2 October 2006

Watford 3 (King 23, Young 46, 89)
Fulham 3 (McBride 71, Helguson 83, Francis 87 og)

What looked a dismal game on paper ended up as a classic as Watford lost a two goal lead against Fulham only to come from behind themselves to force a 3-3 draw in a match that saw four goals in the last twenty minutes. After a fast paced start, Watford took the lead when Ashley Young's chipped past sent Marlon King clear on goal and although he stumbled after receiving the ball, he still managed to bobble it into the net. Fulham kicked off at the start of the second half and were further behind within 14 seconds. They lost possession and after Hameur Bouazza found space on the left, his pinpoint low cross was slid in at the far post by Young. Fulham pulled a goal back with twenty minutes laft as Wayne Routledge's cross was headed upwards by former Watford striker Heidar Helguson and volleyed in by sub Brian McBride. The equaliser was classic route one as keeper Antti Niemi launched the ball goalwards and after it was nodded on, Thomasz Radzinski hooked it across goal and Helguson was on hand to head home. Four minutes later Watford failed to clear a corner resulting in an almighty scramble ended by Damien Francis who sliced the ball into his own net as he attemted to clear. Things had barely settled when Watford scored a stunning equaliser as Young collected the ball 25 yards from goal and hammered in his second of the game!

Attendance : 17,982
Assists : Young, Bouazza, Helguson, Radzinski, n/a, n/a

1 October 2006

Tottenham 2 (Murphy 1, Defoe 35 Pen)
Portsmouth 1 (Kanu 40)

Spurs moved out of the bottom three with a narrow and hard fought victory against Portsmouth. Spurs wasted no time in taking the lead as Jermaine Defoe crossed for Dimitar Berbatov to head goalwards and although David James kept it out, neither he or Glen Johnson cleared the loose ball and Danny Murphy scrambled it in with a backheel with under 40 seconds on the clock. The lead was doubled when Didier Zokoro showed excellent skill to drab the ball back in the area and then remarkable dexteriy to find a blatant dive as Pedro Mendes pulled out of the tackle and made no contact whatsoever. The ref was hoodwinked and awarded a penalty, well converted by Defoe, however Zokoro should be ashamed of himself for what was one of the best dives I've seen since Greg Louganis retired. Pompet battled back and pulled a goal back five minutes later as Gary O'Neil found space to cross for Nwankwo Kanu to send a superb header into the net. Portsmouth dominated the second half possession although chances at either end were non-existant until twenty minutes from time when Jermaine Jenas forced James into a decent save. A clash of heads between Spurs duo Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson, the latter being forced off, delayed matters for a few minutes and when played restarted, Spurs looked to take control as Defoe's shot was saved and then Jenas totally miskicked whilst unmarked on the edge of the area with the goal gaping. Portsmouth almost grabbed an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time when Lomana Lua-Lua's far post header was somehow kept out by Paul Robinson.

Attendance : 36,063
Assists : n/a, Zokora (won pen), O'Neil

Blackburn 2 (Bently 45, McCarthy 81)
Wigan 1 (Heskey 2)

Blackburn came from behind to beat Lancashire rivals Wigan, although the visitors can only have themselves to blame for the defeat. They went ahead early when a cross from Emerson Boyce was volleyed in at the near post by Emile Heskey. In first half stoppage time, Blackburn equalised after a superb move resulted in a deserved goal. Lucas Neill played it into David Bentley who dummied and allowed it to run onto Francis Jeffers, His first time pass sent Bentley through and he clipped the ball inside the far post. With thirteen minutes to go, Heskey's pace caught Andre Ooijer out and he was brought down in the area, however sub goalkeeper Jason Brown, on for his debut at half time after Brad Friedel went off injured, saved Svetoslav Todorov's weak kick and then saved two rebounds as well! The winner came four minutes later as a long ball forward tempted keeper Chris Kirkland out to the edge of his area to clear, however as he went to walloped the ball forward, Jason Roberts got a slight touch to give Benni McCarthy an open goal which he took with ease.

Attendance : 17,859
Assists : Boyce, Jeffers, n/a

Manchester United 2 (Solskjaer 41, 49)
Newcastle 0

Man United regained top spot after a goal either side of half time from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw off Newcastle. United dominated throughout and took the lead when Cristiano Ronaldo crashed a shot off the post for Solskjaer to tap in the rebound. He made a two early in the second half although he knew little about it as Nemanja Vidic's shot hit him on the leg and spun in. In truth, United should have had more as Darren Fletcher and Ronaldo both hit the woodwork, the latter doing it twice although once was an awful miss with the goal gaping.

