12 May 2003

The final day of the Premiership season...

Birmingham (0) 2 (Horsfield 80, John 88)
West Ham (0) 2 (Ferdinand (L) 66, Di Canio 89)

West Ham are relegated after a topsy-turvy game at St Andrews saw them draw
against Birmingham, however results elsewhere meant that it wasnt good
enough. The Hammers should have done ahead early on when Jermaine Defoe
dallied too long having been sent clear and eventually shot at Ian Bennett,
however after a bright start to the second half, they gave themselves real
hope with the opening goal. Joe Cole was the provider with a fine cross from
the left, finding an unmarked Les Ferdinard to nod into the corner. Hope
lasted less than 15 minutes as Birmingham found a late blitz to turn the
game around, firstly when Geoff Horsfield was found by Brian Hughes to shoot
in via a deflection off of Rufus Brevett and the crossbar and then RobbIe
Savage crossed from the right for Stern John to volley in the far post, also
via the bar. Straight from the kick off, Defoe crossed for Paolo di Canio to
nod a late equaliser, however it simply wasnt to be for the Hammers.

Bolton (2) 2 (Frandsen 10, Okocha 21)
Middlesbrough (0) 1 (Ricketts 61)
RED CARD: Queudrue (Middlesbrough) 78

Bolton survived in the Premiership courtesy of a narrow win over
Middlesbrough, whose dismal away form continued to the end. Per Frandsen put
the hosts ahead early on when he robbed Jonathon Greening to surge forward
and drill a shot into the bottom corner. Ten minutes later, a superb curling
free kick from Jay-Jay Okocha effectively secured the Trotters top flight
place, although a goal from old-boy Michael Ricketts, firing in a cross from
Parnaby, did give them slight jitters. Late on, Franck Queudrue was shown a
straight red card for a late challenge on Ivan Campo, allowing Bolton to see
out the final stages with a numerical advantage.

Charlton (0) 0
Fulham (1) 1 (Saha (pen) 33)
RED CARD: Kiely (Charlton) 31
MISSED PEN: Euell (Charlton) 63

Fulham ended with a win against Charlton, whose promise for the majority of
the season ended as a damp squib. The key moment came just after the half
hour when Dean Kiely was sent off for clattering into Louis Saha as he bore
down on goal. The Frenchman dispatched the penalty which ultimately won the
encounter. Charlton had a chance to level matters in the second half when
Jason Euell was fouled by Alain Goma, however he picked himself to take the
spot kick only for Maik Taylor to palm the ball away.

Chelsea (2) 2 (Desailly 14, Gronkjaer 27)
Liverpool (1) 1 (Hyypia 11)
RED CARD: Gerrard (Liverpool) 90

Chelsea clinch the final Champions League place ahead of Liverpool after
coming from behind to beat the Merseysiders at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool,
who needed a victory to earn that elusive spot themselves, began well and
took the lead when Sami Hyypia headed in a Danny Murphy cross, however just
three minutes later, Marcel Desailly equalised when he did similar to a
Jesper Gronkjaer ball, the effort flying in off the post. Chelsea then
clinched the points as Gronkjaer cut in from the right and curled a superb
shot past Jerzy Dudek and into the far corner. In stoppage time, Liverpool
were reduced to ten men as Steven Gerrard's frustrations got the better of
him in a heavy challenge on Graeme Le Saux, earning a second yellow card.

Everton (1) 1 (Campbell 8)
Man United (1) 2 (Beckham 43, Van Nistelrooy (pen) 79)

Champions Man United ended the season with yet another victory as they came
from behind to beat Everton, denying their opponents a UEFA Cup spot. The
hosts took the lead when Thomas Gravesen crossed for Kevin Campbell to head
home, however with half time approaching, David Beckham levelled the scores
with a trademark free kick. United won it late on when Ruud Van Nistelrooy
ended his season with his 44th goal of the campaign, a penalty after he'd
been fouled by Alan Stubbs.

