26 April 2006

West Ham (0) 1 (Reo-Coker 46)
Liverpool (1) 2 (Cisse 19, 54)
SENT OFF: Mullins (West Ham) 82, Luis Garcia (Liverpool) 82

Djibril Cisse scored both Liverpool goals as they won 2-1 at West Ham in
the dress rehersal for the FA Cup Final, however the game ended on a
sour note when Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia were both sent off. The
game was largely played in a good spirit with no yellow cards brandished
through and Liverpool were the ones to take the lead when Cisse drilled
a shot in off the near post from 20 yards after an excellent run and
pass from Mohammed Sissoko. The Hammers levelled in the first minute of
the second half when Bobby Zamora combined with Teddy Sheringham to set
up Nigel Reo-Coker with a tap in, however Liverpool soon regained the
lead when a volleyed pass from Robbie Fowler sent Cisse through and his
powerful prodded shot was partially saved by the keeper but still had
enough pace to dribble in. With eight minutes to go, Mullins and Garcia
battled for the ball in midfield and after losing possession, the
Liverpool man elbowed Mullins in the back, sparking the Hammers player
to retaliate with a push, which in itself saw Garcia fall to the floor
as though he'd been hit by a bus. Ultimately both were sent off and if
siubsequent appeals are upheld, both will miss the Cup Final as it will
be the third game of their three match ban.

Attendance : 34,852
Assists : Sissoko, Zamora, Fowler 

25 April 2006

Aston Villa (0) 0
Manchester City (0) 1 (Vassell 71)

Darius Vassell returned to haunt former club Aston Villa as he scored
the only goal in Man City's 1-0 win at Villa Park. It came with twenty
minutes to go as he collected a ball into the area from Claudio Reyna,
turned and found the net with a half-hit effort. Villa had a late goal
disallowed due to offside, however realistically, both clubs are looking
ahead to a better season come August.

Attendance : 26,422
Assist : Reyna

24 April 2006

Fulham (1) 1 (Malbranque 45)
Wigan (0) 0

Fulham guaranteed Premiership survival beyond all doubt with a narrow in 
against Wigan whose UEFA Cup hopes are dwindling. Fulham went ahead in 
first half stoppage time when Luis Boa Morte threaded the ball into the 
area for Steed Malbranque to control and fire into the roof of the net. 
Wigan had the better of the game as regards possession but couldn't find 
the net.

Attendance : 17,149
Assist : Boa Morte

23 April 2006

FA Cup Semi-Final

Middlesbrough (0) 0
West Ham (0) 1 (Harewood 78)

Marlon Harewood scored a stunning goal to send West Ham through to their 
first FA Cup Final since 1980 after a narrow 1-0 against Middlesbrough 
at Villa Park. Boro had the better of a largely tepid first half with 
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink having the best chance with an early header that 
was blocked, whilst Franck Queudrue also sent a header goalwards but 
over. Fabio Rochemback tried his luck with a couple of weak efforts, 
however bad luck soon hit Middlesbrough when keeper Mark Schwarzer was 
replaced by Brad Jones after suffering a fractured cheekbone after a 
challenge by Dean Ashton. West Ham needed to step up a gear in the 
second half and did just that as they dominated for long spells. Ashton 
had a header against the bar and another saved whilst Harewood and Nigel 
Reo-Coker had long range efforts off target. Boro did battle back midway 
through the half as Stuart Downing sent an effort miles wide and Fabio 
Rochemback's weak shot was saved, however with twelve minutes to go, the 
breakthrough came. A long ball forward was nodded on by Ashton and fell 
nicely to Harewood who turned and crashed a superb shot past Jones and 
inside the near post. It was time for Middlesbrough to throw the 
proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents as Queudrue sent a free kick 
over and Downing did similar from an almost identical spot. Massimo 
Maccarone blazed over from 12 yards after Yakubu had missed his kick, 
but the golden chance came in the final minute of stoppage time as Chris 
Riggott dragged his shot wide after a scramble in the area resulted in 
the ball nestling at his feet.

22 April 2006

Portsmouth 2 (Todorov 73, Taylor 88 Pen)
Sunderland 1 (Miller 70)

Portsmouth came from behind against bottom club Sunderland to give 
themselves a two point cushion ahead of the bottom three in a dramatic 
game at Fratton Park. Portsmouth dominated throughout but fell behind 
with twenty minutes left thanks to a classic counter-attack. Tommy 
Miller made the break and found Julio Arca on the right. His perfect 
cross cut out keeper and defender leaving Miller with the easiest of tap 
ins. The hosts were level inside three minutes as Svetoslav Todorov 
twisted and turned in the area and having found a yard of space, struck 
a beauty into the top corner. It looked at though they'd have to settle 
for a point only for a moment of madness from Kevin Kyle to literally 
hand them a lifeline as the striker palm the ball out of the area from a 
corner. Matt Taylor kept his nerve, accepted the gift and netted from 
the penalty spot to edge Portsmouth closer to another season in the 

Atttendance : 20,078
Assists : Arca, Priske, n/a

Everton 0
Birmingham 0

No goals at Goodison, leaving Birmingham two points from safety with two 
games to go. A poor game rarely came to life, although Everton had the 
better of it and did get the ball in the net when James Beattie scored 
from the rebound after Leon Osman's shot was saved, however he was ruled 
to have been offside.

