30 December 2006

CHARLTON 2 (Bent 57, Hughes 90)
ASTON VILLA 1 (Barry 39 Pen)

Charlton came from behind to see off stuttering Aston Villa thanks to a last minute winner. Villa went ahead when Gareth Barry was fouled in the area by Hermann Hreidarsson and having got to his feet, blasted a trademark spot kick into the roof of the net. It was an eventful day for Barry who was sent off on the hour for bringing down ennis Rommedalh in full flow, however by then Charlton were level when Talal El Kharkouri's long ball was nodded inside the far post by Darren Bent. Villa had a glorious chance to win it late on when Gabriel Agbonlahor prodded a shot inches wide as the keeper came out and it proved vital as Charlton won it a minute. Hreidarsson nodded a cross back across goal and Bryan Hughes somehow tristed his neck around to head the ball inside the post to earn a valuable victory.

Attendance : 26,699
Red Card : Barry 60 (Aston Villa)
Assists : Barry (won pen), El Karkouri, n/a

BLACKBURN 2 (Nonda 9, McCarthy 74)
MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Yakubu 61 Pen)

Blackburn left it late to see off Middlesbrough, leaving their opponents just one place above the drop zone. Rovers took an early lead when a long ball from Lucas Neill was finished well by Shabani Nonda, however Neill turned villain in the second half when he hauled by Emmanuel Pogatetz in the area, allowing Yakubu to calmly slot a penalty into the bottom corner. The winner came from Benni McCarthy for the second game in a row as he headed in a cross from Robbie Savage.

Attendance : 22,653
Assists : Neill, Pogatetz (won pen), Savage

BOLTON 3 (Faye 30, Campo 40, Anelka 63)
PORTSMOUTH 2 (Taylor 2, Cole 89)

Bolton won the battle of the Champions League pretenders despite Portsmouth taking an early lead at the Reebok, The goal came from Matt Taylor and, usually for him, it wasn't from 45 yards as he wriggled through the defence after latching onto Benjani's reverse pass and having rounded the keeper, slotted into an empty net. Bolton were level when keeper David James missed his punch from Gary Speed's corner and Abdoulaye Faye nodded in from close range. James then saved well from Kevin Davies only for Ivan Campo to head in off the bar and in the second half, the away keeper spilled a deflected cross from Davies again and left Nik Anelka with a gaping goal which he didn't miss. Andrew Cole netted late on after a solo run and crisp shot but Bolton held on for all three points.

Attendance : 22,447
Assists : n/a, n/a, n/a, n/a, Davis

CHELSEA 2 (Lampard 33, Drogba 62)
FULHAM 2 (Volz 16, Bocanegra 84)

Chelsea blew a lead for the second home game in a row as West London rivals Fulham came from behind to earn a point. The visitors actually took an early lead when Franck Queudrue's long throw was dummied by Thomasz Radzinski and controlled and fired in by Moritz Volz. Normal service seemed to see resumed when Frank Lampard's shot was deflected into his own net by Liam Rosenior and in the second half, Lampard's cross was headed in by Didier Drogba. Chelsea however are missing the injured John Terry big time and it showed late on when THREE Chelsea players missed a cross from Queudrue and after Brian McBride's shot was saved, Carlos Bocanegra was left with a tap in.

Attendance : 41,926
Assists : n/a, n/a, Lampard, n/a

EVERTON 3 (Anichebe 9, 58, Neville 62)

Everton recorded a fine win over Newcastle although the final score did flatter them slightly. 18-year old Victor Anichebe was the hero with two goals, firstly when he scrambled the ball in after Joseph Yobo's header was blocked and then again from close range after his initial header had hit the bar when Andy Johnson headed on Mikael Arteta's corner. Between the goals, Newcastle blew a golden chance to equalise after Kieron Dyer was clattered in the area by Leon Osman, however to call the penalty from Obafemi Martins poor would be an understatement. It was awful as his effort went high and wide of the net. The third Everton strike was a rarity as Phil Neville scored his first league goal in four years as he hit a free kick from Arteta into the ground only for it to loop over the keeper and into the net.

Attendance : 38,682
Assists : n/a, n/a, Arteta (fk)

MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Solskjaer 33, Ronaldo 59, 77)
READING 2 (Sonko 38, Lita 90)

Man United go six points clera after a hard fought win against Reading in yet another game dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star crossed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to score from a near post header, however Reading were level when Ibrahim Sonko beat keeper Edwin Van Der Sar to a Nicky Shorey free kick to nod in. Cometh the hour cometh the man as Ronaldo put United ahead with a tap in after Solskjaer's angled drive hit the post and he added a third with a far post volley from Ryan Giggs'. Between his brace, Reading were reduced to ten men when Sam Sodje pulled back Wayne Rooney to earn his second yellow card in five minutes, however they kept battling and scored again late on when a long kick from keeper Marcus Hahnemann found Leroy Lita who slotted the ball through Van Der Sar's legs.

Attendance : 75,910
Red Card : Sodje 69 (Reading)
Assists : Ronaldo, Shorey (fk), n/a, Giggs, n/a

LIVERPOOL 1 (Luis Garcia 45)

Liverpool end Spurs excellent home run with a narrow win at White Hart Lane. The only goal came in first half stoppage time as Didier Zokora was dispossessed on the edge of his own area and after Steven Gerrard mis-hit his shot, Luis Garcia bobbled it in from close range.

Attendance : 36,170
Assist : n/a

MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Beasley 83)

Two away wins in four days has lifted Man City into mid-table, however their latest victims West Ham remain in the bottom three. The hosts had the better of things only to concede late on when Georgios Samaras found DeMarcus Beasley and after a fine run, he fired in at the near post.

Attendance : 34,574
Assist : Samaras


Sheffield United eased their relegation fears with a suprb win at home to Arsenal. The only goal was a beauty as Alan Quinn played the ball into Christian Nade, howerver he let it rool through his own legs which deceived marker Kolo Toure and then chased the loose ball, reaching it just before the advancing Jens Lehmann and clipping a lovely shot in from the edge of the area. In the second half, home keeper Paddy Kenny pulled a thigh muscle and with no sub keeper on the bench, Phil Jagielka went between the sticks but was rarely threatened by the Gunners until late on when he made a fine reaction save from Robin Van Persie.

Attendance : 32,086
Assist : A Quinn

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