CHAD WINGER - Sunday, August 28, 2011
Robbie Findley and Clint Dempsey scored a goal apiece as Americans suffered through a horrendous weekend in England.
Blackburn Rovers 0 - 1 Everton
Mikel Arteta controversially converted from the spot with the last kick of the match after Tim Howard saved a penalty and had a second crash off the post.
After a dire first half, up-and-coming Everton teen Ross Barkley gifted Mauro Formica possession deep in his own end before making matters worse by upending the Argentine in the box. Howard bailed out the youngster, though, by guessing correctly and denying Junior Hoilett's penalty in the 47th minute.
Blackburn's David Goodwillie beat Howard in the 72nd minute with a drive that clipped the crossbar but the fireworks would really begin about 15 minutes later.
Formica was tripped up in the area in the 84th and this time, the midfielder took his own penalty which he side-footed against the thankful American's post.
After squandering two penalties, Blackburn paid the piper when referee Lee Mason adjudged Christopher Samba to have fouled mop-topped Belgian Marouane Fellaini. Replays suggest that the call was suspect at best but nevertheless, Arteta retained his composure to beat Paul Robinson to complete the three point heist.
Next up for the Toffees is a visit from Aston Villa after the international break.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 5 Manchester City
Having been plastered last weekend by Manchester United, Brad Friedel and Tottenham were drubbed by their crosstown rivals at White Hart Lane with Edin Dzeko scoring four times.
After Friedel pulled off an excellent save from a David Silva drive, Bosnia and Herzegovina striker Dzeko opened the rout in the 34th by tapping home a floated cross from Samir Nasri. City doubled the lead seven minutes later as Nasri raced upfield following a Peter Crouch miss to cross for Dzeko to nod home.
The halftime break was no respite for the hosts as City added to their lead ten minutes into the second half when Dzeko completed his hat trick. Moments after the former Wolfsburg star headed wide with Friedel's goal at his mercy, Yaya Toure crossed for the Bosnian to roof past the American for his third.
Aguero added to the Yank's bad day at the office when he lobbed it over the big keeper and into the net in the 60th before Younes Kaboul pulled one back for the hosts by heading home a Rafael van der Vaart corner eight minutes later.
Just after the goal van der Vaart limped off with a suspected hamstring injury and as Tottenham had already used three subs, were forced to complete the match a man down.
If Dzeko was not contained by 11 men, 10 would not do the job either and on the stroke of the final whistle, he added his fourth by blasting a curled free kick past the veteran Friedel to thankfully end the match.
Last place with no points and a -7 goal differential, Tottenham have two weeks to think about defense before visiting Molineux Stadium to face Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Newcastle United 2 - 1 Fulham
Clint Dempsey found the back of the net for the Cottagers, but it was not enough as Newcastle defended their home turf with a win.
The contestants played a poor first half, devoid of any goal scoring chances until just before the break when a Jonas Gutierrez header was superbly save Mark Schwarzer.
Leon Best got the second half off on the right foot when played garbageman by tapping in the rebound from a Yohan Cabaye shot that rebounded off the bar.
Fulham responded well with Damien Duff crossing for former Reading start Steve Sidwell to head off the post before the Irish hit the side netting following a sweet run.
Substitute helped Demba Ba put the game out reach for Fulham when he provided Best the ball from which he rifled past Schwarzer for the 2-0 lead.
Danny Murphy served up a fine free kick for the American to nod home from a dozen yards, scoring Fulham's first league goal of the campaign.
With the loss, Dempsey and company fall to 16th in standings. After a pair of international friendlies, the Yank will host Blackburn at Craven Cottage.
Nottingham Forest 1 - 4 West Ham United
Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest were drubbed at home by relegated West Ham, but not before the American scored his first league goal in Europe.
Forest central defender Luke Chambers put the hosts on the winning track by slicing Matt Taylor's cross past keeper Lee Camp in the 21st minute before Kevin Nolan headed a James Tomkins headed assist home just three minutes later.
New Zealand World Cup hero Winston Reid assisted the third for the Hammers in the 32nd by crossing for Carlton Cole to nod past camp to complete the devastating first half.
Findley, who has scored in the League Cup twice already this summer, put a consolation goal into the net for the hosts by slotting home Joel Lynch's square in the 70th, but it was cancelled out by Reid who converted a Taylor cross seven minutes later to end the day's scoring.
Nottingham Forest dropped to 18th in the standings with the defeat while West Ham climbed to fifth.
Findley, who went the distance, has two weeks to rest up before travelling to Southampton to take on the Saints.
Watford 2 - 2 Birmingham City
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City continued their lackluster beginning to the Championship season by being held by Watford at Vicarage Road after being burned by former player Martin Taylor in second half injury time.
Spector started and went the distance in midfield for the Blue but had a nondescript, albeit professional performance on the afternoon.
Adam Rooney put City ahead six minutes before halftime when a Jean Beausejour corner was headed back across goal by David Murphy before being bundled in by Adam Rooney.
Marvin Sordell later tied the game with a stupendous drive from 20 yards, but City regained the lead eight minutes later after Chris Wood drilled an 18-yarder past Watford netminder Scott Loach.
Spector was not the American in action in the game, and the other figured prominently in the final result. Boaz Myhill made a mess of a Sordell shot deep into injury time, and when none of his defenders came in to clean up the mess, Taylor made no mistake from close range and stole two points from the guests.
With the draw City have only four points on the season, poor enough for 21st place in the standings. Next up is a 9/11 tilt with Millwall at home.
Brentford 0 - 2 Tranmere Rovers
New arrival Mike Grella played the final 25 minutes for the Bees, but Merseyside's third team walked away winners.
Before Grella's introduction in the 65th minute, Rovers had made the match theirs behind a pair of strong goals.
Robbie Weir gave Tranmere the lead with he headed an Andy Robinson cross past Richard Lee in the 28th before Robinson added the second minute after the intermission with a divine 30-yarder.
Grella, who entered in place of Sam Saunders, had the best chance of the contest for Brentford, but his header on goal was somehow kept out by the knees of Rovers keeper Fon Williams.
Despite the loss, the Bees remain well-placed in the League One standings, sitting seventh with nine points.
Grella and company travel to Walsall next weekend as the lower leagues do not take an international break.
Norwich City's Zak Whitbread stated for the Canaries, but was pulled off in the 30th minute with a hamstring injury with the score 1-0 for the hosts. Chelsea won the contest 3-1.
Brad Guzan backed up Shay Given while Eric Lichaj was unnamed to the roster as Aston Villa and Wolverhampton played out a dreadful scoreless draw.
Injured Stuart Holden took no part in Bolton's 3-1 capitulation to Liverpool.
Conor Doyle continues to recover from an ankle injury and was unnamed to the Derby County roster that fell 2-1 at home to Burnley, while Cody Cropper suffered the same fate for Ipswich Town who beat Leeds Unuted.
Anton Peterlin did not get off the Walsall bench when the Saddlers defeated Bournemouth 2-0.
John-Paul Pittman saw 15 minutes of action in Oxford United's 1-1 draw with Aldershot Town as the Yellows extended their unbeaten run to ten matches, dating back to last season.
Jemal Johnson is picking out splinters, having not gotten off the subs' bench as Southend United beat Port Vale 3-2 on the road.