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Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1 match report

Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1: Zaha puts on show for England boss Hodgson

PUBLISHED:

17:35 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 16 February 2013

Glenn Murray took his goals tally to 27 for the season with a brace as Crystal Palace maintained their promotion push by brushing aside Middlesbrough.

But it was Wilfried Zaha who stole the show again as the Manchester United-bound winger turned in a man of the match performance in front of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Pointing the way: Glenn Murray scored twice as Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough 4-1 at Selhurst Park to maintain their strong promotion challenge

Pointing the way: Glenn Murray scored twice as Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough 4-1 at Selhurst Park to maintain their strong promotion challenge

Star man: Murray (right) took his season goal tally to 27 with a brace

Star man: Murray (right) took his season goal tally to 27 with a brace

Crystal Palace 4 Middlesbrough 1

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Richards, Delaney, Ramage, Parr, Zaha, Jedinak, Dikgacoi (Butterfield 76), Williams (K Phillips 70), Dobbie (Bolasie 81), Murray

Substitutes: Price, Wilbraham, Moxey, O'Keefe

Scorers: Murray 9, 57; Ramage 48, K Phillips 84

Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby (Dyer 58), Bikey, Friend, Halliday, McEachran (Miller 60), Leadbitter, Rhys Williams, Haroun, Jutkiewicz (Bailey 59), Carayol

Substitutes: Leutwiler, McManus, Emnes, Ledesma

Scorer: Haroun 80

Booked: Williams

Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands)

Attendance: 17, 213

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Afterwards Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway said: 'In front of the England manager, I thought Wilf was excellent.

We have a few who make a difference. He is one of them. This was as good as he has played since I have been here.

'He is literally as good as any chef I have seen. And he has roasted their full-backs all day and they will be glad to see the back of him.'

He added: 'I thought we moved the ball too slowly in the first half and told them that at half-time.

'I told them they were boring me.

'We upped the pace of doing things.

'We are getting stronger and the challenge is, can we get another 14 of them (wins) That would be good, wouldn't it We have to aim for the stars.'

Former Brighton forward Murray opened
the scoring early on, but missed two more chances to complete a
first-half hat-trick as Palace struggled to make their dominance count.

However,
just after the interval, Murray set up Peter Ramage to double his
side's advantage before the in-form striker's spectacular drive and
Kevin Phillips' effort ensured Palace extended their unbeaten league run
at Selhurst Park to 15 matches.

Faris Haroun netted a late consolation when Boro were three down and the visitors are clinging on to the final npower Championship play-off place after a fifth consecutive away league defeat.

Boro had the first effort on goal in the fourth minute when on-loan Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran brought a fine save from Julian Speroni.

But it was Palace who broke the deadlock just five minutes later when Wilfried Zaha, with England manager Roy Hodgson watching on, beat a couple of defenders and delivered a cross that Murray converted from close range.

The Palace pair almost combined again midway through the half, but Murray failed to get a touch to the lively England international's cross before heading over the top.

The home side's dominance continued as Damien Delaney fluffed his lines from a well worked corner before George Friend's excellent tackle denied Murray a clear run on goal.

Stephen Dobbie, signed on loan from Championship rivals Brighton last month, almost opened his Palace account on the half-hour, half-volleying goalkeeper Jason Steele's clearance just wide from 35 yards.

Boro almost got back on level terms against the run of play, though, with Ramage having to spectacularly clear Haroun's effort off the line after Speroni was beaten.

McEachran ended the half as he started it with a shot at goal, but this time he fired wide.

Hard to stop: Murray is challenged by Middlesbrough players Faris Haroun (left) and Andrew Halliday

Hard to stop: Murray is challenged by Middlesbrough players Faris Haroun (left) and Andrew Halliday

On the attack: Wilfried Zaha carries Palace forward

On the attack: Wilfried Zaha carries Palace forward

Foot in: Middlesbrough's George Friend beats Kagisho Dikgacoi to the ball

Foot in: Middlesbrough's George Friend beats Kagisho Dikgacoi to the ball

Palace finally got their second three minutes after half-time when Murray's header across goal was taken down on the chest by Ramage, who then hooked the ball into the net.

