16 January 2005

Middlesbrough (1) 1 (Zenden 26)
Everton (0) 1 (Cahill 76)

Honours even at the Riverside as two of the Champions League hopefuls
met. Middlesbrough went ahead when a through ball from Joseph Desire Job
was missed by Tony Hibbert and as keeper Richard Wright came off his
line, Bolo Zenden chipped him perfectly, despite the despairing lunge on
the line from Alan Stubbs. It was harsh on Everton for whom Lee Carsley
had earlier hit the bar and following the goal, home keeper Mark
Schwarzer saved well from a Marcus Bent volley. Everton began the second
half well and after James Beattie had bobbled an effort against the
post, they grabbed a deserved equaliser. Hibbert was the provider with a
deep cross met by the head of sub Duncan Ferguson who nod back across
goal was bundled in by Tim Cahill.

Assists : Job, Ferguson

Fulham (0) 1 (Bouba Diop 90)
West Brom (0) 0

A goal half a minute into stoppage time gave Fulham a vital win over
bottom club West Brom, however the visitors will feel hard done by after
dominating the game from the opening minute when Robert Earnshaw shot
wide whilst through. Along with debutant Kevin Campbell, the Welshman
missed a number of decent chances and late on, Ronnie Wallwork was
inches wide after a shot struck his foot and dribbled past the post.
Fulham's only real spell came just before half time when Luis Boa Morte
had a shot saved and then headed wide within a minute, however as the
game entered the final stages, a Mark Pembridge corner was floated in
and met perfectly by the head of the unmarked Papa Bouba Diop who
powered in his header from close range.

Assists : Pembridge (ck)

15 January 2005

Liverpool (0) 0
Man United (1) 1 (Rooney 21)
SENT OFF: Brown (Man United) 65

Man United win at Anfield for the third season in a row for the first
time in their history, despite playing the last half an hour with only
ten men. Liverpool began well but were caught by a bolt from the blue by
returning Scouser Wayne Rooney. The former Everton man collected a pass
from Cristiano Ronaldo on the left, cut inside and struck a low shot
goalwards from 25 yards which deceived keeper Jerzy Dudek who seemed to
dive over the ball - not his first error in the history of the fixture -
and whilst Rooney's `Ears` celebration directly in front of the Kop was
perhaps understandable, the decision to do it was borne of youthful
naiveity. The goal unsettled the home side and United almost doubled
their lead when Roy Keane almost broke the crossbar with a stinging
volley from the edge of the area. Big money debutant Fernando Morientes
was kept largely at arms length and after one header on target, he sent
another wide and volleyed over, although none were really clear cut. In
the second half, United were reduced to ten men when Wes Brown was shown
a second yellow card for a lunging tackle which sent John Arne Riise
sprawling, however despite stacks on late possession, Liverpool rarely
looked like breaking United down although Luis Garcia volleyed wide and
keeper Roy Carroll saved well from a shot by Jamie Carragher. Overall, a
deserved win which keeps United just about in touch at the top.

Assist : Ronaldo

Aston Villa (2) 3 (Ridgewell 9, Hendrie 27, Solano 76)
Norwich (0) 0

Nol Solano was the star of the show as Villa put their European
aspirations back on the right track against relegation probables
Norwich. The Peruvian ran the show and provided the free kick cross
which led to Liam Ridgewell heading in the opening goal, his first
league striek for the club. The lead was doubled when Solano found Juan
Pablo Angel who sent Lee Hendrie through to score with a side footed
effort from the edge of the box and late on, Solano snatched a well
deserved goal of his own with a close range header after Hendrie's mis-
hit volley bobbled across goal.

