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Norwich 2 Wigan 1 match report: Wes Hoolahan grabs winner

Norwich 2 Wigan 1: Head boy Hoolahan celebrates new deal with superb winner

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 15 December 2012

Wes Hoolahan celebrated signing a new long-term Norwich contract by scoring the winner against Wigan at Carrow Road.

The victory saw Norwich extend their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to 10 games

Although they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Aston Villa here in midweek, they made it five successive home league victories to continue their remarkable turnaround.

Heads up: Wes Hoolahan nods home Norwich's second goal to put his side in the lead

Heads up: Wes Hoolahan nods home Norwich's second goal to put his side in the lead

Good start: Anthony Pilkington celebrates after breaking the deadlock in the first half

Good start: Anthony Pilkington celebrates after breaking the deadlock in the first half

Match facts

Norwich: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington (E Bennett 90), Hoolahan (Howson 84), Holt (Morison 90).

Subs not used: Rudd, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Morison, E Bennett, Barnett.

Booked: Bassong, Johnson, Pilkington.

Goals: Pilkington 15, Hoolahan 64.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Lopez, Figueroa, Stam, McArthur, McCarthy (Jones 46), Beausejour, Kone, Gomez (Maloney 46), Boselli (Di Santo 72).

Subs not used: Pollitt, Jones, Di Santo, Maloney, McManaman, Fyvie, Golobart.

Booked: Lopez.

Goal: Maloney 51.

Att: 26,677.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Wigan, meanwhile, have now lost five
of the last seven and remain in the bottom three despite equalising at
the start of the second half through substitute Shaun Maloney, after
Anthony Pilkington had opened the scoring.

There was not much to choose between
the sides during the opening stages, before Norway midfielder Alex
Tettey, back from a thigh problem, tried his luck from 25 yards with a
low effort which flew wide.

The Canaries were ahead on 15 minutes.

Hoolahan, whose new contract take him
up to 2015, carried the ball to the edge of the Wigan penalty area and
then won a 50/50 with Emmerson Boyce to stab a pass through to
Pilkington.

The winger took the ball in his stride
before smashing a left-foot drive past Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi and
into the roof of the net.

Wigan looked for a quick response, but
there was a break in play when James McCarthy needed treatment after a
strong challenge by Bradley Johnson, which resulted in the Norwich
midfielder being shown a yellow card.

James McArthur let fly with an angled
drive which Norwich keeper Mark Bunn, replacing injured England
international John Ruddy, held on to at the second attempt.

Referee Lee Probert then incurred the
wrath of the Barclay Stand when he showed Pilkington a yellow card for
diving, when replays suggested the Norwich winger had been tripped by
defender Adrian Lopez as he cut back towards the penalty area.

Pilkington almost hooked the ball in after Al Habsi had spilled a right-wing cross from Robert Snodgrass.

Full-back Steven Whittaker had scored a
fine individual goal in last week's 4-3 win at Swansea and the Scotland
defender surged forwards after 34 minutes to the edge of the Wigan
penalty area before drilling a low, angled shot just wide.

Back on track: Wigan celebrate after Shaun Maloney (second right) scored their equaliser

Back on track: Wigan celebrate after Shaun Maloney (second right) scored their equaliser

Take that: Goalkeeper Mark Bunn roars with delight as Norwich regain the lead

Take that: Goalkeeper Mark Bunn roars with delight as Norwich regain the lead

Al Habsi then produced a brilliant
one-handed save to turn away a bullet header from Snodgrass after
left-back Javier Garrido had lofted the ball to the far post.

Latics boss Roberto Martinez made a
double change for the second half as midfielders Maloney and David Jones
replaced Jordi Gomez and McCarthy.

It was Norwich, though, who again
showed an early threat as Grant Holt – making his 150th appearance –
drilled in an angled effort which Al Habsi palmed behind.

Hitman: Holt fires a shot towards goal, with Norwich on top of their opponents

Hitman: Holt fires a shot towards goal, with Norwich on top of their opponents

Drive: Alexander Tettey launches a strike at Ali Al-Habsi's goal

Drive: Alexander Tettey launches a strike at Ali Al-Habsi's goal

Wigan were level on 51 minutes.

Arouna Kone carried the ball into the
left side of the Norwich penalty area, before he pulled a pass back to
the edge of the box where Maloney crashed his shot into the net.

The goal completely changed the
dynamic of the match as the hosts suddenly looked devoid of ideas and
uncomfortable in possession.

Norwich put some pressure on Wigan
again as the hour mark passed, but Holt could only send a scissors-kick
horribly wide from Snodgrass' floated ball to the far post.

Tussle: Jean Beausejour (right) and Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass battle for the ball

Tussle: Jean Beausejour (right) and Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass battle for the ball

Go for it: Roberto Martinez urged his players on as they struggled

Go for it: Roberto Martinez urged his players on as they struggled

Referee Probert had been taking plenty
of flak from the home fans, but played a good advantage after Snodgrass
had been bodychecked and Norwich broke quickly down the left through
Pilkington.

The former Huddersfield winger drove
on to the goalline, where he cut back inside Boyce before delivering a
teasing cross, which Hoolahan headed past Al Habsi on 64 minutes.

Norwich continued to ask questions of the visitors.

Chris Hughton

Hoolahan

Good day: Chris Hughton (left) saw his side emerge triumphant with Hoolahan (right) in fine fettle

Hands on hips: Grant Holt watches on as ref Lee Probert blows his whistle

Hands on hips: Grant Holt watches on as ref Lee Probert blows his whistle

Johnson tested the Wigan goalkeeper
with a low effort from 20 yards, before Al Habsi produced another fine
save to deny Pilkington.

With seven minutes to go, Hoolahan was replaced by Jonny Howson and the diminutive midfielder left to a standing ovation.

Sebastian Bassong made a brilliant
last-ditch tackle to block Kone in stoppage time as Norwich closed out a
fifth straight home win – with Chelsea and Manchester City the next
visitors to Norfolk over the hectic festive schedule.