And things got better for Palace when Murray unleashed a left-foot rocket into the top corner nine minutes later.

Dobbie failed to connect with Murray's cross before the former Swansea midfielder let Boro off the hook by opting to shoot rather than pass in a promising position.

Hurdle: Murray skips over the challenge of George Friend

Hurdle: Murray skips over the challenge of George Friend

Taking a fall: Lukas Jutkiewicz wins the ball from Palace players Peter Ramage and Jazz Richards

Taking a fall: Lukas Jutkiewicz wins the ball from Palace players Peter Ramage and Jazz Richards

The Mask: Palace captain Mike Jedinak took to the field in protective head gear

The Mask: Palace captain Mike Jedinak took to the field in protective head gear

Boro were restricted to long-range efforts as Speroni saved shots from Andrew Halliday and Mustapha Carayol.

However, they pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time when Haroun took on Ishmael Miller's flick and slotted under Speroni.

Substitute Phillips' clever back heel was saved by Steele before the veteran forward got his goal, coolly finishing Zaha's through-ball in the 84th minute.

Barnsley 1 Birmingham 2 – Curtis Davies scores twice as Blues avenge 5-0 loss

Barnsley 1 Birmingham 2: Davies at the double as Blues avenge 5-0 loss in September

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 26 December 2012

There was a familiar ring to the name of the man who stole the show in this revenge re-match.

Only this time Birmingham’s Curtis Davies delivered the match-winning heroics to ease the pain of near-namesake Craig’s four-goal salvo in Barnsley’s astonishing 5-0 win at St Andrew’s in September.

But Barnsley striker Craig wasn’t entirely out of the spotlight, much as he would wish to have been on this occasion. For it was the Wales forward’s woeful penalty miss that turned the game and piled more pressure on his manager Keith Hill.

Head first: Curtis Davies scored both goals for Birmingham

Head first: Curtis Davies scored both goals for Birmingham

Match facts

Barnsley: Steele, Stones, Hassell, McNulty, Golbourne, O'Brien, Greening, Perkins (Done 68), Dawson, Tudgay, Dagnall (Davies 68).

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Wiseman, Harewood, Cywka, Sinclair.

Booked: Tudgay.

Goals: Greening 38.

Birmingham: Butland, Robinson, Caldwell, Davies, Hancox, Hall (Gomis 85), Mullins, Reilly, Elliott, Zigic, Redmond (Burke 53).

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Ibanez, Morrison, Jervis, Delfouneso.

Booked: Elliott.

Goals: Davies 35, 77.

Attendance: 9,191

Referee: Carl Boyeson

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Davies, just on as a substitute in a return from injury, had the chance to put Barnsley in front when Steven Caldwell handled Jim O’Brien’s second-half corner with the score at 1-1.

But the hosts’ top marksman contrived to miss by an extraordinary distance – perhaps 30 yards high and 20 yards wide.

His embarrassment was compounded four
minutes later when Birmingham centre back Davies was allowed a free
header from Robert Hall’s free-kick.

That restored the lead he had given
his side from another set-piece, a near-post header from a corner also
delivered by Hall in the first half.

Jonathan Greening cracked a fine 20-yard equaliser, his first goal for Barnsley since arriving on loan from Nottingham Forest.

Birmingham manager Lee Clark felt his
continued reliance on youngsters – there were seven teenagers in the
side last weekend and five here – could be a ‘watershed’ for the club.

Warning that experienced players
might be frozen out, he said: ‘Those out will have to bide their time.
Age doesn’t matter to me. The young lads are showing great spirit and I
can guarantee passion when we go to Bolton on Saturday.’