Leeds (1) 3 (Harte 8, Barmby 80, Viduka 90)
Aston Villa (1) 1 (Gudjonsson 40)

Leeds ended their disappointing season in style with a victory over Aston
Villa, lifting them above their opponents in the table. Ian Harte gave the
hosts a great start, curling a quickly taken free kick past Stefan Postma,
however Joey Gudjonsson equalised before half time with a scorching 30-yard
effort. Two late goals won it for Leeds, firstly when Nick Barmby netted at
the far post after Harte's corner was helped on by Dominic Matteo and then
in stoppage time, Mark Viduka sped clear to latch onto Barmby's through
ball, round Postma and slot home.

Man City (0) 0
Southampton (1) 1 (Svensson (M) 34)

Man City's final game at Maine Road ended in defeat against Southampton as
the visitors warmed up succesfully for next weekend's FA Cup Final. The only
goal came from Michael Svensson as he found space to head home a cross from
Matt Oakley, beating keeper Peter Schmeichel who was playing his final game
before retirement.

Sunderland (0) 0
Arsenal (2) 4 (Henry 7, Ljungberg 38, 78, 88)

Arsenal ended their league season in spectacular fashion as they followed up
their six goals in midweek with another four at Sunderland, who slumped to
their 15th defeat in the row and are relegated with a host of unwanted
records. Thierry Henry started the scoring, finishing well after Dennis
Bergkamp set him up, however the plaudits go to Freddie Ljungberg who then
hit Arsenal's third hat trick in two games! Firstly the Swede netted after
Henry laid the ball off for him and late in the second half, added his
second when he again took advantage of an unselfish pass from Henry to clip
home. The hat trick goal came with two minutes remaining as he again
capitalised on a pass from Henry to finish coolly.

Spurs (0) 0
Blackburn (1) 4 (Yorke 5, Hignett 45, Duff 48, Cole 60)
RED CARD: Poyet (Spurs) 31

Blackburn clinched a UEFA Cup spot after crushing Spurs at White Hart Lane,
increasing the pressure on under fire boss Glenn Hoddle. Dwight Yorke opened
the scoring early on when he swept home Andy Cole's cross and then on the
half hour, Spurs were reduced to ten men when Garry Flitcroft was left with
blood seeping from a knee wound after an awful two footed tackle from Gus
Poyet who was rightly red carded. On half time, Craig Hignett doubled the
lead with a superb volley from the edge of the area and early in the second
half, Damien Duff made in three after Spurs failed to clear the ball. On the
hour, Duff rounded Kasey Keller to set up Cole for the fourth and final nail
in the Spurs coffin.

West Brom (0) 2 (Dobie 57, 72)
Newcastle (1) 2 (Jenas 43, Viana 80)

A nothing game at the Hawthorns, however relegated West Brom and third
placed Newcastle provided excellent entertainment nonetheless. Jermaine
Jenas gave the visitors the lead with a header from Nol Solano's cross,
however two second half goals from Scott Dobie turned the game around as he
first prodded home an equaliser and then fifteen minutes later, curled a
fine effort inside the far post. Hugo Viana earned the visitors a point late
on when he netted with a superb free kick.

8 May 2003

Arsenal (5) 6 (Pires 9, 23, 47, Pennant 16, 19, 26)
Southampton (1) 1 (Tessem 35)

Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant both scored hat tricks as Arsenal
demolished Southampton in the dress rehersal for the FA Cup Final later this
month. The Gunners put the weekend's disappointment behind them quickly with
five goals in seventeen first half minutes, including a ten minute hat trick
for Pennant, although it was Pires who began the fun with a volley from a
tricky angle after Ray Parlour's shot was saved. Pennant then opened his
account after Giovanni van Bronckhurst found him in the area, his shot found
the far bottom corner unerringly. Four minutes later, he doubled his tally
with a close range header after Thierry Henry's shot was deflected and then
saved, before Pires added his second and Arsenal's fourth after a slick
interchange of passing, culminating in Henry's through ball. Henry was again
involved in the fifth, slotting Pennant through again to find that same
bottom corner to complete his quick fire trio, before Saints gained some
respectability with a consolation, Jo Tessem volleying in at the far post
from Wayne Bridge's cross. Early in the second half, Pires completed his hat
trick, and the overall scoring, with a superb 30 yard chip after a mistake
from Paul Telfer gave him what was little more than a half chance.

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