ANDREW VORCE - Sunday, May 8, 2011
Brad Friedel and Tim Howard's teams were forced to come from behind, while Jonathan Spector and Jermaine Jones battled it out in the midfield as both of their teams try to avoid relegation in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa 1 - 1 Wigan
Michael Bradley returned to the bench as Aston Villa was only able to muster a comeback draw against Wigan at home.
Just 10 minutes in the usually outstanding Kyle Walker was easily dispossessed in the center of midfield after an extended period of dribbling. Victor Moses was able to tee up Charles N'Zogbia number 10 did the rest by expertly slotting his shot to Brad Friedel's back post.
Aston Villa was able to get back into the game just seven minutes later when Ben Watson needlessly fouled Ashely Young 25 yards from goal. The English midfielder picked himself up to bend in the resulting free kick leaving Ali Al Habsi little chance.
Al Habsi did deny Emile Heskey's shot late on, but both teams were unable to break the deadlock. Young and Heskey were both booked in the outing while no Wigan player picked up a yellow card. The draw sees Villa nestled in 14th place in the Premier League and next face Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
Everton 2 - 1 Manchester City
Tim Howard's clinical second half save pushed Everton on to complete a remarkable come back against visiting Manchester City.
Howard will have thought he might have done better as his defense let him hang out to dry in the 28th minute. Sylvan Distin went lunging in at David Silva but missed his tackle and the Spanish midfielder was given free reign inside the 18 yard box. Yaya Toure came bursting through and smacked home Silva's lay off straight over the head of Howard.
Howard made a clinical save on Toure in the opening 20 minutes of the second half after Silva once again sent the Ivorian through one on one with Howard. The save pushed Everton forward, and Distin made amends by scoring the equalizer in the 65th minute. Mikel Arteta sent in a delightful free kick and Distin rose the highest sending a snap header to Joe Hart's right hand post.
The game was one as City clicked off in the 72nd minute. Phil Neville was given time and space to pick out his cross after picking up possession on the right flank. Spotting the lurking Leon Osman in the box, Neville's cross was met with a clinical header from the striker, sending it over Hart and into the back post.
Seamus Coleman came off the bench as was eventually shown a yellow card, while Neville, Osman, and Jack Rodwell were all booked for Everton. City had Aleksandar Kolarov and Vincent Kompany in the outing.
Everton sit in seventh place and travel to West Brom on Saturday.
West Ham 1 - 1 Blackburn
Jermaine Jones helped put Blackburn Rovers in the lead but Jonathan Spector's West Ham United were able to battle back for the draw.
Jones' surging midfield run allowed Brett Emerton space on the right flank. The American midfielder picked out his Australian teammate who's cross into the box was tucked away cleanly by Jason Roberts in the 12th minute.
The Hammers finally got back in the game via "Der Hammer" Thomas Hitzlsperger in the 78th minute. Carlton Cole was able to keep possession and Hitzlsperger was the beneficiary on the edge of the 18 as his left footed rocket left Paul Robinson no chance to save.
Luis Boa Morte, Manuel Da Costa, and Spector were all booked in the outing. West Ham are four points from safety with two games left, next facing Wigan on Sunday.
Norwich City 2 - 2 Coventry City
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City finished of their season with a point against Coventry City.
Whitbread started and went the distance as he has for the majority of the season.
The Canaries officially were promoted to the Premier League last week and were able to celebrate their achievement at home in front of their fans this weekend.
A quiet first half was followed by a four-goal spurt of goals in a ten minute span in the early second half.
Richard Keogh opened the scoring in the 54th minute for Coventry City, after he finished from a rebound that Norwich goalie John Ruddy could not handle.
It only took two minutes for the Canaries to level when Grant Holt finished an impressive Marc Tierney cross.
In the 62nd minute, Norwich's Dani Pacheco displayed a remarkable set of individual skill to enter the Coventry box and shoot past goalie Michael Quirke, giving the Canaries their first lead of the game.
Though, just two minutes later Coventry's Lucas Jutkiewicz finished a Hussey low cross to equalize the game.
Andrew Surman was the only player booked for Norwich City.
Queens Park Rangers 1 - 2 Leeds United
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United finished off their season with a win over Queens Park Rangers, but fell disappointingly short of the playoffs.
Lichaj started and went the distance for Leeds, as he has during the majority of his loan spell.
QPR opened the scoring in the first minute when Tommy Smith's shot was saved by Leeds goalie Kaspar Schmeichel and Heidar Helguson scored off of the ensuing rebound.
In the 38th minute though, Leeds struck back when a long ball was headed home by Max Gradel, beating QPR goalie Radek Cerny.
Later in the second half, Leeds took the lead when Ross McCormack's shot took a deflection and found the back of the net in the 68th minute.
Fans of QPR were not bothered by the loss though, being able to celebrate their promotion after having to wait to hear that they would not be docked points after the ownership of Argentine Alejandro Faurlin.
Adel Taarabt was the only booking of the game for QPR.
Plymouth Argyle 1 - 4 Leyton Orient
Anton Peterlin and relegated Plymouth Argyle finished their season with a loss to Leyton Orient.
Peterlin started and went the distance for the Pilgrims.
Scott McGleish opened the scoring for Leyton Orient in the 13th minute off of a penalty kick. Leyton's Matt Spring's shot was handled in the box by Curtis Nelson, giving the Pilgrims penalty.
Just two minutes later Dean Cox scored from a superb free-kick from 20 yards out, doubling Orient's lead.
Yannick Bolasie though got one back for Plymouth, when he scored from a rocket shot from 25 yards out.
In the 77th minute, Alex Revell scored from another free-kick, this time aided by a deflection, giving Leyton Orient the 3-1 lead.
In the dying minutes of the game, Revell scored again, though this time from a thumping header supplied by a Charlie Daniels cross.
Stephane Zubar and Carl Fletcher were booked for the Pilgrims, while Stephen Dawson and Adam Barrett received yellow cards for Orient. Romain Larrieu received a straight red card for Plymouth in the 75th minute.
Robbie Findley did not suit up in Nottingham Forest's playoff clinching win over Crystal Palace.
Conor Doyle played the final ten minutes in Derby's loss to Reading.
Eddie Johnson did not feature in Preston North End's win over Watford.
Frank Simek only played a half-hour after having to be stretchered off with an arm injury in Carlisle's season ending loss to Teovil Town.
Jon-Paul Pittman made a cameo performance in Wycombe's promotion clinching win over Southend.
Stuart Holden's Bolton lost 2-1 at home to Sunderland.
Marcus Hahnemann's Wolverhampton Wanderers won 3-1 at home to West Brom.
Clint Dempsey's Fulham takes on Liverpool at home on Monday.