Oakwell’s match sponsors delivered
another slap in the face to Hill – whose customary notes were peculiarly
absent from the programme – by naming David Perkins as Barnsley’s man
of the match.

Points in the bag: Davies celebrates his brace

Points in the bag: Davies celebrates his brace

Perkins had been substituted to a storm of boos directed at the bench in the 67th minute.

Hill said: ‘I can understand the
supporters and David was man of the match, no question. But he’s had
recurring injuries and I feel I made the right decision for David and
the club.’

The beleaguered manager, who was also
betrayed by a remarkable miss by Chris Dagnall, accused his players of
switching their marking duties against his wishes for Birmingham’s
second.

Hill appears to be daring his board
to sack him and this was his parting shot last night: ‘If we don’t stick
together we’ll go down.’

Rene Higuita does Scorpion Kick against Brazil Masters in India

Higuita's head over heels… again! Colombian legend executes Scorpion Kick in India

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UPDATED:

09:42 GMT, 10 December 2012

Rene Higuita is up to his old tricks again. 17 years after his famous Scorpion Kick against England, the former Colombia No 1 recreated his moment of genius in an exhibition match in India.

The 46-year-old, who is now retired, was playing for the Indian All-Stars in Kolkata, taking on the mighty Brazilian Masters at the Yubabharati Stadium.

Up to his old tricks: Rene Higuita executes a Scorpion Kick during an exhibition match between the Brazilian Masters and Indian All Stars in Kolkata

Up to his old tricks: Rene Higuita executes a Scorpion Kick during an exhibition match between the Brazilian Masters and Indian All Stars in Kolkata (below)

Head over heels: Higuita

World Cup winners Bebeto, Dunga and Juninho Paulista were among the big names involved as the Samba stars. But it was Higuita who stole the show with his trademark trick.

Before the game he promised Indian fans: 'I will give you one of my best shows on Saturday. It will be my way of saying thanks to this city.'

The same skill – acrobatically diving heals over head to clear the ball off the goal-line – was beamed around the world when he cleared a shot from Sportsmail columnist Jamie Redknapp at Wembley in 1995.

Brazil-liant: Former World Cup winner Bebeto starred for the Brazilian team

Brazil-liant: Former World Cup winner Bebeto starred for the Brazilian team

Higuita, however, was unable to stop the Brazilian Masters cruising to a 3-1 victory.

But he told Firstpost Sports: 'I believed that the goalkeeper is just like the 10 out-field players. If given a chance he should help in the attacking intent of the team.'

Who said 'keepers were crazy

VIDEO: Re-live Higuita's stunning Scorpion Kick at Wembley

Fulham 0 Tottenham 3: match report:

Fulham 0 Tottenham 4: Deadly Defoe doubles up for rampant Spurs

PUBLISHED:

16:54 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 1 December 2012

Jermain Defoe upstaged Dimitar Berbatov by scoring twice to sink Fulham and move Tottenham in to fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.

The London derby had been billed as a chance for Berbatov to shine against his former club after such a wonderful start to his career in west London, but it was the man who so often lived in the Bulgarian's shadow at White Hart Lane who stole the show today by bagging his 11th and 12th goals of the current campaign.

Make mine a double: Jermain Defoe fired a brace for Tottenham

Make mine a double: Jermain Defoe fired a brace for Tottenham

Match facts

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riether (Kelly 28), Senderos, Hughes, Riise, Frei (Duff 61), Diarra, Sidwell, Dejagah, Berbatov, Petric (Rodallega 78). Subs not used: Etheridge, Baird, Karagounis, Richardson.

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson (Gallas 16), Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon, Dembele (Carroll 83), Sandro, Bale (Sigurdsson 61), Defoe, Dempsey. Subs not used: Friedel, Falque, Walker, Livermore.