Attendance : 75,664
Assists : n/a, Vidic

West Ham 0
Reading 1 (Seol 2)

Reading scored early against West Ham and held on for the win despite heavy pressure from the hosts. The goal came as Bobby Convey rolled a free kick to Seol Ki-Hyeon and after making space, he drilled a 25 yard shot into the top corner. Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann made a series of saves and late on, Steve Sidwell headed off the line as Yossi Benayoun's lob looked like dropping in.

Attendance : 34,872
Assists : Convey (fk)

30 September 2006

Bolton (1) 2 (Speed 30, Campo 51)
Liverpool (0) 0

Bolton moved into second place after a goal in each half saw off inconsistant Liverpool. Bolton needed an element of luck to get them started after keeper Jose Reina came out to the edge his area to drop kick the ball clear only for the linesman to rule that he'd strayed outside and gave a handball. Replays proved that he was still inside his box when he released the ball and salt was rubbed into the wounds when the ball was tapped to Gary Speed who drilled the ball in from 25 yards as Reina misjudged it and dived the wrong way. The lead was clinched early in the second half when Kein Davies crossed for Ivan Campo to powered a header against the underside of the bar and bounce in before being cleared.

Attendance : 25,061
Assists : Campo (fk), Davies

Charlton (1) 1 (Bent (D) 21)
Arsenal (1) 2 (Van Persie 32, 49)

Robin Van Persie scored a goal of the season contender as his Arsenal side came from behind to beat Charlton who continue to struggle in the post-Curbishley era. They took a surprise lead when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink found space on the right and his cross was a tap in for Darren Bent in the sort of room that you wouldn't expect at non-league level, let alone the Prem. Arsenal were level after Thierry Henry found Alexandre Hleb in the area and after finding some room, he chipped the ball up for Van Persie to control and drill into the corner. He saved the coup de grace until the second half though as Emmanuel Eboue's cross was volleyed in acrobatically from the edge of the area by the Dutchman and this was no daisycutter as it rocketed into the roof of the net.

Attendance : 26,770
Assists : Hasselbaink, Hleb, Eboue

Chelsea (1) 1 (Drogba 3)
Aston Villa (1) 1 (Agbonlahor 45)

Chelsea remain top, at least for 24 hours, although they were held at home by still unbeaten Aston Villa. An Arjen Robben free kick gave Chelsea the lead as keeper Thomas Sorensen dropped his cross under pressure from John Terry, allowing Didier Drogba to bundle the ball in. Villa gained an excellent point on half time as Steven Davis crossed for Liam Ridgewell to nod across the area and an unmarked Gabriel Agbonlahor to head in.

Attendance : 41,951
Assists : n/a, Ridgewell

Everton (1) 1 (Johnson 44)
Manchester City (0) 1 (Richards 94)

Man City scored a stoppage time equaliser as high flying Everton were denied a win at Goodison. The hosts went ahead when Phil Neville's cross was superbly volleyed in, albeit with the help of a deflection, by Andy Johnson. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Sylvain Distin's long ball was nodded on by Georgios Samaras and walloped in by Micah Richards. After the game, Scouser Joey Barton appeared to be having some good natured banter with opposition Everton fans but then mooned at them as he walked off. Sadly some obviously sensitive home fans complained and Barton looks set to face a police investigation and probably an FA one as well.

Attendance : 38,250
Assists : n/a, Samaras

Sheffield United (1) 2 (Hulse 35, Jagielka 90)
Middlesbrough (0) 1 (Yakubu 49)

Phil Jagielka scored a stunning stoppage time winner as Sheffield United won their first league game of the season to lift themselves from bottom to 17th after victory over Middlesbrough. After a slow start, Boro missed two glorious chances in as many minutes as firstly Yakubu broke free, rounded the keeper and hit the post from a tricky angle and then Jonathon Woodgate volleyed wide from an unmarked position eight yards from goal. Ultimately they paid the penalty as, ten minutes later, United burst forward as Colin Kazim-Richards set up Rob Hulse to clip the ball over the keeper and in. The lead lasted until early in the second half when a volleyed clearance from Emmanuel Pogatetz sent Yakubu away and having learned from his first half error, slotted into the bottom corner with a crisply struck effort as the keeper edged out. Jagielka's superb winner came with his side looking for the winner as he latched onto a clearance, chested the ball forward from the centre circle and unleashed a brilliant volley that flew into the corner.

Attendance : 27,483
Assists : Kazim-Richards, Pogatetz, n/a

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