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Exclusive: As UK Sport"s record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the…

EXCLUSIVE: As UK Sport's record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the funding boost

, in which Great Britain won 65 Olympic medals and 120 at the Paralympics and finished third in the medals table in both events, but British sport has aimed high since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997. It is hard to believe Britain won just one gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Here, some of the athletes who have benefited from UK Sport funding tell Sportsmail exactly what it has meant to them…

Sir Ben Ainslie, 36
Four-time Olympic gold medallist, sailing

‘Trying to become the first nation to better our performance after a home Olympics is a fantastic goal. For me, it shows just how far British sport has come.

‘I’m not thinking about Rio right now because I’m in San Francisco with my America’s Cup team but you never know – it’s still a few years away.

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

'I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made in my career so far and I’ll definitely be in Brazil in some capacity, even if I’m not racing.

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

‘I started receiving funding in 1997. I went to my first Olympics in 1996 and won a silver medal, but we didn’t do very well as a team. We won just one gold medal – in rowing, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent in the men’s coxless pair. It was a pretty poor performance overall.

‘Then UK Sport funding came in and I think, straight away, you could see a big change in the way we were able to train. We enjoyed a big jump up the medal table in Sydney (from 36th to 10th) and that continued all the way to London.

‘British sport became more
professional, but the rest of the world upped their game as well. When I
started travelling to compete internationally most people were sleeping
in tents or in the back of their cars and trying to hold down jobs as
well as training.

'There
were very few full-time athletes. I think that’ s been the biggest
change: we have always had the passion but we simply didn’t have the
time to train and recover properly.

‘I
was lucky because I was still studying, but I relied on my parents an
awful lot. I’m sure they were very relieved when funding came on, as a
lot of parents must have been.

‘The
medical support has been unbelievable. I had a back injury six months
before London and it really was a difficult time. I had to have surgery
and a lot of physio but the support I received was phenomenal. It made a
huge difference to me and my chances of winning that gold medal.

‘Could I have achieved what I did without funding It’s a difficult one. I was fortunate in that I had success early on and was able to attract commercial sponsors, but I couldn’t have done it without the coaching and medical support there in the background.

'It was about setting up a long-term strategy to win medals and they certainly got the right people and the right strategy to do that.’

Perri Shakes-Drayton, 24. Double European indoor champion, athletics

‘It meant a lot to win two gold medals at the European Indoor Championships (in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay) in Gothenburg. You train to win medals and to be a champion was even better.

'The training that I’ve done and any doubts I may have had have gone away. I can do it and I want more. It gave me that confidence that I am as good as the rest of the girls and I want to maintain it.

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

‘It meant a lot after the Olympics. I finished on a high and I kept running close to my personal best but it was a disappointment (failing to make the final of the 400m hurdles). But rewards will come. The European titles have put the Games behind me. It’s a good feeling.

‘The 400 metres isn’t my event and hopefully I can transfer that speeds to the hurdles now. I enjoy them – there is a lot more to think about, but I haven’t achieved what I want to do yet over the hurdles.

'I’m not saying “bye” to them yet. Hurdling comes naturally now. I see a hurdle and I know how to attack it.

‘I want to come home with a medal from the World Championships in Moscow in August. I want one and I have to win one. That’s my aim.

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

‘Chris Zah has been my only coach, for the past 11 years. He took me from the grass roots to the world-class athlete I am today. It’s not really common for that to happen, but we’ve grown as a team and learnt together.

‘We’ll stay in Mile End, not move to Loughborough. We’ll stay in that gritty, crusty gym in east London because it’s working for us. It’s a good set up and I’ m not going anywhere for the moment.

‘National Lottery funding just makes life so much easier for me. The money I receive in support helps with training camps – I’m going to Daytona in Florida for a month on April 2.

I don’t take it for granted because it makes life so much more stress-free. All I have to do is worry about getting to training on time and being the athlete that I have to be to achieve my goals.’

Becky James, 21. Double world champion, track cycling.

‘I couldn’t have made my career without Lottery funding, I’ve had it since I was 15 and it’s been a huge support for me. Without it, I couldn’t make a career out of cycling because women get paid differently to men if, say, I was on a road team.

'It gives you such a lift when you first get on the programme and you become part of British Cycling, too. It’s been a great help.