Goals: Sandro 55, Defoe 72, 77

Booked: Bale, Gallas

Referee: Chris Foy

Att: 25,426

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The England striker this week spoke
about how working under Andre Villas-Boas had breathed life into his
flagging career, and the 30-year-old delivered once again for his
manager by killing off the game with Tottenham's final two goals.

Berbatov showed flashes of brilliance
in a good first half for Martin Jol's men, but Sandro put Spurs ahead
after the break with a 35-yard drive – his second goal for the club.

Defoe then stepped up to the plate
to seal the match, converting Gylfi Sigurdsson's pass to make it 2-0
before adding a second five minutes later from Clint Dempsey's pass.

The win – Tottenham's third on the
bounce, now means Villas-Boas' team are level with third-place Chelsea
in the table, and given current form, it seems only a matter of time
before the Portuguese moves ahead of the club who sacked him in March.

The only worry for Villas-Boas is
that Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson both hobbled off with injuries.
Berbatov looked determined to make an impression from the start and it
took little time for him to turn on the class.

Going nowhere: Gareth Bale (right) is held back by Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah

Going nowhere: Gareth Bale (right) is held back by Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah

The Bulgarian, who enjoyed two
prolific seasons at Spurs before leaving for Manchester United, produced
a deft touch to skip past Dawson and carve open the Spurs defence, but
Hugo Lloris charged off his lane to collect the ball before Steve
Sidwell had a chance to shoot.

Up the other end Dempsey showed a
moment of brilliance to turn Aaron Hughes and glide past Philippe
Senderos but he shot well wide.

Dempsey, mocked by the home support
throughout the match, was then clattered by Mahamadou Diarra, who was
lucky to escape without a booking.

Sliding in: Tottenham's Kyle Naughton (right) challenges Fulham's Kerim Frei

Sliding in: Tottenham's Kyle Naughton (right) challenges Fulham's Kerim Frei

Stunner: Sandro celebrates his long-range opener

Stunner: Sandro celebrates his long-range opener

Berbatov's class then shone through
once again as he released Ashkan Dejagah with a sublime back heel but
Kerim Frei could only put the winger's deflected cross over the bar.

Villas-Boas was forced into an early change when Dawson suffered an injury while clearing a cross in the 15th minute.

William Gallas came on in his place.
Bale was booked for diving eight minutes later, although replays showed
Sidwell caught the Welshman's trailing leg.

Heading up: Clint Dempsey (right) beats Mahamadou Diarra in the air

Heading up: Clint Dempsey (right) beats Mahamadou Diarra in the air

Rolling Bale: Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah looks for the ball after colliding with Gareth Bale

Rolling Bale: Fulham's Ashkan Dejagah looks for the ball after colliding with Gareth Bale

Berbatov's class then shone through
once again as he released Ashkan Dejagah with a sublime back heel but
Kerim Frei could only put the winger's deflected cross over the bar.

Villas-Boas was forced into an early change when Dawson suffered an injury while clearing a cross in the 15th minute.

William Gallas came on in his place.
Bale was booked for diving eight minutes later, although replays showed
Sidwell caught the Welshman's trailing leg.

Losing out: Bale is tackled by Fulham's Dejagah

Losing out: Bale is tackled by Fulham's Dejagah

The winger, who was booked for the
same offence on Wednesday, was lucky not to see red after sarcastically
applauding Chris Foy's decision.

The game slowed down from its
frenetic opening. Dempsey and Malden Petric both had half chances and
Mark Schwarzer sprinted off his line to deny Defoe.

Berbatov nutmegged Aaron Lennon with
an exquisite piece of skill, but the England winger soon collected the
ball and found Bale, but he skied his finish.

Petric muscled Sandro off the ball
and found Sidwell as Fulham pushed for an opener just after the break,
but he dragged his shot wide.

Bald truth: Martin Jol (left) saw his side second best to everything

Heads we win: Steven Sidwell (left) is beaten by Sandro

Bald truth: Martin Jol's (left) side were second best, as Steven Sidwell (above, left) is beaten by Sandro

On the rise: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side record their third victory in seven days

On the rise: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side record their third victory in seven days

Berbatov prowled on the edge of the box, probing at the Spurs defence, but he could not find a way through.