Atttendance : 35,420
Assists : n/a

Bolton 4 (Vaz Te 14, Davies 21, Borgetti 31, Davies 89)
Chalrton 1 (Bent 76 Pen)

Bolton kept their European hopes alive by blitzing Charlton at the 
Reebok. The hosts were three up by half time, starting when Hidetoshi 
Nakata's cross was superbly headed in at the far post by Ricardo Vaz Te. 
Seven minutes later and the lead was doubled as Ivan Campo's free kick 
was helped onto the post by Jared Borgetti and then scrambled into the 
net by Kevin Davies. Borgetti wasn't to be denied though and grabbed the 
third himself as Davies set him up and having cut inside his marker, the 
Mexican walloped the ball into the roof of the net. Charlton grabbed a 
consolation courtesy of Darren Bent's penalty after keeper Jussi 
Jaaskelainen had clattered into Bothroyd, however Bolton had the 
last word as Davies netted again after keeper Thomas Myhre fumbled a 
long throw.

Atttendance : 24,713
Assists : Nakata, n/a, n/a, Bothroyd (won pen), n/a

Newcastle 3 (Solano 30, Ameobi 40 Pen, Ameobi 90)
West Brom 0

West Brom are effectively relegated after a heavy defeat at Newcastle 
whose own European hopes remain high. They went ahead after half an hour 
when Michael Chopra's shot was blocked and deflected perfectly into the 
path of Nol Solano who found the net with ease. Chopra was then pushed 
in the area by Neil Clement, allowing Shola Ameobi to score from the 
penalty spot and in the final minute, Ameobi scored again from the edge 
of the area having been sent clear by Charles N'Zogbia. West Brom now 
need to win their final pair of games and hope that Portsmouth lose both 
of theirs. Any other permeatation and West Brom are down.

Atttendance : 52,272
Assists : n/a, Chopra (won pen), N'Zogbia

Arsenal 1 (Henry 34)
Tottenham 1 (Keane 66)

Arsenal came from behind to hold Spurs in a highly charged North London 
derby at Highbury, leaving Spurs four points clear in fourth place but 
having played a game more. Spurs had the better of the first half and 
almost scored when Jermain Defoe shot at Jens Lehmann and Aaron Lennon 
drilled an effort across goal. Micheal Carrick came closest though just 
before half time when a solo run took him through the Arsenal defence, 
around the keeper and then from an acute angle could only shoot into the 
side netting. The second half was more of the same to begin with, 
however on the hour, Arsenal wasted a golden chance as Robin Van Persie 
burst through only to clip the ball over the keeper but wide of the 
post. Shortly afterwards he was subbed for the rested Thierry Henry to 
make his entrance with Cesc Fabregas joining him from the bench, however 
it was Spurs who struck with a controversial opening goal. Edgar Davids 
was put away down the left and his perfect cross was tapped in by Robbie 
Keane, leaving the home side furious at Davids for not putting the ball 
out of play with Gilberto down injured in midfield, although it has to 
be said that there is no rule stating that the should be kicked out. To 
say that it lit the blue touchpaper is an understatement as Robert Pires 
was booked for a late tackle on Defoe and Spurs keeper Paul Robinson 
pulled off a superb save from an effort by Jose Reyes. At times, the 
latter stages resembled a siege as the hosts through everything at 
Spurs, however Robinson was rarely called into action until the 84th 
minute when Emanuel Adebayor drove at the defence, clipped it through to 
Henry whose early effort bobbled inside the far post. More controversy 
ensured as Spurs felt that Paul Stalteiri had been fouled by Adebayor in 
the build up. Within two minutes, the home crowd were delirous as Davids 
was shown a second yellow card for hacking down Fabregas and in the eyes 
of the crowd, public enemy number one was off. Arsenal couldn't find a 
late winner and the final whistle brought no handshake from the two 
managers which spoke volumes.

Attendance : 38,326
Red Card : Davids 85 (Tottenham)
Assists : Davids, Adebayor

FA Cup Semi-Final

Chelsea (0) 1 (Drogba 70)
Liverpool (1) 2 (Riise 21, Garcia 53)

Chelsea's dream of the double is over after Liverpool deservedly sent 
them out of the FA Cup after a 2-1 semi final win at Old Trafford. 
Liverpool went ahead midway through the first half when John Arne Riise 
touched a free kick to Steven Gerrard and as he received it back, curled 
a low shot into the net from the edge of the area as the wall totally 
disintigrated. It came shortly after Didier Drogba missed a sitter for 
Chelsea as he burst through the middle only to clip the ball wide. He 
also sent a header wide from a decent position whilst at the other end, 
Luis Garcia sent a shot miles over from 12 yards having been set up by 
Gerrard. Chelsea began the second half well and had the ball in the net 
when John Terry headed in at the far post from Arjen Robben's free kick, 
however it was ruled out for a foul by the Chelsea defender and within 
three minutes they were further behind. William Gallas sent a poor 
defensive header back toward his own goal from midfield, however Luis 
Garcia latched onto it and as keeper Carlo Cudicini came off his line, 
the Liverpool man looped a shot over from from the edge of the area and 
into the net. Liverpool continued to be the better side as Garcia had a 
volley pushed away to safety and Peter Crouch had a header deflected 
over as Chelsea brought on Joe Cole and Damien Duff from ths subs bench. 
It seemed to spark them into action and after Robben shot straight at 
Jose Reina after a superb solo run, they finally got a goal back as a 
weak header from Riise looped into the air and as Reina rushed from his 
line, Drogba just got to it first to nod into the empty net. Chelsea 
piled forward and almost levelled matters when Drogba's nod down was 
weakly shot at goal by Robben, allowing Reina to save with ease. Into 
the last ten minutes and Liverpool were defending in depth and in 
numbers against a tidal wave of blue, however they kept Chelsea largely 
at bay until the final minute of stoppage time when Cole blazed over 
from six yards with the goal gaping. 

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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