‘I’m sure I wouldn’t be a double World Champion if I had a part-time job. I worked until I left home – I used to work in a kitchen doing all the food prep and washing up, which wasn’t the most glamorous job. Then I did a bit of waitressing and then I worked in a cake shop for two years in Abergavenny – serving coffee and cakes. It probably wasn’t the most productive thing to do for my sport, but it was fun.’

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Quillan Isidore, 16, joined UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme as a Development athlete in November 2012 after winning the Boys Under-16 category at the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham last May.

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

‘I always looked up to people in the GB team and wished I could be one of them. It was a dream when I made it onto the Olympic development programme for BMX because there are only five of us: four boys and one girl. It’s really good when we all go away for training – that’s what I want to live my life like but I’m still at school so I have to be patient. But I’m proud to represent the British team and follow in the steps of people like Sir Chris Hoy.

‘I still live at home in south London so I get a set programme to follow from my coach. I’m very dedicated – I never miss training at all. We’re not the richest family so I’m really thankful for the support.

‘You can get pretty bad injuries in
this sport so it’s good to know the back-up is there, too. I’ve been
very lucky so far, but it’s impossible to be injury-free.

'I’m
aiming for the 2020 Olympics but I’ve got 2016 in the back of my mind. I
believe that if I work really hard it can be done. We’re all working
really hard to get up the rankings and try to get GB three spots in Rio.

‘I
do think BMX is becoming more of a recognised sport. I got into it
because my friend just took me to a track in Brixton one day when I was
eight. It only had about five jumps but I just loved the feeling of
getting my front wheel off the ground. I got my first bike for my eighth
birthday and have been hooked ever since.’

UK
Sport, funded by The National Lottery, is supporting Britain’s best
athletes on the #RoadtoRio. Follow their progress @uk_sport

Which football star wants to play club cricket when he retires?

From Blues to whites: Everton skipper Neville wants to play club cricket when he retires from football

By
Phil Gradwell

PUBLISHED:

13:11 GMT, 14 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:57 GMT, 14 March 2013

Retirement will be a whole new ball game for Everton captain Phil Neville, who says he wants to spend his post-football days playing club cricket.

Neville, 36, may have won 59 England caps, have six Premier League titles to his name and be leading out an established top-flight side but he is relishing the thought of swapping his blue shirt for his whites.

That may not be for a few years yet but the defender – who played alongside Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up and was a good enough cricketer to play for the county's second XI aged 15 – said when his football career is up he will join Bury-based local-league club Greenmount, for whom he played as a junior.

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Is that a wide Phil Neville looks as if he is getting into the cricket a bit early during Everton's FA Cup defeat by Wigan

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

Different kind of whites: Neville played 59 times for England

WHO ARE GREENMOUNT CC

Greenmount Cricket Club, founded in 1867 (as far as records can establish) are based in Bury, Greater Manchester and play in the Bolton League.

In 2011 they won a treble of the Bolton League, the Lancashire Knock Out and the Hamer Cup.

They have had many famous overseas players including Australians Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden and West Indian Franklyn Stephenson.

The much more English Neville Neville, father of Phil and Gary, also played for the club.

Neville told the Bolton News: 'One hundred per cent, I will play cricket again in a couple of years time if my career ends.

'That is the first thing I am going to do; I am going to get back doing something I love.

'People sometimes fear retirement but I am looking forward to it because I can go and do something I love.'

Neville was speaking as an ambassador
at the launch of ‘The Lancashire Way’ – an inclusive cricket initiative
launched by Lancashire CCC.

He
added: 'To get the chance at my stage in my life to get back involved
with Lancashire is great because I love going to Old
Trafford to watch.'

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Team-mates: Neville played with a young Andrew Flintoff in Lancashire's youth set-up

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Advice: Everton captain Phil Neville chats to England women's cricketer Lydia Greenway at Lancashire's Old Trafford ground

Sir Alex Ferguson forgets dangerous tackles

Is Williams kicking the ball at Van Persie's head really the most dangerous, Fergie

PUBLISHED:

22:54 GMT, 23 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 23 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson described the Robin van Persie incident as ‘the most dangerous thing I’ve seen on a football field for many years’.

But the United boss seems to have forgotten a few cases involving his own club.

APRIL 2001: Roy Keane on Alf-Inge Haaland

After being accused of feigning injury by Haaland when he had ruptured ligaments, Keane took his revenge with a horror lunge on the Norwegian. He later admitted in his book: ‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard.’