Swansea 1 Middlesbrough 0: match report

Swansea 1 Middlesbrough 0: Hines' late own goal agony ends Boro resistance

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UPDATED:

23:38 GMT, 12 December 2012

Swansea City are through to the Capital One Cup semi-final after a late Seb Hines own goal cruelly ended Middlesbrough’s long journey to Wembley.

This was Boro’s 12th straight away fixture in the League Cup — an array of trips amounting to roughly 4,000 miles over the years — and they had their chances to win it.

But then, after 81 minutes, fortune conspired against Hines. He had just saved Boro with a last-ditch tackle on Michu, but from the resulting Jonathan De Guzman corner he headed into his own net under pressure from Garry Monk.

Winner: Middlesbrough's Seb Hines (left) scores an own goal to send Swansea through

Winner: Middlesbrough's Seb Hines (left) scores an own goal to send Swansea through

Match facts

Swansea: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Chico, Monk, Davies, Dyer, Britton, de Guzman, Shechter (Moore 55), Routledge (Ki 65), Michu.

Subs Not Used: Cornell, Bartley, Graham, Rangel, Agustien.

Goal: Hines 81 og.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Bikey (Halliday 64), Hines, Friend, Haroun (Smallwood 65), Leadbitter (Miller 82), Bailey, Ledesma, Jutkiewicz, McDonald.

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Emnes, Parnaby.

Booked: Leadbitter, Bailey.

Att: 15,048

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

The result puts Swansea into their first major semi-final since the 1964 FA Cup, but those are the kind of thoughts Michael Laudrup will be trying his hardest to suppress. The Swansea manager said: ‘I told them at half time, “I know you all want that final, but we are too tense. All of you want to do so well, it is hurting you. Do it like you are used to doing it”.’

That Middlesbrough looked good was no great surprise. They are third in the Championship and fielded close to a full strength side, Tony Mowbray making five changes to the team that beat Peterborough 3-2 on Saturday.

Swansea, meanwhile, had something of a point to prove. Their 4-3 loss to Norwich on Saturday was their first in seven games and ‘intensity’ has been the buzzword at the Liberty Stadium ever since.

They were so far off their usual pace in falling 3-0 behind at the weekend that Laudrup used his programme notes to spell out his thoughts on players who ‘start to believe’ their hype. His feeling was that too many operated at ‘90 per cent’ and his remedy last night was to recall Leon Britton, who missed the Norwich game with a knee injury.

Gutted: Middlesbrough players are dejected after conceding a goal but Michu celebrates (below)

Gutted: Middlesbrough players are dejected after conceding a goal but Michu celebrates (below)

Swansea City's Michu celebrates

Swansea’s mini-marvel is vital to the team’s tempo and everything that goes with it. Michu gets the goals and credit, but Britton is the most essential cog in a passing machine that has shocked the Premier League for 16 months. He was close to his best at times in the first half, hassling and harrying, springing attacks and deciding when to slow the game down. When Swansea had their first clear chance after 34 minutes, Britton was at the heart of it.

He exchanged passes with Wayne Routledge, and then Michu, before drilling one out wide to Ben Davies. Davies whipped over a cross which Itay Shechter headed into the path of Nathan Dyer, but the winger, clean through, failed to react quickly enough and the ball clattered off his knees and into the hands of Jason Steele.

Collision: Swansea City's Luke Moore is tackled by Middlesbrough's Andre Bikey

Collision: Swansea City's Luke Moore is tackled by Middlesbrough's Andre Bikey

Middlesbrough had chances of their own during an impressive start. George Friend was the architect of their first, out-muscling De Guzman in the Swansea area after 20 minutes and rolling a pass back into the path of Grant Leadbitter, whose shot to the bottom left corner was blocked by Gerhard Tremmel.

Lukas Jutkiewicz then carved out another opportunity, bursting through the middle and playing in Leadbitter. He had space to delve further into Swansea’s area but pulled the trigger early and shot straight at Tremmel.

‘It was frustrating,’ said Mowbray. ‘On the balance, it was tight, fine margins win and lose. We could easily have won 1-0 rather than lost 1-0.

Heads: Michu (left) challenges for the ball as Swansea battle to victory over Middlesbrough

Heads: Michu (left) challenges for the ball as Swansea battle to victory over Middlesbrough

Boro started the second half well, Justin Hoyte and Leadbitter coming close, but Swansea’s increased fluency told. Laudrup brought Ki Sung-Yeung on for Routledge after 64 minutes and his impact was almost immediate, the Korean bursting down the left and playing a pass square to De Guzman. The Dutchman’s low shot was comfortably handled by Steele.

De Guzman then hit the bar in the 73rd minute with a 25-yard free-kick, before Ki created a good chance for Michu with a through-ball from midfield. Hines put in a superb block but had to suffer the unfortunate consequences.

‘It’s fantastic to reach the semi-finals,’ Laudrup added. ‘I asked all my players who had played in a cup final and no one had. At the end there was a lot of relief and I think everyone can be proud. Now we want the next step and want to go to the final. Whoever we play it will be very special.’

Tough luck: Middlesbrough are left to rue missing out on a place in the last four

Tough luck: Middlesbrough are left to rue missing out on a place in the last four

Tough luck: Middlesbrough are left to rue missing out on a place in the last four

West Ham 2 Liverpool 3: match report – James Collins own goal seals win

West Ham 2 Liverpool 3: Old boy Cole and Collins' own goal help Rodgers strike Hammer blows

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UPDATED:

18:25 GMT, 9 December 2012

Liverpool proved they could win without talismanic striker Luis Suarez as they fought from behind to take three points from Upton Park.

Uruguay international Suarez was serving a one-match ban but the Reds struck twice late in the game to seal a win that sees them leapfrog West Ham in the table.