The away side then took the lead out
of nowhere. Sandro capitalised picked up Mousa Dembele's pass five yards
inside the Fulham half and carried the ball forward before unleashing a
powerful drive that flew in off a post past Schwarzer.

Spurs looked to kill the game off
moments later through Bale, who galloped down the left after picking up
Defoe's pass, but Schwarzer saved well.

That proved to be Bale's last contribution to the game as he hobbled off with what looked like a hamstring problem.

Huddle up: Sandro (not seen) is mobbed after his goal out of nothing

Huddle up: Sandro (not seen) is mobbed after his goal out of nothing

Fulham struggled to get back on the
ball and Defoe took full advantage of Spurs' dominance. The striker
broke down the middle to meet the pass of Sigurdsson, who had turned
Senderos inside out, and he made no mistake from close range.

Five minutes later and it was game
over. Dempsey threaded a perfect through ball past Senderos, Defoe
galloped through and slotted beyond Schwarzer.

Spurs took their foot off the accelerator and eased to a morale-boosting victory.

Going over: Clint Dempsey is fouled by Mahamadou Diarra

Going over: Clint Dempsey is fouled by Mahamadou Diarra

On a run: Fulham's Frei beats Kyle Naughton to the ball

On a run: Fulham's Frei beats Kyle Naughton to the ball

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Match report

St Helens 18 Warrington 36: Wolves move one step closer to double after Waterhouse clinches win

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UPDATED:

21:18 GMT, 29 September 2012

Warrington are 80 minutes away from the elusive double after coming from 14-6 down to win their Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens at Langtree Park and secure a first Grand Final appearance.

Two tries in a three-minute spell midway through the second half from Australian forward Trent Waterhouse clinched victory for the Wolves, who will meet Leeds at Old Trafford next Saturday in a repeat of last month's Challenge Cup final which they won 35-18.

Warrington, who will become only the sixth club to contest the Grand Final, ran in four second-half tries to thwart Saints' bid for a seventh successive trip to Old Trafford and bring Mike Rush's reign as caretaker coach to a sorry end.

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

Job done: Trent Waterhouse scored two tries in three minutes to seal the win

St Helens, the last team to do the double in 2006, dominated the first half and ought to have been further ahead than 14-12 at the break but they quickly ran out of steam when Warrington got their second wind in the second half.

The Wolves, who lost to Saints in the opening round of the play-offs, were boosted by the return of Man of Steel contender Ben Westwood for his first appearance since Wembley but it was his second row partner Waterhouse who stole the show.

The former Kangaroo international was a Grand Final winner in the NRL with Penrith Panthers back in 2003 and will fancy his chances of doing the double.

Yet Saints had looked the more dangerous side throughout the first half with right winger Tommy Makinson going close and left winger Francis Meli denied by a forward pass from Jon Wilkin and it was no surprise when they opening the scoring on 11 minutes.

Makinson had no right to score after taking Chris Flannery's pass with Chris Riley still to beat but he produced an acrobatic dive to get around his man and plant the ball over the line.

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

Thumbs up: Adrian Morley celebrates after the Wolves clinched the win

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

One more game: Wolves moved within 80 minutes away from winning the double

It was against the run of play that Warrington took the lead on 17 minutes, with Wilkin conceding possession with a knock-on 30 metres from his own line and Richie Myler combining with Brett Hodgson to get Riley over at the corner.

Hodgson's touchline conversion made it 6-4 but Saints remained unfazed and they looked to have seized control with two tries in a 10-minute spell.

Second rower Mark Flanagan took the ball to the Warrington line of defenders to suck in their defence and his long, looping pass gave Meli the space to cross at the corner.