Roy Keane (red) has his revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland

Roy Keane (red) has his revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland in 2001

JANUARY 1995: Eric Cantona on spectator Matthew Simmons

Sent off for kicking Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw, Cantona was abused by the home crowd as he left the pitch before launching a kung-fu kick at Palace fan Simmons.

The Frenchman was banned for nine months.

Moments after Eric Cantona (foreground) launched an astonishing two-foot drop kick on Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons

Moments after Eric Cantona (foreground) launched an astonishing two-foot drop kick on Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons in 1995

APRIL 2011: Paul Scholes on Pablo Zabaleta

There are plenty of Scholes tackles to choose from, but his rake on Zabaleta in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final left the Argentinian with a horrible gash on his thigh.

Pablo Zabaleta limps off after the thigh-high challenge from Paul Scholes

Pablo Zabaleta limps off after the thigh-high challenge from Paul Scholes in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final

Steven Gerrard, Ryan Giggs and now Lionel Messi: Sportsmail tribute to one-club men

As Messi and Xavi join Gerrard, Giggs, Armfield and Le Tissier, we pay tribute to football's one-club men

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 18 December 2012

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol have signed contract extensions that will keep them at the Nou Camp for the rest of their glittering careers.

They are the ultimate one-club men, having progressed from Barca’s fabled La Masia Academy.

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans - Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Barcelona boy: Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalans – Xavi and Carles Puyol are also staying

Messi, Xavi and Puyol, though, are not alone in dedicating their careers to a single team.

Here Sportsmail pays tribute to 10 men who epitomise football loyalty.

TONY ADAMS (Arsenal 1983 – 2002)

How Arsenal could do with someone like him now. A no-nonsense defender, who inspired all around him, Adams became club captain in his early 20s and led the Gunners through one of the greatest periods in their history. In total he played 668 games and collected 13 major honours.

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

Top Gunner: Tony Adams will always be a legend to the Arsenal supporters

RYAN GIGGS (Manchester United 1991 – present)

Some day in the future, Giggs will call time on the most remarkable career and when he goes, the Barclays Premier League will have a gap that cannot be filled. He has made 921 appearances, scored 165 goals and won all there is to win twice over. The moniker ‘legend’ fits easily alongside him.

PAUL SCHOLES (Manchester United 1995 – present)

He
has been described by many, including Xavi, as the finest English
midfielder of the last two decades and it is hard to pick holes in that
argument. Blessed with wonderful passing and a keen eye for goal,
Scholes has eschewed the trappings of fame. All he has wanted to do is
play for United.

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

Old heads: Ryan Giggs (left) and Paul Scholes are still turning it on for Manchester United

MATTHEW LE TISSIER (Southampton 1986 – 2002)

If
ever there was a talent who did not get his full rewards, it was Le
Tissier. A mercurial playmaker, who scored phenomenal goals and barely
missed a penalty, he kept Southampton in the Premier League almost
single-handedly at times. But he never won a major honour and was only
capped eight times by England.

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

A real Saint: Matt Le Tissier spent his entire playing career with Southampton

JAMIE CARRAGHER (Liverpool 1997 – present)

It wasn’t easy for Carragher when he first broke into Liverpool’s team as a teenager but, through sheer force of will and talent, he has had an outstanding career. You don’t play for Liverpool 716 times if you haven’t got something special and the defender has earned every accolade.

STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool 1998 – present)

Though it is true Gerrard twice came close to leaving Liverpool, his commitment to the club and efforts through three decades are indisputable. He has just passed 600 appearances at Anfield and boasts a trophy cabinet in keeping with his standing as one of the best midfielders of his generation.

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

Conquering Europe: Jamie Carragher (left) and Steven Gerrard won the Champions League in 2005

LEON OSMAN (Everton 2002 – present)

Osman might not have a burgeoning trophy cabinet nor is he a name that will be discussed frequently up and down the land but he represents old-fashioned values and Everton are all the better for it. He, along with Tony Hibbert, fought his way through the youth ranks and kept trying to force his way into David Moyes’ team. A decade’s efforts were rewarded last month when he was capped by England.

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

Sticking with the Toffees: Leon Osman has worked his way through the ranks at Goodison Park

DEREK FAZACKERLEY (Blackburn Rovers 1969 – 1987)

If his coaching career has been nomadic – see spells at Newcastle, Manchester City, Birmingham, Huddersfield and England, amongst others – Fazackerley’s playing days were spent solely at Ewood Park. He made a record-breaking 671 appearances for Blackburn and that total will never be passed.