Former Hammers' defender Glen Johnson opened the scoring for the visitors with a tremendous effort before a Mark Noble penalty and Steven Gerrard own goal turned the game in West Ham's favour before the break.

Dismay: James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen are stunned while Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling celebrate the winner

Dismay: James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen are stunned while Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling celebrate the winner

Turnaround: Joe Cole scored the equaliser for Liverpool before Shelvey (right) helped force the Collins own goal to win the game

Turnaround: Joe Cole scored the equaliser for Liverpool before Shelvey (right) helped force the Collins own goal to win the game

Match facts

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel (McCartney 46), Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Taylor (Maiga 86), Diame (Tomkins 73), Nolan, Noble, Jarvis, Cole.

Subs not used: Spiegel, Spence, O'Neil, Moncur.

Booked: Taylor.

Goal: Noble 36 (pen), Gerrard og 43.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique (Cole 27), Allen (Coates 86), Lucas (Henderson 71), Gerrard, Sterling, Shelvey, Downing.

Subs not used: Jones, Carragher, Fernandez Saez, Morgan.

Booked: Gerrard, Shelvey.

Goals: Johnson 11, Cole 76, Collins og 79.

Att: 35,005.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

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It was another West Ham academy
graduate in substitute Joe Cole who pulled the visitors level in the
second half with a James Collins own goal completing the comeback for
Liverpool.

Gerrard, returning to captain the
visitors after recovering from illness, saw an early effort deflected
behind for a corner following some good work by Jonjo Shelvey.

West Ham then had a few minutes of
dominance and Mohamed Diame, a one-time Liverpool target, saw his shot
deflect off the back of team-mate Carlton Cole and drift just wide of
Jose Reina's goal.

West Ham's Matt Jarvis was getting a
lot of the ball down the left flank but was soon found wanting when he
was tested defensively.

Gerrard played the ball out to Johnson
on the touchline and the England full-back cut inside Jarvis with ease
before arrowing a strike past the out-stretched hand of Jussi
Jaaskelainen.

Johnson did not celebrate out of
respect for his former club but the Liverpool bench was up in unison as
the visitors grabbed an early lead.

Raheem Sterling had two chances to
double Liverpool's advantage, firstly firing wide of Jaaskelainen's near
post as Gerrard's shot was cleared straight to his feet.

Moments later Johnson again got the
beating of former Wolves winger Jarvis and rolled the ball into
Sterling's path, but the 18-year-old's low drive was just off target.

West Ham started to get more into the
game after 25 minutes and again began testing the Liverpool defence with
a number of high balls into the area, with their equaliser duly coming
nine minutes before the interval.

Screamer: Glen Johnson (right) opened the scoring with a magnificent strike which nestled in the top corner

Screamer: Glen Johnson (right) opened the scoring with a magnificent strike which nestled in the top corner

Cool as you like: Mark Noble slots home his penalty to put the Hammers level

Cool as you like: Mark Noble slots home his penalty to put the Hammers level

A West Ham set-piece was cleared as
far as Guy Demel whose shot hit the arm of Joe Allen as the former
Swansea man closed him down.

Referee Lee Probert deemed the block
to be intentional and pointed to the spot, with Noble stepping up to
coolly convert the penalty.

Matthew Taylor, recalled to the
starting line-up by Sam Allardyce after making an impact as a substitute
against Chelsea last weekend, then headed high and wide from close
range as West Ham started to take control.

The spell of pressure yielded a second goal for Allardyce's side, albeit it in fortunate circumstances.

Liverpool switched off after conceding a free-kick which Noble took quickly and found Jarvis in space on the left.

Sam Allardyce

Mark Noble and Carlton Cole

Topsy turvy: Sam Allardyce (left) saw his side fall behind, go ahead and then fall behind again

Powerhouse: Mohamed Diame was running play in the centre of the park before his injury

Powerhouse: Mohamed Diame was running play in the centre of the park before his injury

The 26-year-old produced yet another
fantastic delivery into the box and the ball was sent flying past Reina
off the head of Gerrard.

Shelvey then had a good opportunity to
level on the stroke of half-time when he was picked out by Stewart
Downing but his shot was well wide.

The second half started with both
sides looking to be more creative in possession although neither Reina
nor Jaaskelainen was tested before the hour-mark.

Sterling came close to levelling as
his left-foot effort from the edge of the penalty area forced
Jaaskelainen to flick the ball over his bar for a corner.

Rising high: Steven Gerrard heads the ball into his own net

Rising high: Steven Gerrard heads the ball into his own net

Oops: Collins celebrates Gerrard's own goal... but later scored one himself

Oops: Collins celebrates Gerrard's own goal… but later scored one himself

Sympathy: Carlton Cole pats the England captain on the shoulder after his mishap

Sympathy: Carlton Cole pats the England captain on the shoulder after his mishap

Shelvey had worked hard in an
unfamiliar attacking role all afternoon and saw a header flash wide with
20 minutes remaining before Rodgers introduced Jordan Henderson in
place of the ineffectual Lucas.

A serious looking leg injury suffered
by Diame made Allardyce's afternoon even worse, with the in-form
midfielder replaced by James Tomkins after pulling up hurt.

Joe Cole had been introduced by Liverpool before the game was 30 minutes old and was warmly received by the home fans.

Access denied: Matt Taylor's free-kick was kept out

Access denied: Matt Taylor's free-kick was kept out

The former Chelsea playmaker has
struggled during his time with Liverpool and had little impact on the
game until he struck a venomous equaliser after being played in by
Sterling and, like Johnson, he refused to celebrate the goal.

The turnaround was completed just 12
minutes from time as Henderson swung in a low cross that Shelvey and
Collins competed for with the balling looping up off the boot of the
West Ham defender and over a helpless Jaaskelainen.

Sterling almost burst through to wrap
up the game for the visitors, who saw out the five minutes of stoppage
time to creep into the top half of the table.

