RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Brad Fiedel was forced to stop Jermaine Jones as Aston Villa pushed out a great home result over Blackburn. Tim Howard and Everton also picked up a massive three points in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa 4 - 1 Blackburn
Brad Friedel and Jermaine Jones played out a stalemate first half but Villa were off to the races in the second half for a heavy handed home win against Blackburn.
Jones started for Rovers' very defensive formation which worked to the T in the first half. The American had the chance to put the visitors 1-0 up just a minute into the second half but Friedel did well to make the save. The chance woke Villa up as they finally broke the deadlock in the 49th minute. Ashley Young stripped Keith Andrews of possession and the defender was forced to take the England international down. Young took his own penalty to open the scoring.
Grant Hanley was credited with the own goal in the 62nd minute after a succession of Villa corner kicks. Marc Albrighton eventually kept a corner in and as he rounded Michel Salgado his cross took a bounce off of Hanley's knee and past Paul Robinson.
Stewart Downing notched Villa's third just two minutes later after Villa quickly broke from their own end. Young released the winger down the right flank. Darren Bent's run down the opposite flank forced the defender to choose and by the time he shuffled over to close down Downing it was too late.
Nikola Kalinic got one back for Rovers with nine minutes left to play after taking the first chance available to him to shoot. Receiving possession 25 yards out he quickly fired a shot that bounced off of the foot of Ricahrd Dunne and over the stranded Friedel.
Villa restored their three goal lead just two minutes later as Stewart Downing broke into the area and picked out Young who stroked his shot past Robinson for the final goal of the game.
Ryan Nelsen was sent off in the 90th minute after a slide from behind earned him his second yellow card of the game, joining Jones and Vince Grella in the book. Michael Bradley stayed on the bench for Villa who take on Manchester City on Wednesday.
Everton 2 - 0 Sunderland
Tim Howard was able to keep Sunderland at bay as Everton notched a comfortable home win.
Jermaine Beckford was at the double on Saturday scoring both goals for Everton. His first goal came just eight minutes in after an early scare from Keiron Richardson who completely wasted his chance after being sent one on one with Howard. Everton responded in style as Leon Osman slotted Beckford through on goal and his shot took a deflection off of Titus Bramble for the opener.
Howard kept his team alive as Cesegnon's shot was pushed onto the crossbar by the keeper's fingertips and the American recovered to make the second save off of the rebound. Everton again responded with a goal as MIkel Arteta did all of the hard work. Taking the ball all of the way to the byline the Spanish midfielder picked his head up to play Beckford who tucked in his finish in the 239th minute.
No cards were issued in the game as Everton face Reading at home on Tuesday in the FA Cup 5th round.
Newcastle 1 - 1 Bolton
Stuart Holden's Bolton were forced to come from a goal behind to earn a draw on the road at Newcastle.
Former Bolton boy Kevin Nolan got the scoring started just 12 minutes into the game as Newcastle's over hit corner was crossed back in by Cheik Tiote. Wasting no time Nolan expertly diverted his header goalwards and under Jussi Jaskelainen.
Bolton got back into the game just before the end of the first half through none other than Daniel Sturridge. Newcastle were unable to get the ball out of their defensive end and Johan Elmander expertly picked out his striker partner who quickly released his shot to claim the equalizer in the 38th minute.
Ryan Taylor was sent off for a two footed tackle in the 54th minute but Bolton were unable to take advantage of their man up situation in the second half. David Wheather and Marcos Alonso were booked for Bolton who play Aston Villa on Saturday.
Manchester City 1 - 1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham started out the brighter side but were forced to chase the game as they eventaully earned a draw away at Manchester City.
The opening chances went Fulham's way but it was City who opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Mario Balotelli received the short pass from Carlos Tevez and the Italian did the rest. Taking controlled touches inside the striker blasted a shot that Mark Schwarzer had no chance at saving.
Andrew Johnson helped get Fulham back onto even terms with City just three minutes into the second half after being released down the right hand side. His cross field pass went past three City defenders to Damien Duff who tucked home the equalizer.
Balotelli was booked for City while Danny Murphy joined Johnson in the book. Up next for Fulham is a home game against Blackburn.