JIMMY ARMFIELD (Blackpool 1954 – 1971)

To many he will be the softly-spoken expert analyst on Radio Five Live but as a player Armfield was the archetypal one-club man. Loyal, professional, conscientious and talented, Armfield was a classy right-back who made 627 appearances for Blackpool. He also won the World Cup in 1966.

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

I do like to be beside the seaside: Jimmy Armfield is Blackpool through and through

And one from abroad we can't ignore… PAOLO MALDINI (AC Milan 1985 – 2009)

From the moment Maldini made his debut as a 16-year-old against Udinese,
he was destined for greatness. His name will stand the test of time, a
defender who oozed class, skill and dedication. His 902 appearances for Il
Rossoneri and five Champions League winners’ medals are extraordinary
statistics.

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Milan man: Paolo Maldini (right) won the European Cup five times with the Italian giants

Matthew Macklin set to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in Spring 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Macklin set for Chavez Jnr clash next Spring ahead of Martinez re-match

|

UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 14 December 2012

Matthew Macklin is closing in on a mouthwatering middleweight clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr – which he hopes will propel him into a rematch with Sergio Martinez.

The Birmingham-born Irishman is recovering from surgery to his nose and expects to face Chavez in America in April or May.

Macklin, 30, impressively knocked out former world champion Joachim Alcine inside the first round in Las Vegas in September while Chavez was comprehensively out-pointed by Martinez on the same night.

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Martinez faces Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27 with a view to taking on Chavez again in September but Macklin, who himself was stopped by Martinez in March, plans to crash the party.

Macklin has spoken briefly to Chavez's promoter Bob Arum and expects negotiations to be completed in the new year although an exact date and venue for the bout are yet to be agreed.

'I'd say the fight is 80 per cent likely,' he told Sportsmail.

'Even though I lost the Martinez fight, I took a lot of confidence from it. From a stylistic point of view, Martinez is a nightmare but with Chavez, what you see is what you get.

'He's strong, he works the body well and puts a lot of pressure on but I certainly won't have to go looking for him. I don't think I'll find it too hard to get my own shots off. I carry a lot of power so I'd be very confident going into the fight.'

Macklin also revealed the build-up to his clash with Martinez was plagued by injury.

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

'Things looked great in the training camp but three weeks out, I bruised my rib in sparring so I didn't spar for the rest of the week,' he added.

'Then two weeks out, I did 12 rounds on the pads and ended up skinning my knuckle really badly on my left hand so for the last two weeks, all I did was shadow box and run.

'After round eight or nine I was ahead, in fact going into the 11th, I was three rounds up on one of the judge's card. I thought it was closer and that I needed the last two rounds to win the fight. I probably got a bit more reckless in the 11th and I got caught with some big shots.

'I felt fine to continue but [trainer] Buddy [McGirt] wouldn't let me out for the 12th and I could see his reasons. At the time I wanted to continue but there was no fallout or anything.

'Martinez hasn't had a more competitive fight since he won the belt from Kelly Pavlik. Aside from the last round, in which he was looking to survive, it was a domination of Chavez. I don't think at any stage in the fight did he dominate me.'

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Macklin is confident that victory over Chavez would land him a second tilt at a world title, assuming Martinez comes through his test against Murray.

'I gave Martinez a better run than Chavez did, bar the last round [when Martinez was knocked down],' he said. 'If the last round hadn't happened, I don't think there would be any talk of a rematch but because it did, it's a very sellable fight.

'A big win against Chavez on HBO in the States would certainly set up a rematch with Sergio Martinez.'

Macklin, who admitted he was glad to see British rival Darren Barker return to action with a convincing victory over Kerry Hope last Saturday, believes the triumvirate of himself, Barker and Murray could yet clash.

'It would definitely be better when one of us has a world title,' he said. 'If I beat Chavez and then have another good win in the States, I'm not going to leave HBO and fighting for world titles in America to come back for a non-title fight.

'But a world title is not an absolute must, it comes down to timing. Everyone has their own career and it comes down to when it suits both guys that a fight will be made.'

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar

England go to Nagpur, back to where it all started for Cook and Panesar

|

UPDATED:

23:29 GMT, 11 December 2012

England's last Test at Nagpur was at the city’s old venue, but it was the start of a new era with Alastair Cook flying in from an A tour in the Caribbean to score 60 and 104 not out on his debut.