Face down: Shelvey, who played in a relatively unfamiliar striker's position, lies in the turf

Face down: Shelvey, who played in a relatively unfamiliar striker's position, lies in the turf

Back on his feet: Shelvey forces Collins into an own goal

Back on his feet: Shelvey forces Collins into an own goal

Over the moon: Pepe Reina jumps for joy after seeing the third Liverpool goal fly in

Over the moon: Pepe Reina jumps for joy after seeing the third Liverpool goal fly in

Aston Villa 1 Reading 0 – match report: Christian Benteke strikes late

Aston Villa 1 Reading 0: Who needs Bent when you've got Benteke Big Belgian saves the day for Lambert

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UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 28 November 2012

Paul Lambert’s gamble on youth looked brave when he decided upon his Premier League strategy at the start of the season.

For 80 minutes, as Aston Villa made heavy weather of escaping the relegation zone, his decision looked increasingly desperate.

The former Norwich City boss stamped his credentials on the club within days of arriving in the post vacated by Alex McLeish. They were again evident as he once more omitted Darren Bent from his matchday squad.

Magic moment: Christian Benteke scored the only goal of the game with a late header

Magic moment: Christian Benteke scored the only goal of the game with a late header

Rise and fall: Benteke leaps above the defender to break the deadlock

Rise and fall: Benteke leaps above the defender to break the deadlock

MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Stevens (Lichaj 24), Holman (Ireland 67), Westwood, Bannan, Weimann (Albrighton 68), Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.

Booked: Clark.

Goal: Benteke 80.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 83), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts (Hunt 79), Le Fondre.

Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, McCleary, Harte, Gunnarsson.

Att: 28,692.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

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But with 10 minutes to play of an
encounter with Reading that had only added to the air of general
frustration inside Villa Park, salvation was to hand.

It came in the shape of striker
Christian Benteke, an 8million signing from Genk on deadline day who is
rapidly proving to be one of the finds of the season.

He has the raw power of a young Emile
Heskey and his fifth goal of the campaign was one the former England
forward would have been proud of.

Ashley Westwood swung a corner to the
far post and the Belgium international out-jumped his marker, Sean
Morrison, to head home a goal that may prove priceless in the eventual
outcome of Lambert’s inaugural season.

In fairness to the Villa manager, his
side had looked by far the likelier of the two to find the net. The
noise which greeted Benteke’s winner was a mixture of relief and
elation.

And possibly nowhere more so was the
victory warmly received than on the home bench. Lambert swapped dug-outs
during the summer to be closer to Villa’s core support in the Holte
End.

Although he has made the right noises
so far, those which were coming back at him were the voices of a
supporter-base that was growing increasingly tired of platitudes. After
all, this was just Villa’s third home league victory in 13 months.
Unsurprisingly then, Lambert hailed match-winner Benteke.

‘He’s been fantastic for this club,
and for the national team,’ he said. ‘He’s growing up. For his age, he’s
a strong lad with very good ability. He always seems to get a chance,
whether it’s a header or a shot. He’s becoming a real fans’ favourite.’

Weimann wonders how he missed

Bannan and Tabb scrap for the ball

Blunder: Andreas Weimann (left) missed a great chance, while Barry Bannan and Jay Tabb fight for the ball

Take that: Villa's Nathan Baker (right) dives in on Jason Roberts

Take that: Villa's Nathan Baker (right) dives in on Jason Roberts

One person who is nowhere near the description of being a manager’s favourite, however, is Bent.

Despite the fact that Villa had not
scored in four of their last eight games and were struggling in front of
goal, Lambert believed untried signing Jordan Bowery carried more of a
goal threat than Bent.

‘I have no problem with his attitude
in training, none whatsoever,’ said Villa’s boss, ‘I watch him train
every day. I live and die by my decisions. I’ve picked a team to win,
not to lose.’ Asked what Bent needed to do to force his way back into
his thinking, Lambert replied: ‘Train well and play well.’

Lambert named a Villa team that
contained eight players aged 23 or under in a contest that for all the
world could be labelled a six-pointer. It was the youngest average age
of a Villa side in the Premier League era.

Attrition: Enda Stevens (right) vies for the ball with Reading forward Adam Le Fondre

Attrition: Enda Stevens (right) vies for the ball with Reading forward Adam Le Fondre

Struggle: Reading's Shaun Cummings and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor battle for the ball

Struggle: Reading's Shaun Cummings and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor battle for the ball

They were on top for long periods. It
will be of little relevance to Lambert that had Bent been on the pitch,
the contest may have been decided far earlier.

As it was, Andreas Weimann blazed over
the best chance of the first-half. Ciaran Clark was off-target with two
near-post headers and Benteke shot tamely into Adam Federici’s arms
when well-placed.

Referee Lee Probert failed to award a
spot-kick after Adrian Mariappa’s clumsy challenge on Weimann as the
Austria forward was making his way away from goal. At the other end,
Brad Guzan had blocked from Hal Robson-Kanu during the early skirmishes.

What is this Brian McDermott looks on as the teams churned out a dull game

What is this Brian McDermott looks on as the teams churned out a dull game

Until Jason Roberts twisted and turned
his way into the area only for Guzan to block a much simpler shot with
his legs, that was about as good as it got for the visitors.

The travelling support pleaded with
manager Brian McDermott to make a change. ‘It was a good idea, making a
sub,’ he said wryly afterwards. But Noel Hunt’s introduction had little
effect. Of far more relevance was the statistic that Reading have now
conceded 16 times in the last half-hour this season. It’s a trend that
could prove costly.

‘It was not a six-pointer,’ said
McDermott. ‘It’s a game of football. Villa have 13 points, they want
more than that. We have nine and we want more than that.’

But for Benteke, Reading would have.

