27 April 2003

Man City (0) 0
West Ham (0) 1 (Kanoute 80)

The battle to avoid the drop is far from over after third from bottom West
Ham gave themselves a great chance of survival with a victory at Man City.
Both sides created a number of decent chances, including an effort each
cleared off the line, however the goal didnt arrive until ten minutes from
the end. Joe Cole floated a free kick into the area and as Don Hutchison
scrambled the ball against the post, it rolled along the line for fellow sub
Freddie Kanoute to tap in from a matter of inches. The victory leaves the
Hammers two points behind Bolton and three adrift of Leeds.

Spurs (0) 0
Man United (0) 2 (Scholes 69, Van Nistelrooy 90)

Manchester United took another massive step towards an eighth Premiership
title with a victory at Spurs, leaving them in a position where victories in
their last two games would guarantee them the championship. United had the
better of the first half chances, notably through Ruud van Nistelrooy who
was denied on four ocassions by home keeper Kasey Keller, especially whilst
clean through twice as one shot was saved and a seperate effort smothered as
the Dutchman tried to dribble around the custodian. It was more of the same
one-way-traffic after the break as Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Van
Nistelrooy all came close, however it was Paul Scholes who eventually found
the breakthrough as he headed in Giggs' far post cross with twenty minutes
to go. Spurs rarely looked like scoring, although Gus Poyet did head just
wide late on, however in stoppage time, Van Nistelrooy put the result beyond
doubt when he drilled the ball home after Quinton Fortune had chipped the
ball into his path. Following Arsenal's draw yesterday, this is surely the
weekend that the title headed back to Old Trafford.

26 April 2003

Birmingham (2) 3 (Dugarry 18, Clemence 40, Lazaridis 80)
Middlesbrough (0) 0

Birmingham continued their good run with a comfortable win over
Middlesbrough, whose away form remains dire. Christophe Dugarry opening the
scoring with his fifth goal in four games, latching onto Stephen Clemence's
chipped pass to control and volley in. Clemence added the second himself,
driving home a quickly taken free kick from the edge of the area and then
late on, Stan Lazaridis completed the victory with a fine far post header
from a cross by Robbie Savage.

Charlton (1) 2 (Parker 32, Lisbie 50)
Southampton (0) 1 (Beattie 90)

Charlton ended their recent poor run with a good win over FA Cup finalists
Southampton, indeed the away defence may have been thinking of the big game
as they appeared to allow Scott Parker to waltz through the backline to slot
home a fine solo effort to open the scoring. Kevin Lisbie doubled the lead
with a looping header from Claus Jensen's free kick and although James
Beattie - who else - pulled one back late on with a dipping long range
volley, it was too little, too late for the Saints.

Chelsea (1) 1 (Goma (og) 39)
Fulham (0) 1 (Boa Morte 66)

Chelsea drop to fourth as the chase for a Champions League place took
another twist in the West London derby at Stamford Bridge. The hosts took
the lead when a Gianfranco Zola free kick curled against the bar and after
John Terry bundled the rebound onto the post, the ball struck Alain Goma and
bobbled over his own goal line. If that was scrappy, the equaliser was the
complete opposite as Sylvain Legwinski found Luis Boa Morte, who beat two
men before firing a shot across goal and into the far corner.

Everton (0) 2 (Campbell 59, Rooney 90)
Aston Villa (0) 1 (Allback 49)

European football is still possible for Everton next season after a last
ditch Wayne Rooney goal completed a fine comeback against Aston Villa. The
visitors took the lead when Marcus Allback crept in at the far post to score
after Dion Dubin had flicked on a cross from Joey Gudjonsson, however within
ten minutes Everton were level when Kevin Campbell headed in at the far post
from Gary Naysmith's cross. Rooney then struck in stoppage time, blasting in
from the edge of the area after an Alan Stubbs long ball was only half

Leeds United (1) 2 (Viduka 21, Smith 90)
Blackburn (1) 3 (Dunn (pen) 38, Cole 69, Todd 78)

Blackburn are also still in the search for a European spot as the spectre of
relegation continues to dwell over Leeds. The hosts took the lead at Elland
Road when Mark Viduka headed in from close range after Brad Friedel saved an
effort from Harry Kewell, however parity was restored before half time when
David Dunn scored from the penalty spot after Michael Duberry had handled.
Rovers then killed the game as firstly Andy Cole broke clear from Dwight
Yorke's pass to bundled the ball in after Paul Robinson saved his first
effort and then Andy Todd volleyed in at the far post when Robinson
mis-judged a Damien Duff corner. Alan Smith grabbed a late consolation,
heading in past the advancing keeper from Robinson's clearance, however it
wasnt enough for Leeds.

Sunderland (0) 0
Newcastle (1) 1 (Solano (pen) 43)

Newcastle regain third place thanks to a narrow win in the Wear-Tyne derby,
condeming Sunderland to a 13th successive league defeat. The only goal came
from the penalty spot after Craig Bellamy was caught by Kevin Kilbane, Nol
Solano sending the keeper the wrong way with the kick.

West Brom (0) 0
Liverpool (1) 6 (Owen 15, 49, 61, 67, Baros 47, 84)

Michael Owen netted four goals as Liverpool blitzed already relegated West
Brom with a six goal hammering. Owen got the show underway with a neat turn
and shot after Milan Baros had set him up and the early in the second half,
Baros got in on the act with a scrambled effort after Owen had got onto the
end of a Steven Gerrard cross. Two minutes later, Gerrard again crossed and
this time Baros set up Owen to score his 100th Premiership goal and on the
hour he completed his hat trick with a first time shot after Baros again
turned provider. Owen's fourth and Liverpool's fifth came shortly afterwards
as he latched onto a Danny Murphy through ball to fire in off the post and
then late on, Baros scored his second with Gerrard this time providing the
defence splitting pass.

Bolton (0) 2 (Djorkaeff 74, Keown (og) 84)
Arsenal (0) 2 (Wiltord 47, Pires 84)
RED CARD: Laville (Bolton) 89

Arsenal have handed Manchester United the initative in the title race after
relegation threatened Bolton came from two down to hold the Gunners at the
Reebok. If anything, Bolton had slightly the better of the first half and
came close when Henrik Pedersen shot across goal and wide, whilst Jay-Jay
Okocha drilled a fierce free kick goalwards which took a slight deflection
before veering off target. Remarkably, it took Arsenal until the 40th minute
to have a shot at goal when Freddie Ljungberg forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to
push his shot around the post. After the break, Arsenal took command as
Thierry Henry broke down the left to cross for Sylvain Wiltord to tap into
an empty net within two minutes of the second half starting. The lead was
doubled ten minutes later when Henry again became provider, this time for
Robert Pires to slot in from the edge of the area. It looked to be a matter
of `how many` for Arsenal, however with sixteen minutes to go, Per Frandsen
cracked a shot against the post and as the rebound fell to Youri Djorkaeff,
although his first touch was poor, he still managed to clip the ball over
David Seaman and in. The amazing comeback was complete ten minutes later
when Djorkaeff's curling free kick was glanced into his own net via the head
of Martin Keown. Late on, Florent Laville was red carded for a second
bookable offence, a late tackle on Ashley Cole, however despite six minutes
of stoppage time, Bolton held out by playing keep ball for almost the entire
duration to earn not only a crucial point in their battle to stay up, but a
result which will have been greeting with delight just across Greater
Manchester at Old Trafford as United are now two points clear with both they
and Arsenal having three games each to play.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
Leeds United and Scotland and proud of it