19 April 2006

Birmingham (0) 2 (Butt 62, Forssell 87)
Blackburn (0) 1 (Savage 78)

Birmingham are out of the bottom three on goal difference after a late 
winner from sub Mikael Forssell gave them a priceless win against 
Blackburn. All the goals came in the final half an hour, starting with 
Nicky Butt sweeping in a cross from Julian Gray. Former Blues star 
Robbie Savage was jeered throughout on his return to St Andrews, however 
it was almost written that he'd silence the fans somehow and he did just 
that with the equaliser as he found the net after Maik Taylor had saved 
superbly from Sergio Peter. With three minutes to go, Forssell sent the 
home fans delirious as he controlled a cross from Gray again and fired 
crisply home.

Attendance : 25,287
Assists : Gray, n/a, Gray

18 April 2006

Wigan (1) 3 (Bullard 25, Camara 56, 60)
Aston Villa (0) 2 (Angel 53, Ridgewell 67)

Wigan's European dreams are still alive after a narrow win against Villa 
who probably cannot wait for their dismal season to end. The hosts went 
ahead with a beauty as Jimmy Bullard latched onto a poor clearance to 
send an acrobatic volley into the top corner from the edge of the area, 
however it was in the second half that the fun began as the game was 
decided by four goals in a crazy eleven minute spell. It began with 
Villa equalising as Juan Pablo Angel thumped in Gabriel Agbonlahor's 
cross for a rare goal, however Wigan were quick to regain their lead 
when Henri Camara scored a superb solo goal, culminating with a crisp 
shot inside the near post. Four minutes later, he scored again after 
exchanging passes with Pascal Chimbonda, but Villa battled back and 
pulled within a goal of a draw when Liam Ridgewell tucked Gareth Barry's 
cross under the keeper, the ball just having enough pace to trundle over 
the line.

Attendance : 17,330
Assists : n/a, Agbonlahor, ?, Chimbonda, Barry

17 April 2006

Tottenham (0) 1 (Jenas 53)
Manchester United (0) 2 (Rooney 8, 36)

Two Wayne Rooney goals keep Man United's slim title hopes alive with a 
2-1 win at Spurs whose own hopes of hanging onto fourth place took a 
dent. United opened the scoring with a classic counter-attack as Ruud 
Van Nistelrooy found Cristiano Ronaldo in space on the left and his 
cross was slid in at the far post by Rooney. The second was down to 
inept defending by Young-Pyo Lee who dallied with the ball in his own 
area and was robbed by Ji-Sing Park who gave Rooney a gift to score at 
the near post. Another gift gave Spurs some hope early in the second 
half when a Robbie Keane corner should have been headed powerfully away 
by Nemanja Vidic, however his header hit team mate Rio Ferdinand and 
gave Jermaine Jenas a tap in from a matter of a yard.

Attendance : 36,141
Assists : Ronaldo, n/a, n/a

Charlton (0) 2 (Hughes 76, Bent (D) 83)
Portsmouth (1) 1 (D'Alessandro 40)

Portsmouth were fourteen minutes away from putting distance between 
themselves and the bottom three when the proverbial roof fell in at 
Charlton. They went ahead with a beauty of a goal from Andres 
D'Alessandro who collected a throw-in by the corner flag, beat two men 
and fired in a cracking shot from the right edge of the area into the 
opposite top corner. The lead lasted until the latter stages when 
Charlton equalised as Darren Bent's low cross was turned in at the near 
post by Bryan Hughes. Even a point would have been okay for the 
strugglers, however it wasn't to be as, with seven minutes to go, 
Hermann Hreidarsson's header sent Bent clear and he finished clinically 
to leave Pompey looking anxiously over their shoulders.