Is that the time Paul Lambert checks his watch

Is that the time Paul Lambert checks his watch

Salvation: Benteke's goal was the highlight of the match

Salvation: Benteke's goal was the highlight of the match

VIDEO: ASTON VILLA 1 READING 0: MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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Manchester United 3 QPR 1 – match report

Manchester United 3 QPR 1: Redknapp watches Rangers throw it away as Fletcher scores on league comeback

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UPDATED:

17:19 GMT, 24 November 2012

Harry Redknapp left Old Trafford with plenty to ponder as Manchester United roared back to condemn QPR to the worst Premier League start any side has made after 13 games.

Rangers remain rooted to the foot of the table despite taking a second-half lead through Jamie Mackie.

Any hope Redknapp might have had of his new charges marking his installation as manager by recording their first win of the season evaporated with three United goals in a nine-minute burst.

Comeback kid: Darren Fletcher scored what proved to be the winner for Manchester United against QPR

Comeback kid: Darren Fletcher scored what proved to be the winner for Manchester United against QPR

MATCH FACTS

MAN UNITED: Lindegaard; Rafael, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans; Young (Anderson 59), Scholes (Hernandez 59), Fletcher; Rooney, Welbeck (Powell 79), Van Persie Subs not used: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Cleverley.

Booked: Scholes

Goals: Evans 64, Fletcher 68, Hernandez 72.

QPR: Julio Cesar; Traore (Ferdinand 61), Hill, Nelsen, Derry; Taarabt (Hoilett 73), Dyer, Faurlin (Granero 84), M'bia, Cisse, Mackie Subs not used: Green, Diakite, Wright-Phillips, Ephraim.

Booked: Mbia.

Goals: Mackie 52.

Attendance: 75,603

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

The latest Premier League results, fixtures and tables

Unlikely scoring hero Jonny Evans
grabbed another to pull the hosts level before Darren Fletcher found the
perfect way to mark his first Premier League start in a year.

Javier Hernandez bagged another to confirm United's status as leaders ahead of Manchester City's visit to Chelsea tomorrow.

Redknapp had seen enough, leaving
four minutes from the end to contemplate what he has already admitted
represents the biggest challenge of his managerial career.

/11/24/article-2237761-16311CCB000005DC-873_634x328.jpg” width=”634″ height=”328″ alt=”Watching on: Harry Redknapp, confirmed as QPR boss on Saturday morning, was in the stands” class=”blkBorder” />

Watching on: Harry Redknapp, confirmed as QPR boss on Saturday morning, was in the stands

Keep your seat warm: Mark Bowen took charge of the team following the sacking of Mark Hughes

Keep your seat warm: Mark Bowen took charge of the team following the sacking of Mark Hughes

If Redknapp, stationed alongside
chief executive Philip Beard in the directors' box, could enjoy his
break in positive mood, the notable United figures sat nearby, who had
stayed on from yesterday's Ferguson statue unveiling, would have been
less happy.

After successive defeats at Norwich and Galatasaray, the hosts should have been ready to tear at weakened opponents.

Instead, they pawed around in virtual disinterest.

Bright start: Jamie Mackie gave the bottom club a huge lift when he poked home early in the second half

Bright start: Jamie Mackie gave the bottom club a huge lift when he poked home early in the second half

Bright start: Jamie Mackie gave the bottom club a huge lift when he poked home early in the second half

Danny Welbeck produced cut-backs from
either flank for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but neither marksman
could hit the target, and Ashley Young also sliced the ball into the
side-netting.

You would not have needed to be
around as long as Redknapp to understand being goalless at half-time
against a team managed by Ferguson counts for little.

On the previous 21 occasions United had been in such a position, 19 had ended in a home win.

Nevertheless, the confidence exuded
by Julio Cesar to step inside a Rooney challenge deep inside the
visitors' box suggested a large degree of confidence, either than or
insanity.

Yet, this season at least, as much a feature of United winning has been their concession of the first goal.

Comeback: Jonny Evans powered home an equaliser to spark United's revival

Comeback: Jonny Evans powered home an equaliser to spark United's revival

It had happened in their previous four games so it was no surprise they should fall behind again.

Defensively, they were supposed to be
getting stronger personnel wise. There was no evidence of it though as
United failed to read a short corner and then failed to prevent Kieron
Dyer getting down the by-line.

Then, after Anders Lindegaard had only been able to shove Dyer's low cross away from his goal, Mackie finished off.

Within minutes, Adel Taarabt had curled a free-kick narrowly over.

Head boy: Darren Fletcher, starting in the Premier League for the first time in a year, grabbed a goal

Head boy: Darren Fletcher, starting in the Premier League for the first time in a year, grabbed a goal

Head boy: Darren Fletcher, starting in the Premier League for the first time in a year, grabbed a goal

Ferguson took immediate action, hauling off Paul Scholes and Young in favour of Anderson and Javier Hernandez.

The change took a little while to have any discernable effect, but eventually, United brought themselves level.

Rooney spoke only yesterday about not
being bothered to relinquish some of the goalscoring responsibilities
he has carried since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure.

He cannot have expected Evans to have picked up the mantle.

Prior to this season, the Northern Irishman had only scored one United goal.

When he was on hand to turn home Welbeck's header from Rooney's corner, it was his third of the season.

That settles it: Javier Hernandez emerged from the bench to grab his team's third and final goal

That settles it: Javier Hernandez emerged from the bench to grab his team's third and final goal

That settles it: Javier Hernandez emerged from the bench to grab his team's third and final goal

If that goal was well received, the
one Fletcher got to put the hosts ahead from another Rooney corner
triggered an emotional reaction from the Scot.

It was Fletcher's first Premier
League goal since that derby-day mauling by Manchester City 13 months
ago, most of the intervening period he spent battling against a chronic
bowel complaint that threatened his career.

Hernandez was soon tucking home his
ninth of the season as QPR showed their brittle side again, completing a
disastrous nine-minute spell which underlined why they are in so much
trouble.

Clint Hill had a header cleared off the line by Rafael before the end, although by then, Redknapp had gone anyway.