The big Kiwi would have had a second try but for a last-ditch tackle from Hodgson but the Warrington full-back blotted his copybook shortly afterwards, spilling Wilkin's towering kick to present his opposite number Paul Wellens with the easiest of scores.

Makinson kicked his first conversion at the third attempt to make it 14-6 but Warrington scored what proved to be a crucial try two minutes before the interval when loose forward Simon Grix charged onto Lee Briers' pass.

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

Party time: Warrington Wolves ran out deserved winners in the end

The visitors were back in front eight minutes into the second half when right winger Joel Monaghan was first to Briers' high kick and, although he dropped the ball, it went backwards and he had the presence of mind to gather it back up and touch down.

Hodgson maintained his accuracy with his third goal to make it 18-14 and the Wolves produced some tremendous defence to keep their lead intact before hitting a purple patch in which they ran in three tries in seven minutes.

The impressive Waterhouse supported a break by centre Ryan Atkins to score his first before powering through a tiring defence for his second while Riley finished off a smart crossfield passing move to claim the visitors' sixth try.

Meli stopped the rot with a consolation try eight minutes from the end but Hodgson wrapped up the scoring with a penalty to take his goal tally to six from seven attempts.

Worcester 21 Gloucester 15: Warriors fightback stuns Cherry and Whites

Worcester 21 Gloucester 15: Warriors fightback stuns Cherry and Whites

Worcester took another giant stride away from the Aviva Premiership relegation zone after former England fly-half Andy Goode guided them to victory at a sold-out Sixways.

Substitute Goode's appearance for the second half heralded a stirring Warriors fightback after they trailed 10-6 at half-time.

Goode, though, wiped out that deficit within six minutes of arriving off the bench when he converted his own try to follow a couple of earlier Joe Carlisle penalties.

Goode then added a penalty of his own before ex-Gloucester wing Marcel Garvey sprinted 80 metres for a clinching touchdown after the Warriors soaked up sustained pressure.

Miles too good: Worcester's Miles Benjamin breaks the tackle of Olly Morgan

Miles too good: Worcester's Miles Benjamin breaks the tackle of Olly Morgan

Gloucester, who saw full-back Olly Morgan carried off injured early in the second half, claimed a 25th-minute try through wing Charlie Sharples, while fly-half Freddie Burns added a conversion and penalty.

But they were ultimately undone by Worcester's ferocious commitment, especially in defence, despite Jonny May's consolation touchdown that secured a losing bonus point.

On a day when several players looked to leave final impressions on interim England coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of his 32-man elite squad announcement next Wednesday, it was 31-year-old Goode who stole the show.

And it means Worcester will head into a five-week break from league action with successive league wins under their belt and climbing towards mid-table status, well clear of bottom club Newcastle.

Warriors boss Richard Hill recalled prop Tevita Taumoepeau and flanker Jake Abbott following last weekend's 6-0 win at Wasps, which opened up a 10-point gap between Worcester and Newcastle.

Gloucester, meanwhile, welcomed back former England lock Alex Brown from a long-term injury as the only change following a 15-15 draw away to Premiership champions Saracens last time out.

Brought back down to earth: Mike Tindall is tackled

Brought back down to earth: Mike Tindall is tackled

The visitors had recorded a solitary victory from their last 10 league away games, but they started brightly as Burns booted them a 12th-minute lead.
Although his opposite number Carlisle quickly cancelled out that strike, Worcester's attacking failings – just nine tries in 12 Premiership matches this season – soon surfaced.

Wing Miles Benjamin, who has been linked with a move to Leicester next season, should have been freed on more than occasion, but the final pass proved Warriors' undoing.

Gloucester absorbed considerable pressure before establishing a strong territorial position and executing a well-worked try when Morgan and centre Henry Trinder combined to send Sharples scurrying over.

Referee Martin Fox required confirmation from the television match official before awarding Gloucester their opening touchdown, then Burns – who kicked five penalties in last weekend's draw against Premiership champions Saracens – added a testing touchline conversion.

