7 April 2007

PORTSMOUTH 2 (Taylor 30, Ferdinand 89 og)

The lead at the top of the Premiership remains at three points after Man United crashed to defeat in a pulsating game at Portsmouth.

Portsmouth went ahead on the half hour although United only had themselves to blame as Kieron Richardson lost possession in his last third and the ball fell nicely for Benjani. His bullet shot saw Edwin Van Der Sar do the same as he did against Roma in midweek and parry it straight in front of him and Matty Taylor did well to get to the ball ahead of Rio Ferdinand to steer it into the net. United battled back as Michael Carrick fizzed a shot wide and Darren Fletcher brought a good save out of David James who was sporting a Brian Blessed style beard! In first half stoppage time, United's defenders left a through ball to each other and as Taylor nipped in, Van Der Sar did well to keep his clipped effort out.

Early in the second half, Van Der Sar again parried a shot out from Nwankwo Kanu however this time there was no follow up but in general United did the majority of the attacking and in one amazing five second spell, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer and Wes Brown were all denied from a corner and a minute later, James made a sensational tip over from a Ryan Giggs blockbuster. For all their attacking, United almost went two behind when Sean Davis's effort was brilliantly saved by Van Der Sar who was having a real mix of a game. The ref was letting the game flow well, perhaps too much for United when Wayne Rooney went down under a challenge from Linvoy Primas in the area and whilst the Pompey man did get the ball, United felt that he went through Rooney to make the challenge. The game was more even approaching the final ten minutes as Giggs for United and Lomana Lua-Lua for the hosts both had efforts off target as United brought on Alan Smith as their final throw of the proverbial dice. Smith then almost instantly set up Ronaldo who made space with his trademark twinkle toes movement only to drag his effort wide of the near post and a few minutes later he ended a solo run with a shot well saved by James. As Ronaldo looked for inspiration, the game was ultimately decided by a freak goal at the other end as Taylor's through ball was touched back to his keeper by Rio Ferdinand, however Van Der Sar had come out to collect the ball and it wrong footed him and dribble in. A minute later, United were back in it as Solskjaer's shot was spilled by James and tapped in from close range by John O'Shea and it set up a heart stopping four minutes of stoppage time when Smith almost equaliser only for his crisp shot to be kept out by the sharp reflexs of James.

Attendance : 20,223
Assists : n/a, n/a, n/a

WEST HAM 1 (Zamora 45)

West Ham moved to within two points of safety with their third win in a row, this tim eupsetting the odds at Arsenal. The home side battered West Ham throughout but went behind on half time when a long ball from Lucas Neill sent Bobby Zamora clear and his lob beat Jens Lehmann and found the net. After the brea, away keeper Robert Green made a number of superb saves whilst both Cesc Fabregas and Gilberto Silva hit the woodwork. Amazingly, Arsenal are in danger of not making the Champions League next season.

Attendance : 60,098
Assist : Neill

BLACKBURN 1 (McCarthy 24 Pen)
ASTON VILLA 2 (Berger 34, Agbonlahor 73)

Aston Villa did their relegation concerns the power of good with an excellent win at Blackburn. The home took the lead with a Benni McCarthy penalty after Morten Gamst Pedersen had been tripped by David Bardsley, however the full back made up for his error when his cross was touched in by Patrik Berger for the equaliser ten minutes later. Villa had a penalty of their own early in the second half when Ryan Nelsen handled on the edge of the area, however as Gareth Barry blasted his kick down the middle, Brad Freidel stayed still and parried away to safety. He could do little about the winner though as Berger sent Gabriel Agbonlahor through and having rounded the keeper, he tapped the ball into the empty net.

Attendance : 24,211
Assists : Pedersen (won pen), Bardsley, Berger

MIDDLESBROUGH 4 (Viduka 5, Riggott 27, Viduka 75, Rochemback 79)
WATFORD 1 (Francis 23)

Watford took another step toward the Championship as they were walloped at Middlesbrough. Boro started strongly and were ahead early when youngster Adam Johnson crossed for Stuart Downing to head the ball back across goal giving Mark Viduka a tap in. Watford levelled when Danny Shittu's header was volleyed in by Damien Francis but that was as good as it got for them as Boro regained the lead minutes later as Johnson set to George Boateng whose long range effort struck team mate Chris Riggott on the heel before sailing into the top corner. Viduka added his second when Johnson collected a quick throw to find the Aussie who held off three defenders to find space and clip the ball into the top corner. The rout was complete when Yakubu found Favio Rochemback striding through the middle and he stabbed the ball past the keeper for the fourth.