Attendance : 25,419
Assists : O'Neil (throw-in), Bent, Hreidarsson

Chelsea (1) 3 (Lampard 28, Drogba 62, Essien 74)
Everton (0) 0
SENT OFF: Carsley (Everton) 47

Chelsea are one point away from guaranteeing a second successive 
Premiership title after a comfortable win against Everton. They went 
ahead when Didier Drogba's tackle and pass found Frank Lampard and he 
struck a trademark shot into the bottom corner. Everton cause was 
hampered further when Lee Carsley was shown a straight red for a late 
challenge on Drogba, although a different official on a different day 
may have shown yellow instead. Chelsea took full advantage and doubled 
the lead when Lampard's corner was headed in powerfully at the near post 
by Drogba and the third followed when Claude Makelele found Michael 
Essien and having made space, he arrowed a shot into the top corner. 
Only Man United could stop Chelsea now and the pair meet on the 29th 
April with Chelsea knowing that just a draw will be enough.

Attendance : 41,765
Assists : Drogba, Lampard (ck), Makelele

Middlesbrough (1) 2 (Hasselbaink 41, Maccarone (pen) 57)
West Ham (0) 0

The pre-run for next Sunday's FA Cup semi final ended with Middlesbrough 
gaining a psychological advantage over West Ham thanks to a goal in each 
half. Boro made NINE changes from Saturday's defeat at Portsmouth and 
although the Hammers began well, Boro were ahead by half time when a 
cross from Matthew Bates was crisply finished by Jimmy Floyd 
Hasselbaink. The win was secured early in the second half when youngster 
Adam Johnson was barged over in the area by Shaun Newton and Massimo 
Maccarone made no mistake from the spot.

Attendance : 27,658
Assists : Bates, Johnson (won pen)

Sunderland (1) 1 (Hoyte 32)
Newcastle (0) 4 (Chopra 60, Shearer (pen) 61, N'Zogbia 66, Luque 87)

The final Tyne-Wear league derby for at least one season ended with 
Newcastle hammering doomed Sunderland on their own patch. It began well 
for already relegated Sunderland and they went ahead when Dean 
Whitehead's cross was tapped in by Justin Hoyte, however six minutes of 
second half madness turned the game around. Firstly, Newcastle brought 
on Michael Chopra as sub and within seconds, he'd capitalised on an 
awful misunderstanding between keeper Kelvin Davis and Stephen Caldwell 
to tap the ball over the line. At the time of writing, I'm not certain, 
but it's close to beating Shaun Goater's Prem record for the quickest 
ever goal from a sub. Within a minute, Newcastle scored again when Hoyte 
fouled Charles N,Zogbia in the area and Alan Shearer walloped home the 
penalty. It could well be Shearer's last ever goal in his career as he 
was later taken off with a knee injury and as he's due to retire at the 
end of the season, another appearance looks unlikely. Newcastle then 
turned the screw and added a third as N,Zogbia embarked on a sensational 
solo run, evading the attentions of five players before scoring and late 
on, Albert Luque netted a rare goal as he ran half the length of the 
pitch before clipping in after another defensive mix-up.

Attendance : 40,032
Assists : n/a, n/a, Ameobi (won pen), n/a, n/a

West Brom (0) 0
Bolton (0) 0

Goalless in a poor game at the Hawthorns as West Brom move to within 
three points of safety at the bottom, whilst Bolton remain in with a 
shout of a European place. Bolton had the better possession in a scrappy 
first half, however West Brom created the best, and only, chance when 
Zoltan Gera's deflected header was somehow kept out by a combination of 
keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and defender Nicky Hunt. After the break 
things were much the same with attempts few and far between, although 
Steve Watson's lob went across goal rather than towards and Gera nodded 
another effort over. Sub Ricardo Vaz Te livened things up late on for 
the visitors and sent a volley wide but the breakthrough wouldn't come 
for Bolton. Arguably the best chances of the game came in the final 
minute as Neil Clement headed just over for West Brom and then Kevin 
Nolan bobbled a shot over from six yards out for Bolton.

Attendance : 23,181
Assist : n/a

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