Norwich City 2-0 Barnsley
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City beat Barnsley to keep pace in the Championship standings.
Whitbread started and went the distance for the Canaries.
The opener came in the 33rd minute after David Fox clipped a ball to Andrew Crofts who swiftly headed home for Norwich.
A Wesley Hoolahan clever ball found Crofts again who finished a left-footed volley, which gave the Canaries more than enough to win the game.
Paul McShane and Goran Lovre received yellow cards for Barnsley while Russell Martin was booked for Norwich.
City play Preston next week while Barnsely take on Derby County.
Leeds United 0-3 Swansea
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United went down to Swansea City in Championship action this weekend.
Lichaj started and went the distance for United.
Leeds finds this game tough to lose since most promotion rivals won this weekend.
Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the 13th minute for Swansea after he played a clever one-two with Luke Moore and then slotted home.
After Nathan Dyer was taken down in the box, Sinclair scored his second goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 55th minute.
Stephen Dobbie then found Moore with an impressive through ball that he calmly slotted home in the 72nd minute, leaving Swansea with an easy win.
Angel Rangel and Moore received yellows for Swansea while Lichaj, Alex Bruce, Neil Kilkenny, and George McCartney all were booked for Leeds.
City travel to Scunthorpe next week while United host Doncaster.
Hull City 0-2 Cardiff City
Brad Guzan and Hull City's unbeaten streak was halted as Cardiff City beat the Tigers in Championship play.
Guzan started and went the distance for Hull once again.
With promotion rivals all winning, the Bluebirds knew a win was a must, and Michael Chopra's header from a Craig Bellamy cross in the 65th minute gave the fans a sigh of relief.
Cardiff's Jay Emmanuel-Thomas then weaved his way through the City defense and impressively put the game away for the Bluebirds in injury time.
Jack Hobbs was booked for Hull while Bellamy and Stephen McPhail received yellow cards for City.
The Tigers next play Nottingham Forest while Cardif hosts Ipswich.
Carlisle United 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Frank Simek and Carlisle United lost to Sheffield Wednesday in League One action.
Simek started and went the full ninety minutes for the Cumbrians.
A Tommy Spurr cross found Tommy Miller who smashed home a 6-yard shot in the 20th minute, giving the Owls the only goal they needed.
Wednesday got their first win in eleven games and will hope to build upon that the rest of the season.
Isaiah Osbourne and Miller received yellow cards for the Owls.
The Cumbrians next take on Charlton while Wednesday host Plymouth.
Swindon Town 1-4 Southampton
Mike Grella and Swindon Town went down to Southampton in League One play.
Grella started and went the distance for his new team on loan.
Things went sour quick for Swindon, as Adam Lallana slotted home from six yards out in the 15th minute.
In the 54th minute, Matt Ritchie gave Swindon some life with a strike past Kelvin Davis.
Richard Lambert though took back the lead for Southampton in the 60th minute when Dan Harding set him up for the go ahead goal.
Just seconds later Radhi Jaidi headed home a Lallana corner, putting the game away for Southampton.
Lee Barnard then added another insurance goal in injury time when he went past Swindon goalie David Lucas for the score.
Michael Rose received the only booking of the game for Swindon.
Southampton take on Walsall in the midweek while Swindon play Walsall on Saturday.
Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Macclesfield
Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe took the three points against Macclesfield in League Two play.
Pittman started and went the distance for the Wanderers.
Wycombe now has a solid spot at second place and hopes to make a charge at winning the League Two title.
Gareth Ainsworth volleyed home in the 39th minute for Wycombe, giving the Wanderers the only goal they needed.
Lewis Montrose and Stuart Beavon received the only yellow cards of the game for Wycombe.
Injury time saw a brawl breakout between both teams. Renell Sappleton and Emile Sinclair were sent off for Macclesfield Town and Dave Winfield was shown the red as well for the Wanderers.
Marcus Hahnemann was on the bench as Wolverhampton won 4-0 over 10 man Blackpool at home.
Jonathan Spector played the final eight minutes in West Ham's 3-1 home win over Liverpool.
Anton Peterlin did not dress in Plymouth's win over Colchester.
Eddie Johnson made a 20-minute cameo as Preston lost to Burnley.