30 August 2004

Portsmouth (3) 4 (Berkovic 19, Yakuku (pen) 22, 28, 71)
Fulham (2) 3 (Cole 39, Boa Morte 41, Bocanegra 75)

Portsmouth striker Yakubu scored a hat trick as his side edged past Fulham
in a sensational seven goal thriller at Fratton Park. An astonishing first
half saw Portsmouth tear into a three goal lead with a nine minute goal
blitz. The first came from Eyal Berkovic who volleyed home superbly from the
edge of the area after Yakubu's shot was blocked. Two minutes later,
debutant Ricardo Fuller, a new signing from Preston and a constant threat,
was brought down in the area by Luis Boa Morte after a superb surge into the
box and the penalty was converted, albeit via the crossbar, by Yakubu. He
also added the third, latching on to a Fuller head to drill into the bottom
corner. The game looked over, however Fulham staged a recovery before half
time, firstly from an Andy Cole header back across goal and into the net
after a deep cross from Boa Morte and then the roles were reversed as Cole
played Boa Morte through to drive home. More of the same followed after the
break, although the goals weren't as quick to arrive, not that it was for
the want of trying as Sylvain Legwinski was denied by Shaka Hislop whilst
through and then the keeper made a miraculous save from a Cole header.
Yakubu completed his treble when he was found unmarked in the area by
Berkovic and slotted calmly into the corner. Four minutes later, Fulham were
back to just a goal behind when Boa Morte's free kick was powered in by the
head of Carlos Bocanegra, however an equaliser wouldn't arrive for the
visitors late on. On a final unsavoury note, Fulham's Moritz Volz was
bundled over the ad hoardings and into the crowd midway through the second
half and was accused of kicking a supporter in the head, allegations that
we'll likely hear more of in the near future.

Man United (0) 0
Everton (0) 0

The first goalless draw of the Premiership season came, somewhat
surprisingly, at Old Trafford as two of the three clubs involved in the
Wayne Rooney saga failed to find the net. Ultimately it was a frustrating
outing for the home side who hit the post on three occasions with Cristiano
Ronaldo and Alan Smith striking wood with firm efforts and Paul Scholes
doing similar later in the game. Everton felt that they should have been
awarded a penalty when Mikael Silvestre appeared to handle in the area,
however no spot kick was given.

29 August 2004

Bolton (1) 1 (Davies 38)
Liverpool (0) 0

Bolton regain third spot with a narrow win against Liverpool at the Reebok.
Liverpool started with new arrivals Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia in the
starting line up and had the better of an admittedly tepid opening half an
hour, despite chances being rare at both ends, however ultimately the hosts
took the lead seven minutes before half time. Henrik Pedersen was the
provider with a fine run down the left flank. His cross went right across
the six-yard area to find Kevin Davies unmarked at the far post and having
taken his time to control the ball, then prodded it into the net past two
men on the line to register his first of the season. The second half was
more of the same with the visitors rarely causing Bolton any problems until
late on when Garcia had a goal very unluckily ruled out for offside, whilst
sub Djibril Cisse shot wide having been sent clear.

28 August 2004

Blackburn (1) 1 (Dickov 17)
Man United (0) 1 (Smith 90)
RED CARD: Amoruso (Blackburn) 71

Alan Smith scored a stoppage time equaliser as Man United snatched a point
away at ten-man Blackburn. The home side took an early lead when a long
throw was controlled in the area by Paul Dickov who then turned and shot
into the opposite corner. Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel made a string of
superb reaction saved to keep United at bay, however once Lorenzo Amoruso
was sent off for a second bookable offence, a barge on Louis Saha as he
burst through, it was backs against the wall stuff for Rovers. They held out
until the fourth minute of injury time when a long ball from Paul Scholes
hit Louis Saha on the hand as he looked to find space, falling perfectly for
Smith who lashed it into the roof of the net. A deserved point for United,
but controversy over the way it was gained.

Aston Villa (1) 4 (Mellberg 4, Cole 53, Barry 71, Angel 82)
Newcastle (2) 2 (Kluivert 28, O'Brien 36)

Aston Villa came from behind to beat Newcastle, who started with Alan
Shearer on the bench, rested from a league game for the first time in three
years. The home side took the lead when Olof Mellberg headed home Nol
Solano's corner, however by half time, Newcastle had turned things around
when Patrick Kluivert scored his first goal for the club, slotting home
Nicky Butt's through ball and then Andy O'Brien nodded in Craig Bellamy's
near post cross. Villa levelled matters when Carlton Cole bundled the ball
off his chest from close range after Gareth Barry's shot was saved and the
Barry put them ahead with a far post header from Solano's cross. Juan Pablo
Angel wrapped things up late on when his shot from the edge of the area was
deflected and looped over Shay Given and into the net.