It was also Monty Panesar’s first Test, which he marked by claiming Sachin Tendulkar lbw as his maiden wicket.

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

The first of many: Monty Panesar celebrates bowling Sachin Tendulkar in 2006. He accounted for the Little Master Twice in Mumbai

First Test

(Nagpur, March 1-5, 2006)

England 393 (Collingwood 134) and 297 for 3 (Cook 104no).

India 323 (Kaif 91, Hoggard 6-57) and 260 for 6 (Jaffer 100)

Match drawn

The Little Master later signed the ball, writing on it: ‘To Monty, once in a blue moon, never again mate.’

England’s third debutant in a game that ended in a draw was Somerset’s Ian Blackwell, who scored four runs, failed to take a wicket with his left-arm spin and was never picked again for his country.

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

First of 23: Alastair Cook celebrates his maiden Test century in Nagpur

The good news for England’s seamers was that Matthew Hoggard returned first-innings figures of 30.5-13-57-6.

Brighton 2 Bristol City 0 – match report

Brighton 2 Bristol City 0: Hammond and Orlandi open accounts to keep run going

|

UPDATED:

22:17 GMT, 27 November 2012

Dean Hammond and Andrea Orlandi opened their accounts for the season to stretch Brighton`s unbeaten run to seven games.

Hammond nodded home a cross early on from close range to put the home side ahead before Orlandi swung in a free-kick which went through a crowded area to make it 2-0.

Despite the best efforts of the visitors Albion chalked up just their second clean sheet in eight games and picked up three more points.

Opening an account: Dean Hammond scored his first goal of the season

Opening an account: Dean Hammond scored his first goal of the season

MATCH FACTS

Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Painter (Calderon – 84' ), Hammond, Orlandi, Bridcutt, Buckley, Hoskins (Crofts 77), Dobbie (Mackail-Smith 59),

Subs not used: Brezovan, El-Abd, David Lopez, Barnes

Goals: Hammond 6, Orlandi 26

Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Fontaine, Bryan, Bates, Kilkenny (Reid 86), Pearson, Elliott (Baldock 80), Adomah, Danns, Davies (Taylor 46),

Subs not used: Gerken, Carey, Wilson, Woolford

Referee: Whitestone

Attendance: 24,044

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Brighton boss Gus Poyet shuffled his
strikers after Saturday`s 1-1 draw with Bolton. Will Hoskins and Stephen
Dobbie were given the nod with with Ashley Barnes and Craig
Mackail-Smith dropping to the bench.

The visitors, buoyed by a shock 3-1
win at Middlesbrough, made two changes with Steven Davies, who stepped
off the bench to score at the Riverside, and Matthew Bates, back from
injury, being recalled to the starting line-up.

It was the home side who started the
brighter and took an early lead after just six minutes. Will Buckley won
a free-kick on the right which was taken short by Orlandi and clipped
into the box by Liam Bridcutt for Hammond to head home.

And 20 minutes later Brighton`s
advantage was doubled from another set-piece. Orlandi`s inswinging
free-kick caught out Tom Heaton completely and the ball went through the
keeper's legs before ending up in the back of the net.

Orlandi, having opened his Seagulls
account for the season, then tried his luck with a curling effort from
the edge of the box that flew inches past the post.

Gotcha: Will Hoskins (top) is tackled by Matthew Bates

Gotcha: Will Hoskins (top) is tackled by Matthew Bates

In the 36th minute City carved out
their first real chance of the match when Stephen Pearson, who netted in
Saturday`s victory, crashed a left-footed effort off Tomasz Kuszczak`s
crossbar from 20 yards out after being teed up by Marvin Elliott.

Just four minutes later Derek
McInnes` men had another big chance to get back into the match but Neil
Danns` effort was cleared off the line by Gordon Greer after the
Leicester loanee was picked out at the back post. And when the ball fell
back to Danns again he was denied by Kuszczak.

Brighton started the second half as they had the first and created two great chances shortly after the break.

First Hoskins nodded Buckley`s ball
down to Orlandi who fired over before Hoskins ran onto Dobbie`s through
ball and his low shot was kept out by Heaton.

Audacious: Hoskins tries an ambitious overhead kick

Audacious: Hoskins tries an ambitious overhead kick

City continued to pile on the
pressure as they looked for just their third away win of the season with
Albert Adomah and Neil Kilkenny both trying their luck from long-range
but to no avail.