It was a vivid lesson to Worcester on how to create and take chances, yet they did not learn their lesson and scrum-half Jonny Arr was guilty of blowing a golden opportunity just before half-time when he spilled possession in open play.

Carlisle reduced Warriors' arrears through a second penalty with the opening period's final kick, but Gloucester were good value for their lead, even if a 10-6 advantage meant they still had plenty of work to do.

Warrior sandwich: James Simpson-Daniel struggles to beat the Worcester defence

Warrior sandwich: James Simpson-Daniel struggles to beat the Worcester defence

Carlisle was replaced following an indifferent first half display, and it took Goode little time to make his mark on a game that saw Worcester requiring inspiration.

The ex-international No 10 had an immediate penalty chance, but after that bounced back off post, Worcester retained attacking momentum.

And Gloucester were then powerless to prevent Goode from scoring between the posts, with his conversion putting Warriors 13-10 ahead, before a penalty extended that advantage by a further three points.

Gloucester, in the meantime, saw Morgan carried off, and then Worcester struck a killer blow after some fearless defending kept their opponents at bay.

Trinder tried to break down the Warriors with a kick into space inside Worcester's 22, but Garvey gathered a kind bounce and then surged away up field without a Gloucester player touching him.

Goode missed the conversion and a later long-range penalty attempt, yet Worcester were home and dry, claiming a derby victory to savour despite May's late effort and celebrating first back-to-back Premiership triumphs since April 2009.

Neymar inspires Santos Club World Cup win

Neymar shines as Santos star inspires Club World Cup victory ahead of expected Barca showdown

Brazil striker Neymar showed why Europe”s best are hot on his heels as he inspired Santos to an exciting 3-1 victory over Japan”s Kashiwa Reysol in a Club World Cup semi-final in Toyota.

The Libertadores Cup holders are expected to face European champions Barcelona in this weekend”s final, barring the unthinkable in Barca”s semi-final against Qatar”s Al Sadd on Thursday.

Glorious: Neymar opened the scoring with a sumptuous piece of skill and even more classy finish

Glorious: Neymar opened the scoring with a sumptuous piece of skill and even more classy finish

All hail: The young Brazilian was at his brilliant best for most of the match against Japan

All hail: The young Brazilian was at his brilliant best for most of the match against Japan”s Kashiwa Reysol

Neymar struck fear into Reysol every time he touched the ball, and the 19-year-old put Santos ahead after 19 minutes, curling a superb, left-foot shot into the top corner from 25 yards.

He had already hit the post as Santos, crowned South American champions for the third time in June almost 50 years after Pele led them to back-to-back titles, surged forward from the start.

Anything you can do...: Borges also got in on the act with a memorable strike of his own

Anything you can do…: Borges also got in on the act with a memorable strike of his own

.... but it was Neymar who stole the show with a performance worthy of Santos

…. but it was Neymar who stole the show with a performance worthy of Santos” next opponents

Strike partner Borges smashed in a second goal from the edge of the box in the 24th minute as Santos flexed their muscles and the floodgates threatening to burst open.

Defender Hiroki Sakai threw Reysol a lifeline with a powerful header nine minutes into the second half, until Danilo bent a breathtaking free kick around the wall in the 63rd minute to slam the door on the J-League title holders.

Hope: Hiroki Sakai did give his side a lifeline with a second half header

Hope: Hiroki Sakai did give his side a lifeline with a second half header

Next up, Barcelona: Santos have therefore advanced to the final of the World Club Cup

Next up, Barcelona: Santos have therefore advanced to the final of the World Club Cup

Substitute Ibson rattled the crossbar as Santos came close to a fourth goal. On such form, the Brazilians will be hard to beat, even by Barcelona, who are chasing a second Club World Cup title in three years.

Barcelona”s semi-final against Asian champions Al Sadd and Sunday”s championship match both take place in Yokohama.