RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Brad Friedel duked it out in the battle of the keepers while Clint Dempsey and Fulham cruised to a home win over Blackpool in a full weekend of English action.
Everton 2 - 2 Aston Villa
Michael Bradley was left off the team sheet as Brad Friedel and Tim Howard fought their way to a draw at Goodison Park.
The game was end to end but it was Everton who broke the deadlock first. Friedel will think he should have done better after getting a full hand to Leon Osman's left wing shot, but the front man did all of the work and reaped the benefits with the opening goal with just seven minutes left in the first half.
Just two minutes into the second half Darren Bent came up big to get Villa back level. Stewart Downing did well down the right wing and found the Villa front man who could do no wrong in front of net on Saturday with a perfect goal with the inside of his foot.
The game spiraled into controversy as Jermaine Beckford's 67th minute shot was not ruled a goal. His shot struck off the underside of the bar and very nearly over the goal line, but no goal was given. Friedel then launched a big ball forward and Bent made no mistake as he quickly slotted Howard who was 16 yards off of his line.
Speculation then was given more fuel as the referee awarded Everton a penalty kick after Phil Jagielka looked to have dived as Jean Makoun went in for the tackle. Leighton Baines stepped up to take the penalty, and even though Friedel guessed the right way the shot went under the keeper's outstretched body.
Osman, John Heitinga, and Jagielka were all booked for Everton while Makoun and Kyle Walker were booked for Villa. Everton travel to Wolves on Saturday while Villa have Newcastle at home on Sunday.
Arsenal 0 - 0 Blackburn
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn did their defensive duty against Arsenal grinding out an away draw.
Arsenal had the majority of the chances and even had a man advantage after 76 minutes when Steven N'Zonzi was red carded for a foul on Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal thought they had won it with less than a minute to go but Michel Salgado chested Nicklas Bendtner's header off of the line.
David Hoilett and Salgado joined N'Zonzi in the book as Alex Song was booked for Arsenal. Up next for Blackburn is a home game against Birmingham at Ewood Park.
Fulham 3 - 0 Blackpool
Clint Dempsey had his hand in everything possitive for Fulham who cruised to a win at home over Blackpool.
Blackpool forward James Beattie tried to play a back pass to his defenders but Bobby Zamora was on hand to pounce on the mistake. Taking the ball and sprinting straight at goal the striker composed himself for a terrific finish just 23 minutes in.
In the 27th minute Zamora hit his second after a free kick by Damien Duff. The delivery was well placed but Zamora only needed the slightest touch to get his header past Richard Kingston for the nail in the coffin just 27 minutes in. Dempsey would go on to hit the post, but was unable to get on the scoresheet.
The final goal came from Dickson Etuhu who finished at the second time of asking. His original header was deflected after a free kick in, but Brede Hangeland played the ball back across the six yard box for Etuhu's tidy finish in the 72nd minute.
Danny Murphy joined Hangeland in the book while Blackpool's Charlie Adam was also booked. Up next for Fulham is an away trip to Manchester United.
Norwich City 6-0 Scunthorpe
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City easily took down Scunthorpe in Championship play this weekend.
Whitbread started and went the distance for the Canaries.
Grant Holt started the scoring in the 10th minute with a near post finish that would begin the onslaught.
In the 32nd minute, Holt got his second of the game off of a penalty kick. Paul Reid was sent off for his tackle in the box for Scunthorpe, leaving them with ten men for the rest of the game.
The 61st minute saw Holt reach his hat-trick, scoring off of an impressive header and putting the game out of reach early for City.
Substitute Simeon Jackson continued the scoring in the 75th minute when he stole the ball from defender Michael Raynes and slotted home past Joe Murphy.
Jackson scored only two minutes later when he finished a Henri Lansbury pass.
In stoppage time, Jackson got his hat-trick when he finished from close range, ending a laugher in favor of City.
Reid was the only booking of the game for Scunthorpe when he was sent off in the 31st minute.
Leeds United 4-1 Nottingham Forest
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United beat Nottingham Forest in a pivotal promotion chasing game.
Lichaj started, went the distance, and recorded an assist for United.
After a quiet first half, Jonathan Howson opened the scoring for Leeds in the 51st minute when he headed home a Lichaj cross.
In the 58th minute, a Leigh Bromby shot was saved but the subsequent rebound was finished by Luciano Becchio, giving Leeds the two goal lead.
The 65th minute saw Forest get one back after Gareth McCleary sent in an impressive shot past Kaspar Schmeichel.
From the edge of the penalty box, Max Gradel was able to sneak one past Lee Camp's goal, giving Leeds the comfortable lead in the 73rd minute.
Becchio almost got his second of the game with a shot that was saved by Camp, though Gradel was able to finish the rebound and essentially the game in the 87th minute for Leeds.
Chris Cohen received a red card in the 36th minute for Forest.
Hull City 0-1 Millwall
Brad Guzan and Hull City went down to Millwall in Championship play.
Guzan started and went the distance for the Tigers.
Liam Trotter sent in a clever ball that found Steve Morison who slotted home for Millwall in the 33rd minute.
Hull were never able to respond and now will have their work cut out for them if they want to reach the promotion playoffs.
Millwall jumps the Tigers in the standings and hopes to make a run to the playoffs.
Guzan and James Chester received yellow cards for Hull while Morison was booked for Millwall.
Preston North End 2-1 Swansea City
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End beat Swansea City in Championship action.
Johnson started and played 59 minutes for North End.
Iain Hume opened the scoring early for Preston when he scored from the penalty spot in the third minute.
In the 24th minute, Swansea responded after Ashley Williams headed home the equalizer.
But in the 83rd minute, Hume's individual run past several defenders ended with a goal past City goalie Dorus De Vries.
Preston now have won three in a row and still have dreams of getting out of the relegation zone.
Keith Treacy, Craig Morgan, and Hume received yellow cards for Preston while De Vries and Borini were booked for Swansea.
Jonathan Spector was on the bench as West Ham collapsed against Manchester United 4-2.
Stuart Holden is out for the season with a knee injury as Bolton lost 2-1 at Birmingham.
Marcus Hahnemann was on the bench as Wolverhampton Wanderers were beaten 4-1 at Newcastle.
Mike Grella played the last ten minutes in Swindon's tie against Hartlepool.
Jon-Paul Pittman did not feature in Wycombe's win over Stockport.