Chelsea (2) 2 (Beattie (og) 34, Lampard (pen) 41)
Southampton (1) 1 (Beattie 12 seconds)

James Beattie scored at both ends as Chelsea maintained their 100% start to
the season. It began badly for them when Joe Cole's misplaced pass was
lobbed in first time from 25 yards by Beattie after just 12 seconds, the
fourth quickest goal since the formation of the Premiership twelve years
ago. Just over half an hour later, Beattie did it again, this time sending
the ball past his own keeper after Eidur Gudjohnsen had nodded on a corner.
The winner came shortly afterwards when Claus Lundekvam handled in the area,
although he claimed that he was pushed in the back. Frank Lampard converted
the penalty, although he did slip as he struck the ball.

Everton (1) 2 (Osman 2, 70)
West Brom (1) 1 (Dobie 7)

Three goals, three headers as Everton eased past West Brom at Goodison. With
Wayne Rooney on his way out, youngster Leon Osman took the plaudits with
both goals, the first with a far post header after Kevin Kilbane had helped
on a long throw and in the second half, he glanced home Lee Carsley's free
kick from close range. The Baggies did equalise early on when Scott Dobie's
near post header from Jonathon Greening's corner found the net, but Everton
collected the points.

Man City (2) 4 (Anelka 13, 60, Sinclair 34, Wright-Phillips 78)
Charlton (0) 0

Man City finally found form as they walloped Charlton who continue to blow
hot and cold. Nik Anelka scored the opener from the edge of the area after
Robbie Fowler's dummy allowed a Danny Mills pass to reach him. Star of the
show was Shaun Wright-Phillips whose run and cross led to an interception by
???, however he slipped and as keeper Dean Kiely hammered the ball clear, it
struck Trevor Sinclair and flew in. Wright-Phillips then found a superb
through ball for Anelka to run onto and finish well and the combination was
reversed late on when Anelka set up Wright-Phillips who found the top corner
with a brilliant first time shot from 30 yards.

Middlesbrough (0) 2 (Popovic (og) 61, Hasselbaink 78)
Crystal Palace (0) 1 (Johnson (pen) 52)

Middlesbrough came from behind to see off bottom club Crystal Palace with
all goals coming in the second half. The visitors took the lead when Andy
Johnson was fouled in the area by Chris Riggott and then converted the
penalty with a blasted effort. Boro were level within ten minutes when
Stuart Downing's cross bobbled across the area and went in past his own
keeper via the leg of Tony Popovic at the far post. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
scored the clincher, finding the top corner with a stunning free kick.

Spurs (1) 1 (Defoe 35)
Birmingham (0) 0

Spurs continued their excellent start with a narrow win against Birmingham.
The only goal came, predictably, from Jermain Defoe, whose solo run saw him
skip past three men before finding the bottomm corner from the edge of the

Norwich (0) 1 (Huckerby (pen) 50)
Arsenal (3) 4 (Reyes 22, Henry 36, Pires 40, Bergkamp 90)

Four wins out of four now for Arsenal as they tore into Norwich at Carrow
Road with a blistering first half display. It took the Gunners half of the
opening period to take the lead when Thierry Henry's run to the byline led
to him crossing for Jose Antonio Reyes to tap in at the far post. Henry
netted the second himself, powerfully heading in Freddie Ljungberg's cross
and within four minutes, he was at the heart of things again as he robbed
Simon Charlton in the penalty area, setting up Robert Pires to slot in. To
their credit, Norwich battled back after the break and got a reward when
Darren Huckerby was tripped in the area by Justin Hoyte, Huckerby sending
keeper Jens Lehmann the wrong way with the spot kick. The visiting stopper
made a couple of other decent saves later in the half as Norwich attempted
an audacious recovery, but ultimately it wasn't to be as the final word, in
stoppage time, went to Arsenal as Henry's long cross was gathered by Dennis
Bergkamp who crashed the ball inside the near post.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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