Hoskins, making his first start for
the club since January, had the Seagulls` next chance at the end of a
flowing move with an acrobatic effort in the 76th minute which was well
blocked by Bates.

The 395 travelling fans almost had a late goal to cheer about but half-time substitute Ryan Taylor headed Kilkenny`s cross wide.

Wales team to play New Zealand: Sam Warburton returns

Warburton back in favour as returning Gatland rings the changes for New Zealand clash

|

UPDATED:

13:28 GMT, 20 November 2012

Warren Gatland has made five changes to the Wales team for Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against world champions New Zealand.

Gatland is back in charge after working on preparatory business ahead of leading next summer's British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

In his absence, Wales lost their opening autumn Tests against Argentina and Samoa, dropping to eighth place in the International Rugby Board world rankings as a result.

Starting role: Warburton (centre) had been dropped for the loss to Samoa

Starting role: Warburton (centre) had been dropped for the loss to Samoa

Switches from the 26-19 Samoa loss last Friday night see starts for centre Jonathan Davies, fly-half Rhys Priestland, hooker Matthew Rees, lock Luke Charteris and skipper Sam Warburton.

Davies has recovered from a groin problem to make his first appearance of the autumn series, replacing Ashley Beck, while Priestland takes over from Dan Biggar, who was not considered because of a shoulder injury.

Former Wales captain Rees, meanwhile, returns to the front-row, where he will pack down alongside Paul James and Aaron Jarvis, with Charteris in for Ian Evans, who has taken only a limited part in training due to knee trouble, and skipper Warburton replacing Justin Tipuric.

Wales have not beaten New Zealand since 1953, losing 24 successive games against them, while defeat this weekend would make it six reversals in a row against all opponents, something they have not experienced since 2002-03.

Wales team to play New Zealand on Saturday:

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert
(Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North
(Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James
(Bath), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues),
L Charteris (Perpignan), R Jones (Ospreys), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues,
capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), G
Jenkins (Toulon), S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), J
Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams
(Scarlets).

Point to prove: Gatland has not taken charge of a match since this year's Grand Slam win

Point to prove: Gatland has not taken charge of a match since this year's Grand Slam win

'No one is more disappointed than the players and the coaches with how things have gone in the last two weeks,' Gatland said.

'But those supporters who have been with us over the last 18 months know, just as we do, that we are a better side than we have displayed so far, and we will be looking to show that on Saturday.

'This New Zealand team is one of the best rugby sides to have ever played the game, and probably the best All Blacks team ever, so it will be a privilege to be able to test ourselves against them.

'Memories of the Rugby World Cup last year and touring New Zealand the previous summer are still fresh in the mind of many of the players and staff.

Daunting task: The All Blacks head to Cardiff on fine form

Daunting task: The All Blacks head to Cardiff on fine form

'The hospitality shown and the way we were looked after made the experience especially memorable, and that makes it all the more special that we have the opportunity to face the best side in the world at the moment in Cardiff.'

Gatland will retake the hot-seat for two Tests – against New Zealand and Australia on December 1 – before handing back control to interim head coach Rob Howley for Wales' RBS 6 Nations title defence, which starts against Ireland on February 2.

West Ham 1 Stoke 1 – match report

West Ham 1 Stoke 1: O'Brien strike earns Allardyce a point against resilient Potters

Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:51 GMT, 19 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 19 November 2012

Joey O'Brien struck early in the second half to earn a point for West Ham against a tough-to-beat Stoke City.

The Potters had led after a well-worked corner routine saw Jon Walters smash home.

After the equaliser West Ham pushed to win the game but could not breach Tony Pulis' mean defence for a second time.

Andy Carroll was substituted with five minutes remaining and was clearly annoyed at the decision by Sam Allardyce.

More to follow.

Back on track: Joey O'Brien (right) is congratulated by Kevin Nolan after scoring the equaliser

Back on track: Joey O'Brien (right) is congratulated by Kevin Nolan after scoring the equaliser

Match facts

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien (Demel 77), Reid, Tomkins, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Diame, O'Neil, Carroll (Cole 85), Maiga (Taylor 85).

Subs not used: Spiegel, Collins, Spence, Hall.

Booked: Noble.

Goal: O'Brien 48.