Attendance : 25,534
Assists : Downing, Shittu, Boateng, n/a, Viduka

READING 1 (Gunnarsson 47)
LIVERPOOL 2 (Arbeloa 15, Kuyt 86)

Liverpool consolidate third place with a late winner at mid table Reading. They went ahead thanks to a classic breakaway goal as full back Arvalo Arbeloa ran half the pitch before finding Peter Crouch who returned the ball to him to enable him to find a cool finish. Reading equaliser was equally clinical as Stephen Hunt found Brynayr Gunnarsson whose low drive went in off the far post. Crouch then headed against his own bar before Liverpool grabbed all three points when Jermaine Pennant crossed for Dirk Kuyt to head in at the far post.

Attendance : 24,121
Assists : Crouch, Hunt, Pennant

NEWCASTLE 2 (Martins 17, Taylor 80)

Sheffield United remain in the drop zone on goal difference after a home defeat against Newcastle who took an early lead when Damien Duff's cross was nodded down by James Milner annd volleyed in by Obafemi Martins. The hosts grabbed a vital equaliser when Nick Montgomery set up Christian Nade to drill home, however their joy was short lived when Steven Taylor headed in Milner's corner.

Attendance : 32,572
Assists : Milner, Montgomery, Milner (ck)

WIGAN 1 (Heskey 32)
BOLTON 3 (Anelka 44, Teymourian 68, 73)

Wigan continue to hover just above the bottom three after they lost the lead at home to Notrth West rivals Bolton. They started well and were ahead when Paul Scharne's run and cross saw Emile Heskey bundled the ball in although defender Nicky Hunt got the final touch over is own line. By half time, Bolton were levelled thanks to El Hadji Diouf who crossed for Nik Anelka to score from two yards. Two goals in five minutes settled it as Diouf's through ball found Andranik Teymourian who slotted in his first Premiership goal and his second followed soon afterwards as he headed in at the far post from a cross by Kevin Davies.

Attendance : 18,610
Assists : n/a, Diouf, Diouf, Davis

CHELSEA 1 (Carvalho 52)

Chelsea move to within three points of leaders Man United who play later today, after a narrow win at home to Spurs.

Chelsea had the better of the first half but only threatened briefly. Didier Drogba almost scored with 25 seconds of kick off but couldn't quite get his head to a cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips whilst Saloman Kalou volleyed over from a good position. Spurs keeper Paul Robinson saved well after a good run from Ricardo Carvalho as the visitors defended well throughout the first half.

Spurs began the second half well as Ahmed Mido's header forced a decent save out of Petr Cech and it proved vital as Chelsea took the lead two minutes later. It was set up by John Obi Mikel, however the unlikely scorer was Carvalho who unleashed a 30 yard shot which flew low into the bottom corner as Spurs defender Ricardo Rocha seemed to get his body out of the way of the shot. It gave Chelsea the confidence they were lacking and should have doubled the lead minutes later when Robinson saved from point blank range after a superb move set up Kalou and then denied Drogba shortly afterwards. It wasn't all one way though as Spurs did create chances as Jermain Defoe's shot was fumbled by Cech and the home keeper was later at full stretch to keep out sub Adel Taarabt. With twenty minutes to go, both clubs brought on high profile subs as Michael Ballack and Dimitar Berbatov took to the field and Andriy Shevchenko joined them three minutes later. Only Berbatov came close though with a header pushed over by Cech as Chelsea held on.

Attendance : 41,864
Assist : Mikel

6 April 2007

EVERTON 4 (Carsley 25, Stubbs 34, Vaughan 45, Anichebe 80)
FULHAM 1 (Bocanegra 22)

Everton go fifth after coming from behind to see off Fulham. After a cagey opening, the game burst into life. Fulham went ahead when Carlos Bocanegra took advantage of non-existant marking to head home a corner from Simon Davies, however it lasted marginally over two minutes when a fine move culminated with Joleon Lescott crossing low for Lee Carsley to slide the ball inside the far post. Ten minutes later, Everton edged in front when Mikel Arteta's free kick was headed in at the near post by Alan Stubbs although the keeper did get his hands to the ball and on the stroke of half time, James Vaughan who had earlier smashed a shot against the post, swept in a near post cross from Arteta to give Everton a comfortable half time lead. It lasted until ten minutes from time when they increased it as Arteta this time set up sub Victor Anichebe whose controlled low shot found the bottom corner.

Attendance : 35,612
Assists : Davies (ck), Lescott, Arteta (fk), Arteta, Arteta


Charlton move out of the bottom three at the expence of Sheffield United who play tomorrow after a goalless draw at Man City. The hosts had the better of the first half with Joey Barton coming close on two seperate occasions, however both well struck efforts were well saved by keeper Scott Carson. The second half wasn't much better with chances few and far between although in stoppage time, Georgios Samaras could have won it for City but sent a header wide. Ultimately it was a game for the insomniacs DVD collection.

Attendance : 41,424
Assist : n/a

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