Crystal Palace 2 Blackburn 0: Glen Murray strikes twice – match report

Crystal Palace 2 Blackburn 0: Murray puts Holloway on top in battle of the new bosses

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UPDATED:

17:31 GMT, 3 November 2012

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway watched a confidant performance from his new side at Selhurst Park as two Glen Murray goals gave the Eagles a deserved win over Blackburn Rovers.

The result sees Palace climb to third in the Championship, just a point behind league-leaders Cardiff while Blackburn fall to sixth place.

Holloway arrived on the pitch at half time to a huge ovation and the manager, who has always had a way with words, knew exactly what to say.

Nice one: Glenn Murray (left) took the accolades as his brace saw Blackburn off

Nice one: Glenn Murray (left) took the accolades as his brace saw Blackburn off

Match facts

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha (Moxey 90), Garvan, Murray

Subs not used: Price, Blake, Wilbraham, Easter, O’Keefe, Moritz.

Goals: Murray 45, 65 pen.

Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Mn Olsson, Gamst Pedersen (Formica 59), Murphy, Etuhu, Ms Olsson (Vukcevic 72), Etuhu, Kazim Richards (Rochina 53), Rhodes

Subs not used: Kean, Orr, Ribiero, Rosado

Ref: Lee Probert

Attendance: 16,744

Latest Championship table, fixtures and results

‘I don’t you about you but how lucky are we to see a team like this They’re absolutely fantastic,’ he said.

Holloway’s fortune was a marked
contrast to that of new Blackburn boss Henning Berg, whose side could
not contain a dominant Palace team.

Yannick Bolasie and Owen Garvan
pulled the strings for the home side early on and Blackburn goalkeeper
Paul Robinson was forced into the first save of the match when he
acrobatically denied Damien Delaney’s header.

Despite the Eagles’ dominance,
Blackburn came closest to opening the scoring when Dickson Etuhu’s
header smacked back off the crossbar from Morten Gamst Pedersen’s
drilled corner. But it was the only effort of note in an otherwise
lifeless first-half from the visitors.

Transfer rumours persist around
Wilfried Zaha and the winger showed his quality when a clever one-two
with Glenn Murray set up Garvan, but the striker spooned his effort over
the bar.

Zaha might be Palace’s most-wanted
man, but on the opposite flank it was Bolasie causing the Blackburn
defence problems. The winger’s powerful shot was beaten away by Robinson
and moments later his header cannoned off the post from Zaha’s cross.

For all their efforts, the Eagles should have been ahead sooner than they were. But when the goal came, it was worth the wait.

When Garvan found some space on the
right, he curled a delicious left-foot cross onto the head of Glenn
Murray, whose effort flew in off the underside of the bar. It was the
perfect appetiser for Holloway’s half-time cameo.

Unveiled: Ian Holloway is Palace's new boss

Unveiled: Ian Holloway is Palace's new boss

After the break, Zaha swapped wings
with Bolasie and the youngster had the crowd on their feet with some
delightful trickery. Hanging on to the talented winger will surely be
one of Holloway’s toughest challenges.

Palace deservedly extended their lead
when Murray converted a penalty after being clumsily bundled over by
Grant Hanley. It was no more than the Eagles deserved.

Here's Holloway…

Read about Ian Holloway's unveiling as Palace manger here

And the visitors then had Robinson to
thank for keeping the score respectable when he produced a terrific
double save to deny Murray his hat trick from a second penalty.

Adam
Henley brought down Bolasie in full-flight, but Murray’s shot and
follow-up effort were both blocked.

Substitute Ruben Rochina saw a
stinging late shot clatter off the bar for Blackburn, but in truth the
visitors were lacklustre throughout.

As the final whistle blew, Holloway
can look forward to the prospect of working with an attacking Palace
side. But for Berg, the pressure is already on.

The Norwegian once said of the Blackburn job, ‘There are no real managers with credibility who would accept a job like that.’

He has since been convinced by his
new employers of the club’s direction, but with the expectation of
promotion looming, the Norwegian could not have wished for a worse
start.

Liverpool 1 Swansea 3: Match report

Liverpool 1 Swansea 2: It's Chico time for Laudrup as holders are dumped out at Anfield

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UPDATED:

22:06 GMT, 31 October 2012

Liverpool's defence of the League Cup ended as Brendan Rodgers' selection gamble backfired, as former club Swansea progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The Northern Irishman left the south Wales club in the summer to take over from Kenny Dalglish but it was the visitors who had the last laugh in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup at Anfield.

Chico Flores and Nathan Dyer put the Swans 2-0 up with 17 minutes to go and although substitute Luis Suarez quickly pulled one back De Guzman made it 3-1 in added time to loosen the eight-time winners' grip on the trophy.

More to follow…

Getting their heads in front: Chico celebrates scoring the first goal

Getting their heads in front: Chico celebrates scoring the first goal

Match facts

Liverpool: Jones, Henderson, Carragher, Coates, Robinson, Allen, Shelvey, Downing, Cole, Assaidi, Yesil. Subs not used: Ward, Suarez, Gerrard, Fernandez Saez, Sterling, Skrtel, Wisdom.

Goal: Suarez 76

Swansea: Tremmel, Chico, Richards, Williams, Tiendalli, Hernandez, Britton, Ki, Dyer, de Guzman, Michu. Subs not used: Cornell, Graham, Routledge, Monk, Shechter, Agustien, Davies.

Goals: Chico 34, Dyer 72, De Guzman 90

Referee: Lee Probert.

Click for the latest League Cup results and stats

Rising high: Chico gets to the ball first to score

Rising high: Chico gets to the ball first to score

Head over heels: Chico celebrates in front of the fans

Head over heels: Chico celebrates in front of the fans

Old boy: Joe Allen competes with Jonathan De Guzman during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round tie

Old boy: Joe Allen competes with Jonathan De Guzman during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round tie

Doubling the lead: Swansea's Nathan Dyer scores their second goal

Doubling the lead: Swansea's Nathan Dyer scores their second goal

That should do it: Dyer celebrates his goal

That should do it: Dyer celebrates his goal

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 1 – match report

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 1: Spurs fail to capitalise on Gunners slip with their own dropped points

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UPDATED:

15:02 GMT, 6 May 2012

Tottenham suffered a major blow in their bid to secure a top three finish when they failed to overcome a stubborn Aston Villa who, courtesy of the point, all but secured top flight status for another year.

