RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
It was a goal filled weekend in England that saw Clint Dempsey score past international colleague Brad Friedel in weekend English action.
Aston Villa 2 - 2 Fulham
Michael Bradley and Eric Lichaj failed to make the Aston Villa bench as Clint Dempsey put one past Brad Friedel to earn Fulham a share of the spoils.
Fulham had the displeasure of scoring yet another own goal through none other than John Pantsil, the culprit of their demise at the hands of Liverpool just the game before. Stewart Downing played in an impeccable ball with the outside of his left foot, and with Gabriel Agbonlahor on his back, Pantsil was forced into making a diving header which diverted the ball back around Mark Schwarzer just 13 minutes in.
Andy Johnson got Fulham back on level terms in the 52nd minute after Friedel parried a Steven Sidwell shot. The shot itself was fierce but Friedel will be disappointed with where he pushed the ball as Johnson crept in to send in a low diving header for the equalizer.
Kyle Walker was the unlikely hit man in the 72nd minute as Villa pushed their way back in front with a brilliant solo effort. The defender shimmied his way into open space before unleashing a 35 yard shot that bounced past the outreached Schwarzer who was mildly blindsided.
Just six minutes later Dempsey came up big after not much involvement in the entire match. Friedel tried to come out into the crowd to punch away a Fulham corner but Dempsey kept his eye on the prize and his header flew into the empty net to earn the visitors a hard earned draw.
Jean Makoun, Stiliyan Petrov, and Ashley Young were booked for Villa while Chris Baird and Danny Murphy were booked for Fulham. Villa next face Blackpool where Bradley may earn his first start while Fulham take on next door neighbors Chelsea next Monday.
Everton 5 - 3 Blackpool
Tim Howard and Everton were able to push their way past a resilient Blackpool team as Louis Saha scoring four goals.
Saha got the opener in the 20th minute after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov did all of the work down the left hand side. Keeping the play alive the forward added to his cause for another starting position by picking out his strike partner for a clinical finish in a crowded penalty box.
Alex Baptiste got the equalizer in the 37th minute after Howard was unable to deal with a Blackpool corner. Making extra sure the goal stood Baptiste finished the ball from a yard away to put the visitors back in the mix. Saha then had a goal disallowed a few minutes later after Seamus Coleman was called for a foul.
Saha eventually got his second just two minutes into the second half as Leighton Baines sent in a delightful ball. Just 93 minutes into the second half the Toffees got back on the front foot as Saha finished with a defender on either side of him as he tucked the cross away past Paul Rachubka.
Jason Puncheon scored as Blackpool yet again came back when the Everton back line collapsed. Blackpool were attacking with four players against Everton's two defenders and Puncheon was allowed to finish with no defensive pressure in the 62nd minute.
Puncheon then had a hand in putting Blackpool ahead for the first time in the game as Everton lost possession in their attacking end. After a quick counter attack Howard was beaten by a DJ Campbell strike which clanged off the crossbar but fell to Charlie Adams who sent in a diving header in the 64th minute.
Everton continued to push as Jack Rodwell almost made Rochubka pay for trying to dribble out of his own 18, only to be saved by a diving Ian Evatt acrobatic clearance. Everton would have their victory however as Baines played Jermaine Beckford into the box who finished with a sublime volley.
Saha got his fourth goal on the night, never having even scored a hat trick before, in the 84th minute. Being played into space by Marouane Fellaini the Frenchman was off to the races as he dribbled half of the field before poking his shot past Rochubka to put the bed to rest.
Adam was the only player booked in the game as Everton look to continue their winning ways away at Bolton on Sunday.
Tottenham 2 - 1 Bolton
Stuart Holden and Bolton were unable to hold on to a draw as Tottenham grabbed the game winner at the death.
Rafael van der Vaart started the scoring in the sixth minute after Bolton were harshly dealt a penalty when Kevin Davies fell on the ball, resultling in a hand ball. The front man buried his penalty kick, and was awarded another just two minutes later. Van der Vaart's first penalty was called back for encroachment from the onrushing players and the striker could not keep his composure to finish at the third time of asking.
Bolton broke quickly on the counter attack in the 55th minute as Mark Davies picked out Daniel Sturridge wide to his right as the on loan Chelsea man tried curled his shot past Huerleho Gomes. The keeper should have done better as the shot bounced under him for the equalizer.
Niko Kranjcar was substituted on for Wilson Palacios and Harry Redknapp was made to look the genius as the move paid off. Cutting in from the right flank Kranjcar let rip with a left footed rocket that flew past Jussi Jaaskelainen for the game winner.
Gary Cahill, Mark Davies, and Sam Ricketts were all shown yellow for Bolton as Jermaine Jenas was the only Spurs player booked in the outing. Up next for Bolton is a Sunday home game against Everton.