Assists : Solano (fk), Angel, Hendrie

Charlton (1) 3 (El Karkouri 9, Bartlett 67, Murphy 75)
Birmingham (0) 1 (Melchiot 55)

Charlton are also battling for a European place after a comfortable win
against mis-firing Birmingham, although they needed a freakish effort to
get started. It came from Talal El Kargkouri who floated in a free kick
from fully 50 yards out and it deceived everyone and bounced past the
standing keeper to nestle inside the far post. Early in the second half,
Birmingham were level when Darren Anderton's corner was thundered into
the net via the head of Mario Melchiot, however it didn't take long for
the hosts to regain the lead when sub Francis Jeffers crossed for Shaun
Bartlett to slide in at the far post and score. Jeffers was also
involved in the third as he sent Danny Murphy through to provide a cool

Assists : Bartlett (won fk), Anderton (ck), Jeffers, Jeffers

Man City (2) 3 (Wright-Phillips (S) 12, 90, Fowler 15)
Crystal Palace (1) 1 (Powell 32)

Crystal Palace remain in the relegation dogfight after a defeat at Man
City which put the hosts back into the top half of the table. Robbie
Fowler was at the heart of everything for City, although it was young
pretender Joey Barton who set up the opener for Shaun Wright-Phillips to
burst into the area and fire home. Three minutes later, a long ball
found Fowler who shook off his marker to drill home from a tight angle.
Palace pulled one back against the run of play when Wayne Routledge's
cross was nodded in by Darren Powell, however City clinched the points
in stoppage time when Fowler's cross was stabbed in by Wright-Phillips

Assists : Barton, n/a, Routledge (fk), Fowler

Newcastle (2) 2 (Shearer (pen) 9, Bramble 38)
Southampton (1) 1 (Crouch 42)

Newcastle heaped more misery onto Harry Redknapp who still seeks his
first league win as Southampton boss. It began badly for the visitors
when Shola Ameobi burst through only to be pulled back by the shirt by
Calum Davenport. A penalty was awarded and although Davenport stayed on,
keeper Antti Niemi wasn't so lucky having collected a leg injury as he
collided with Ameobi, resulting in sub keeper Paul Smith replacing him
for his debut, although his first duty was to be beaten by Alan
Shearer's well struck penalty. The lead was doubled when Celestine
Babayaro's free kick was hooked in at the near post by the unlikely
figure of Titus Bramble, however Saints gave themselves hope when Peter
Crouch volleyed in from close range after Kevin Phillips had hit the bar
with a header. With time running out, Southampton felt they deserved the
chance to equalise with a penalty after Crouch appeared to be kicked in
the back of the legs by Bramble, however play was waved on.

Assists : Ameobi (won pen), Babayaro (fk), n/a, 

Portsmouth (0) 0
Blackburn (0) 1 (Pedersen 55)
SENT OFF: Lua-Lua (Portsmouth) 51, Faye (Portsmouth) 90

Portsmouth ended their home game with Blackburn having lost 1-0 and with
two men sent off as tempers flared at Fratton Park. The fun and games
began in the second half when Amdy Faye was booked for an awful two-
footed tackle on , however after play restarted, Lomana Lua-Lua aimed a
headbutt off the ball at Andy Todd and was promptly sent off, although
he had to be restrained by his team mates and was escorted off. The
visitors then went ahead when David Thompson sent up Morten Pedersen to
clip home a superb shot with the outside of his boot and in stoppage
time, the red mist came down again as Faye, lucky to still be on the
pitch after his earlier indiscretion, caught keeper Brad Friedel late
with another studs first tackle and was shown a second yellow card.

Assist : Thompson

Spurs (0) 0
Chelsea (1) 2 (Lampard (pen) 39, 90)

Chelsea move ten points clear after overcoming Spurs in a potential
tricky London derby at White Hart Lane. The in form hosts felt hard done
by after Chelsea were awarded a penalty after Ledley was adjudged to
have caught Alexei Smertin in the area. Frank Lampard stepped up and
beat Paul Robinson from the penalty spot although the keeper did guess
correctly. The points were secured in stoppage time when a superb run by
Eidur Gudjohnsen saw him cut the ball back for Lampard to drill in his
second from the edge of the area.

Assists : Smertin (won pen), n/a

Bolton (1) 1 (Giannakpolous 41)
Arsenal (0) 0

Arsenal lose ground on leaders Chelsea after their first ever defeat at
the Reebok stadium against Bolton. The home side were good value for all
three points as well and they clinched them when Stelios Giannakopolous
rose at the far post to nod in El-Hadji Diouf's cross. The Gunners could
have levelled matters, however Robert Pires headed wide from close range
after Jussi Jaaskalainen had saved well from Robin Van Persie.

Assist : Diouf

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