Spurs were already behind to Ciaran Clark's speculative effort when Danny Rose made their challenge even harder with a shin-high tackle on Alan Hutton, giving the referee no alternative but to send the young Englishman off.

However, despite the dismissal, Harry Redknapp's side fought their way back into the match when Emmanuel Adebayor stroked home from the spot after Richard Dunne felled Sandro in the box.

More to follow…

Marching orders: Danny Rose's sending off in the second half was the main talking point at Villa Park

Marching orders: Danny Rose's sending off in the second half was the main talking point at Villa Park

MATCH FACTS

ASTON VILLA: Given, Hutton (Collins 53), Warnock, Dunne, Clark, Cuellar, Lichaj, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Herd, Heskey (Weimann 51, Delfouneso 70). Subs not used: Guzan, Bannan, Gardner, Carruthers.

Goals: Clark 35

Booked: Dunne

TOTTENHAM: Friedel, Kaboul, Gallas, Walker, Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart (Parker 89), Modric, Rose, Sandro, Adebayor. Subs not used: Cudicini, Nelsen, Livermore, Saha, Giovani, Defoe

Goals: Adebayor (pen) 62

Booked: Kaboul

Sent off: Rose

Attendance: 36,008

Referee: Lee Probert

Crunch: Rose's rash challenge left Alan Hutton in a heap, with the Scotland international subsequently going off

Crunch: Rose's rash challenge left Alan Hutton in a heap, with the Scotland international subsequently going off

Hero, not Villain: Ciaran Clark gave Aston Villa a half-time lead with a fortuitous long-range effort

Hero, not Villain: Ciaran Clark gave Aston Villa a half-time lead with a fortuitous long-range effort

Hero, not Villain: Ciaran Clark gave Aston Villa a half-time lead with a fortuitous long-range effort

Spot on: Emmanuel Adebayor got Spurs back on level terms with a cool penalty

Spot on: Emmanuel Adebayor got Spurs back on level terms with a cool penalty

Battle: The game failed to really spark with much of the action stuck in the middle third

Battle: The game failed to really spark with much of the action stuck in the middle third

Much to ponder: Alex McLeish faced further calls for him to step down

Much to ponder: Alex McLeish faced further calls for him to step down

Much to ponder: Alex McLeish faced further calls for him to step down

Much to ponder: Alex McLeish faced further calls for him to step down

Sunderland 2 Bolton 2: Kevin Davies double gives Wanderers hope

Sunderland 2 Bolton 2: Davies double gives Wanderers hope of avoiding relegation

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 28 April 2012

Kevin Davies struck twice to keep Bolton's survival hopes alive after a hard-fought draw at Sunderland.

The 35-year-old striker volleyed the visitors in front with 26 minutes played and then snatched a point 20 minutes from time with a close-range header.

Nicklas Bendtner had cancelled out Bolton's lead with a cool 36th-minute finish and the Black Cats looked to be on the road to victory when James McClean curled a 55th-minute free-kick past keeper Adam Bogdan.

Set-piece special: James McClean (left) celebrates putting Sunderland ahead from a free-kick

Set-piece special: James McClean (left) celebrates putting Sunderland ahead from a free-kick

MATCH FACTS

SUNDERLAND: Gordon, O'Shea, Turner, Kilgallon (Bridge 82), Bardsley, Campbell (Elmohamady 72), Cattermole, Colback, McClean, Bendtner, Sessegnon. Unused subs: Westwood, Bridge, Vaughan, Ji, Meyler, Kyrgiakos, .

Goals: Bendtner 36. McClean 55

Booked: Cattermole

BOLTON: Bogdan, Boyata, Ream, Wheater, Ricketts, Reo-Coker (Vela 78), Mark Davies, Petrov, Eagles (Klasnic 64), Ngog (Miyaichi 64), Kevin Davies. Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Knight, Sordell.

Goals: Kevin Davies 26, 70

Referee: Lee Probert

But Davies' intervention ensured
Wanderers added a further point to the three they collected at Aston
Villa in midweek to send themselves into Wednesday night's home clash
with Tottenham in confident mood.

Sunderland at least ended their
barren run – they had not scored in four games before today – but they
will have been disappointed not to be able to hang on to claim a first
league win in six attempts in front of a crowd of 40,768.

Despite manager Martin O'Neill's
insistence to the contrary, the Black Cats have given the impression of a
team with one eye on the summer in recent weeks, and for the opening
half-hour or so they did little to dispel the notion.

They were simply not at the races,
with the visitors providing all of the early impetus to create a series
of promising openings. Chris Eagles drilled a fourth-minute free-kick
wide and David Ngog saw his seventh-minute shot blocked by Matt
Kilgallon before Nigel Reo-Coker carved a path through the red and white
shirts to blast a long-range effort just wide.

Hero: Kevin Davies (right) beats the tackle of Matthew Kilgallon to put wanderers a goal up

Hero: Kevin Davies (right) beats the tackle of Matthew Kilgallon to put wanderers a goal up

Keeper Craig Gordon, playing his
first game of the season following a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury,
was called upon for the first time when he got down to claim Mark
Davies' 10th-minute drive. The traffic was largely one-way and Michael
Turner had to throw himself into the path of Martin Petrov's goal-bound
11th-minute shot.

Petrov turned provider with 25
minutes gone when he crossed from the left for Ngog to head high over
the bar, but the Bulgarian repeated the dose seconds later and Kevin
Davies was no so wasteful.