Wigan 4 - 3 Blackburn
Jermaine Jones went 78 minutes for Blackburn who were unable to keep Wigan at bay at DW Stadium.
Blackburn opened the scoring in the 23rd minute through Jason Roberts as the winger smashed a cross into the middle which actually evaded everyone before crossing the goal line.
Wigan got back in the game through James McCarthy who scored the equalizer in the 35th minute. Paul Robinson did well to save Wigan's initial shot but McCarthy was on hand to dispatch the close range finish to bring things level.
Hugo Rodallega scored Wigan's second just five minutes into the second half after rounding the goalkeeper and finishing from a narrow angle. McCarthy pushed Wigan further in front with a piece of sublime skill after Blackburn failed to clear their lines. Juggling the ball around the Blackburn defenders inside the penalty area McCarthy finally put the ball on his left foot to volley home an impressive goal in the 56th minute.
Blackburn responded with a Cristopher Samba goal two minutes later after powering home a header. Wigan would not rest however as they got another goal in the 65th minute as Ben Watson converted a 65th minute penalty. Emmerson Boyce gave up a final penalty with David Dunn converting in the 81st minute.
Jones and Michel Salgado were both booked as Blackburn next face Newcastle at home on Saturday.
Hull City 5-1 Scunthorpe United
Brad Guzan and Hull City easily beat Scunthorpe United this weekend in Championship action. The American went the distance for the Tigers as Matty Fryatt opened the scoring early in the 5th minute as his low drive from close beat Scunthorpe golie Josh Lillis.
It only took Hull until the 50th minute to double their lead when Aaron Mclean scored from six yards away. the gap closed just five minutes later when Scunthorpe's Joe Garner finished a Mark Duffy free kick, momentarily giving his team hope.
The flood gates opened however and in the 73rd minute, Fryatt scored from the penalty spot for the Tigers, after Andy Dawson was taken down in the area. Mclean then scored from 12 yards out for Hull again, giving the Tigers an insurmountable lead in the 81st minute. Fryatt completed his hat trick when he finished a Tijani Belaid corner in the 89th minute.
Hull has now only lost one game in their last fifteen in league play and are now only six points from the last playoff spot.
James Chester and Anthony Gerrard were the only players booked in the game for Hull City.
Norwich City 1-2 Burnley
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City went down to Burnley in this Championship encounter as Whitbread started and played the first half for the Canaries before getting subbed out and replaced by Simon Lapin.
Dean Marney opened the scoring for Burnley in the 33rd minute after he cleanly finished past John Ruddy's goal before
Norwich equalized in the 65th minute when Grant Holt converted from a Wes Hoolahan cross. With only nine minutes left in the game, Jay Rodriguez easily finished from close range a Daniel Fox free-kick.
The loss ends the Canaries' eight game unbeaten streak in league play.
Clarke Carlisle received a yellow card for Burnley while Adam Drury was booked for Norwich.
Preston North End 0-4 Bristol City
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End easily went down to Bristol City. Johnson debuted for his new team on loan, starting and going the distance.
The American striker did not take long to make his presence on the field, nearly scoring in the second minute. His shot though was blasted over the bar. The first goal came however when Andrew Keogh received a pass from Steven Caulker and shot past Preston goalie Andy Lonergan from 12 yards out to give the West Country team their first goal of the afternoon.
Moments later, Johnson again nearly scored, this time off of a header that he was wide on. Again however, Brett Pitman sent in a left wing cross to David Clarkson who headed in for a goal to double the lead in the 56th minute.
Clarkson again got on the board when he pounced on a rebound and scored from 12 yards out in the 65th minute, as Pitman finished the scoring for Bristol with a shot from 18 yards out, easily sealing the victory.
Carlisle United 1-3 Walsall
Frank Simek and Carlisle United were defeated by Walsall in League One play as the American started and went the full ninety minutes for the Cumbrians.
Matt Gill opened the scoring for Walsall in the 37th minute when after a scramble in the box, he turned and scored from ten yards out. Then Jonathan Macken's long ball in the 59th minute found Julian Gray with plenty of space in front of him and calmly scored past Carlisle goalie Adam Collin. A Gray close range header in the 73rd minute ended the scoring for Walsall.
Peter Murphy was able to score a consolation header for the Cumbrians off of a James Berrett cross in added time but obviously much too little and way to late to trouble Walsall.
Marcus Hahnemann was on the bench as Wolves picked up a huge three points in a 2-1 win against Manchester United.
Jonathan Spector didn't feature as West Ham fell 1-0 to Birmingham.
Mike Grella did not participate in Leeds' win over Coventry.
Conor Doyle did not play in Derby County's tie versus Portsmouth.