.
Norwich opened the scoring in the second half when Andrew Crofts netted off of a corner kick.
In the 69th minute, Ched Evans was able to level the score for United as he rifled home a left footed shot into the corner of the net.
The 80th minute though saw the Canaries score the game winning goal when Crofts scored from inside the area after United could not clear the ball from the area.
Norwich keeps pace with the top half of the standings, stating put in a playoff spot.
Shane Lowry, Stephen Quinn, and Steve Simonsen received yellow cards for Sheffield while Crofts, Adam Drury and David Fox were booked for the Canaries.
Hull City 1 - 1 Reading
Brad Guzan and Hull City tied against Reading in weekend action. Guzan started in goal and went the full 90 minutes for Hull.
Hull opened the scoring in the 51st minute when Ian Harte's header back to his goalie Adam Federici found Corry Evans instead right in front of the goal. The Tigers' midfielder easily slotted home.
Reading leveled in the 80th minute. Guzan's luck in the day went downhill after he took down Shane Long in the area, setting up a Harte penalty kick goal.
Hull now sit five points from a playoff spot while Reading are only two points away.
Andy Dawson, Ian Ashbee and Liam Rosenior were booked for the Tigers while no one received yellow cards for Reading.
Carlisle United 1 - 0 Notts County
Frank Simek helped Carlisle United take the three points in a win over Notts County. Simek started and went the full ninety minutes for the Cumbrians.
Bernard Zoko volleyed home the only goal of the game for Carlisle on a corner kick supplied by James Berrett.
Alan Gow came close in the final minute for an equalizer, but his volley was stopped by Cumbrians' goalie Adam Collin.
Craig Westcarr and Mike Edwards were booked for Notts, while Liam Noble and Berrett received yellow cards for Carlisle.
Marcus Hahnemann watched from the bench as Wolverhampton let in three goals at home to Liverpool.
Stuart Holden and Bolton take on Chelsea at home on Monday.
Conor Doyle did not feature as his Derby County lost to Robbie Findley's Nottingham Forest. He did not feature as well.
Anton Peterlin made the bench but did not play in Plymouth's loss to Charlton Athletic.