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson (Shotton 32), Whelan (Palacios 62), Adam, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch, Etherington (Kightly 74).

Subs not used: Sorensen, Jones, Upson, Jerome.

Goal: Walters 13.

Att: 35,005

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Click here for the live Premier league table, stats and more


Opener: Jonathan Walters struck from a cleverly worked corner

Opener: Jonathan Walters struck from a cleverly worked corner

Good job: Peter Crouch celebrates the strike which put Tony Pulis' side ahead

Good job: Peter Crouch celebrates the strike which put Tony Pulis' side ahead

Shocking: West Ham had a less than impressive first half

Shocking: West Ham had a less than impressive first half

That'll do: O'Brien struck just after the interval

That'll do: O'Brien struck just after the interval

Scrappy: Glenn Whelan and Mohamed Diame get tangled up

Scrappy: Glenn Whelan and Mohamed Diame get tangled up

Come on: Pulis' side faded as the match went on

Come on: Pulis' side faded as the match went on

No impact: Crouch could not help his side as the game petered out

No impact: Crouch could not help his side as the game petered out

Off form: Andy Carroll was not at his best and was substituted late on

Off form: Andy Carroll was not at his best and was substituted late on

Thump: Matthew Etherington and O'Brien fight for the ball

Thump: Matthew Etherington and O'Brien fight for the ball

Wales v Argentina: Aaron Jarvis handed debut, Mike Phillips overlooked

Jarvis handed Wales debut while Phillips overlooked for Knoyle against Argentina

|

UPDATED:

13:56 GMT, 6 November 2012

Ospreys prop Aaron Jarvis will make his Wales debut in Saturday's autumn Test series opener against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley has also sprung a major surprise at scrum-half by selecting Tavis Knoyle ahead of British and Irish Lions Test No 9 Mike Phillips.

Scarlets flanker Josh Turnbull wears the No 6 shirt with Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones both sidelined through injury, with Gethin Jenkins packing down in the front-row for his 91st cap alongside former Wales skipper Matthew Rees and Jarvis, who replaces an injured Adam Jones.

Day to remember: Aaron Jarvis will line up in Wales' front row on Saturday

Day to remember: Aaron Jarvis will line up in Wales' front row on Saturday

Injury also sidelines centre Jonathan Davies (groin), so his Scarlets colleague Scott Williams deputises and partners Jamie Roberts in midfield.

There are seven changes from Wales' last game – a 20-19 defeat to Australia in Sydney last June – with Williams, Roberts, Knoyle, Jarvis, lock Ian Evans, Turnbull and No 8 Toby Faletau all starting.

Wales team v Argentina

L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Toulon), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jarvis (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Bath), R McCusker (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne), J Hook (Perpignan), L Williams (Scarlets).

Bayonne star Phillips has to be
content with a place on the bench alongside his fellow France-based back
James Hook, but Ospreys centre Ashley Beck was not considered for the
match-day 23 due to a hip problem.

Fly-half Rhys Priestland, meanwhile, has seen off the challenges of Hook and Ospreys' in-form Dan Biggar to retain the playmaker role, with Howley retaining a potent back-three of Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and George North.

Exeter-born Jarvis, who has a Welsh
grandmother, has been in strong form for the Ospreys this season and he
impressed the Wales coaching staff during last week's training camp in
Poland.

'One or two injuries have forced our hands in certain areas in terms of selection,' Howley said.

'But
the fact that we are still able to field a side packed with Grand Slam
experience shows that we have been able to develop some depth in recent
years.

Given the nod: Scrum-half Tavis Knoyle

Overlooked: Mike Phillips

Given the nod: Tavis Knoyle (left) plays at scrum half ahead of Mike Phillips (right)

'There are obvious opportunities for the likes of Aaron, Tavis and Josh to pull on the jersey against Argentina and try to make it their own.

'We all know how important a good start against the Pumas will be to our November series. They arrive battle-hardened after a tough Rugby Championship campaign.

'They will be looking to silence the Millennium Stadium crowd from the outset and we know we can't afford to let that happen, with a successful campaign this autumn vital to our ambitions for the future.'

After Argentina, reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Wales face Samoa six days later before tackling World Cup holders New Zealand on November 24, followed by a December 1 appointment with Australia.

The top four teams in the International Rugby Board world rankings at the end of the autumn Tests will secure top seedings for the 2015 World Cup pools, which will be drawn in London early next month.