Hope: Kevin Davies celebrates his goal

Hope: Kevin Davies (left) celebrates his goal to prematurely please manager Owen Coyle (right)

Hope: Kevin Davies (left) celebrates his goal to prematurely please manager Owen Coyle (right)

The midfielder's cross found the
striker unmarked at the far post and he volleyed expertly across Gordon
and into the bottom corner to give Wanderers a deserved lead.

Sunderland belatedly found their feet
as they sought a way back into the game and after Stephane Sessegnon
had seen penalty appeals waved away, Kilgallon glanced a McClean
free-kick just the wrong side of the post with keeper Adam Bogdan beaten
13 minutes before the break.

On the run: Sam Ricketts of Bolton holds off Lee Cattermole

On the run: Sam Ricketts of Bolton holds off Lee Cattermole

The equaliser eventually arrived four
minutes later when Jack Colback slid a pass into Bendtner's run and he
controlled confidently before passing the ball past Bogdan and into the
net.

Full-back Phil Bardsley's hopes of
being awarded a penalty when his shot struck Tim Ream's foot and then
his arm were never going to be answered in the affirmative, but O'Shea
was denied by Bogdan after making an unlikely 38th-minute burst into the
box.

Arms race: Mark Davies is chased down by Jack Colback (right)

Arms race: Mark Davies is chased down by Jack Colback (right)

However, Gordon had to react well to
tip Ngog's mishit volley over the bar in the final minute of the half
with Bolton intent on collecting all the points on offer.

The Scotland international was in
action once again within four minutes of the restart when Eagles'
swerving shot almost deceived him after the midfielder was allowed time
and space to take aim.

Anxious times: Coyle (right) knows Bolton are on the brink

Anxious times: Coyle (right) knows Bolton are on the brink

Hero: Kevin Davies celebrates his second goal

Hero: Kevin Davies celebrates his second goal

Bolton were dominating once again,
but contrived to surrender the advantage when Kevin Davies slid in late
on Sessegnon to concede a 55th-minute free-kick 25 yards out.

McClean's firmly struck shot curled
over the defensive wall and despite the best efforts of Bogdan, who
managed to get a hand to it, found the net via the underside of the
crossbar.

Wanderers manager Owen Coyle made a
double change with 64 minutes gone when he replaced Eagles and Ngog with
Ryo Miyaichi and Ivan Klasnic, but his side almost fell further behind
within two minutes when Fraizer Campbell curled a right-foot shot just
over.

However, Bolton were back on level
terms 20 minutes from time when full-back Sam Ricketts crossed for the
unmarked Kevin Davies to head firmly past Gordon from five yards.

They might have snatched victory at
the death when Kevin Davies headed down yet another Petrov cross to
Klasnic, but Gordon managed to block his shot on the turn with his foot
to spare his side further misery.

Mark Hudson scores from 68 yard goal for Cardiff

Cardiff 2 Derby 0: 68 yards! Hudson belts it like Becks to keep Bluebirds in play-off places

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 18 April 2012

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay hailed goalscorer Mark Hudson after his sensational 68-yard strike inched them closer to securing a play-off place in a victory over Derby — their first home win in seven attempts.

Joe Mason bagged a 24th-minute opener for his 11th goal of the season before captain Hudson scored after the interval.

The stunning effort from well inside his own half left Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding stranded and evoked memories of David Beckham’s strike for Manchester United against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in August 1996.

Sensational strike: Mark Hudson celebrates

Sensational strike: Mark Hudson celebrates

MATCH FACTS

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Lawrence, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, McPhail (Ralls 54), Mason (Blake 79), Miller (Earnshaw 69).

Subs Not Used: Heaton, Harris.

Booked: McNaughton.

Goals: Mason 24, Hudson 63.

Derby: Fielding, Naylor (Brayford 46), Shackell, Buxton, Roberts, Ward (Steve Davies 49), Bryson, Hendrick, Green, Tyson, Robinson (Bailey 83).

Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Carroll.

Booked: Tyson.

Attendance: 21,216

Referee: Lee Probert

Mackay believes Hudson’s wonder goal,
in the 63rd minute, was deliberate and his sixth-placed side moved four
points clear of rivals Middlesbrough with only two matches remaining.

Mackay said: ‘It was a real good
piece of skill. Mark stepped out from the back ahead of the attacker,
looked up and absolutely meant it. He executed it.

‘Mark is an accomplished footballer
and he saw him (Fielding) off the line. I’m delighted for him and the
goal capped off an exceptional performance.

‘Chris Eagles scored one like it for
me at Watford against Brighton, but it wasn’t as long as that. I don’t
care if it was better than Beckham’s. It was our second goal and meant
we got three points.

‘It’s great because it keeps the
momentum going. We have 10 points out of 12 and we have the longest
unbeaten run — eight games — in the division. Derby came care-free, but
we soaked up their pressure and looked dangerous ourselves on the
counter-attack, especially with the second goal.

How cool was that Derby's Craig Bryson looks stunned

How cool was that Derby's Craig Bryson (right) looks stunned

‘We know three more points will seal
our play-off place. We have a tough game against Leeds United on
Saturday and we will concentrate on that, rather than look at other
results.’

Mason, a 250,000 signing from
Plymouth last summer, handed Cardiff the lead when he slotted home from
close range after ex-Derby forward Kenny Miller crashed a shot against
the post.

Either side of Mason’s opening goal,
the visitors created numerous chances with Nathan Tyson, Paul Green and
Jeff Hendrick all guilty of missing clear-cut opportunities in the first
period.

Beaten: Frank Fielding can do nothing to stop the shot

Beaten: Frank Fielding can do nothing to stop the shot

But Hudson showed Derby the way when the influential skipper sealed the points with his remarkable shot.

Derby boss Nigel Clough said: ‘I’ve
only seen goals like that on television. As soon as he hit it we knew it
was in. He hit it so cleanly. But we created enough chances to win
comfortably.’