Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Stoke win over West Bromwich Albion

Stoke snatched a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion thanks to Mamady Sidibe's late goal at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Tony Pulis's side have turned the Britannia into an intimidating arena for opponents this season and Sidibe's winner with six minutes to play was their fifth in seven home games this season.

The victory kept Stoke away from the relegation zone and left Albion - promoted along with City last season - rooted to the bottom of the table.

Rory Delap had an early chance to arrow in one of his trademark long throws in the opening minutes but West Brom's defenders managed to clear the danger.

Stoke suffered a blow in the 10th minute when striker Dave Kitson was stretchered off with a knee injury.

Albion keeper Scott Carson showed no sign of a hangover from his England error against Germany in midweek as he saved Sidibe's 25-yard strike.

A second Delap throw, this time from the right, caused greater anxiety as Gianni Zuiverloon missed his clearing header and the ball skidded straight through to Carson.

Ishmael Miller, deployed in a lone role up front for Albion, was starved of any decent service but managed to work space for a shot dipped just over the crossbar.

Cresswell appealed half-heartedly for a penalty when he was strong-armed off the ball by a combination of Jonas Olsson and Abdoulaye Meite, but was rightly turned down.

Carson was again alert after 52 minutes, getting down well to gather Tom Soares' long-range effort.

West Brom were struggling to get a foothold in proceedings until Miller again tried his luck from an unlikely position.

This time his chipped shot lurched high towards the far post, forcing Thomas Sorensen to concede a corner.

Jonathan Greening headed wide from Chris Brunt's left-sided delivery.

Substitute Michael Tonge was next to test Carson, in what was fast becoming a nervy time for the 23-year-old. He spilled the shot but regained possession before Sidibe arrived.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Garreth O'Connor on a short-term contract

League Two outfit Luton Town have completed the signing of former Burnley winger Garreth O'Connor on a short-term contract.
O'Connor, 29, has been without a club since being released by the Turf Moor outfit this summer, has signed a three-month deal at Kenilworth Road after a trial period.

Hatters boss Mick Harford told the club's official website: "It's no secret I've been looking for wide players and to add some experience to our squad after our recent injuries.

"Garreth's got a great chance to make a name for himself - he knows what we expect of him so he know has his chance to deliver."

Mike Newell is relishing

New Grimsby manager Mike Newell is relishing the prospect of returning to football management at Blundell Park after his unveiling on Monday.
Newell was unveiled as Alan Buckley's long-term successor on Monday, just over 18 months after leaving his previous post at Luton.
The 43-year-old former Hartlepool and Hatters boss is now keen to steer the Mariners - who are winless in League Two this season - away from the foot of the table.
"It's a challenge and I've never ever been afraid of a challenge," said Newell, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at Blundell Park.
"I'm really looking forward to getting into the job. This has always been a difficult place to come for visiting teams and visiting managers and I've had experience of that myself.
"That's the sort of club and team that we need to get back to."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Bairns at Fir Park

John Sutton's fifth goal in six SPL games proved to be the winner after Falkirk had twice pegged back their hosts. Jamie Murphy and Chris Porter put Motherwell ahead only for Steve Lovell and Graham Barrett to level.

Murphy and Sutton were restored to the starting line-up in place of Bob Malcolm and David Clarkson following Thursday night's UEFA Cup defeat by Nancy.

Motherwell played some of their best football of the season and some sloppy defending at both ends contributed to the excitement.

The teams were tied on seven points before the game but both were looking to continue moving away from the bottom reaches of the table.

Falkirk, who were unchanged, had gone four matches without defeat but it was the home side who secured back-to-back SPL wins.

Motherwell took control early on and Murphy had a deflected effort turned past the near post by Robert Olejnik following an accurate long pass by Paul Quinn.

Murphy, playing wide right in a 4-4-2 formation, then sped to the byline and crossed to the back post where Steven McGarry rose well but could not direct his header on target.

Well had regained some of the fluency largely missing so far this season and Murphy made their pressure count with a calm finish in the 12th minute. Referee Stevie O'Reilly played a good advantage after Lee Bullen fouled Sutton on the right touchline and Keith Lasley lofted the ball into Murphy's path.

The bounce deceived Falkirk defender Darren Barr and the 19-year-old took a touch before sliding the ball past Olejnik from 15 yards.

Well sat off and conceded a soft goal in the 22nd minute when Michael Higdon headed Bullen's long ball over a static defence for Lovell to slot home.

However, the Bairns were guilty of far sloppier defending a minute later as Porter put Motherwell back in front.

Olejnik came off his line to smother Quinn's long ball but deliberately let go as he slid out of the box. Bullen had turned his back on play to leave Porter to slip the ball home from a tight angle.

Reds flying high

Just behind them in the Premier League, surprise package Hull piled the pressure on Tottenham manager Juande Ramos on Sunday with a 1-0 win at White Hart Lane which lifted the Tigers up to third.

Liverpool looked in trouble as they trailed to a 19th-minute goal from Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido's curling free-kick four minutes from the interval.

However, Fernando Torres slid in from close range to reduce the deficit in the 55th minute.

City then had right-back Pablo Zabaleta sent off for an over-the-top challenge on Xabi Alonso, and they were punished further as Torres headed a 73rd-minute equaliser from Steven Gerrard's left-wing corner.

Liverpool, having used all their substitutes, also went down to 10 men late on when Martin Skrtel was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking knee injury.

But in injury-time, Dirk Kuyt fired home to complete the turnaround.

Chelsea's win was much more routine, with Joe Cole (21) and Nicolas Anelka (44) scoring the goals in a straightforward victory over Villa at Stamford Bridge.

At White Hart Lane, another stunning goal from Geovanni compounded bottom side Spurs' problems.

The Brazilian drilled a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner after just nine minutes to move the Tigers, in their maiden season in the top flight, into third place.

Bolton were 3-1 winners at Upton Park in the early kick-off after West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green handed them a 30th-minute lead when he dropped the ball at the feet of Kevin Davies and he hooked home.

Green then fumbled a shot to allow Gary Cahill to stab home from close range four minutes later.

Carlton Cole pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 69th minute but a drilled free-kick from Matt Taylor secured victory.

Jermain Defoe was Portsmouth's match winner again as he fired home in the 51st minute to clinch a 2-1 win over Stoke at Fratton Park after Peter Crouch's overhead kick (25) had been cancelled out by Ricardo Fuller (48).

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Kevin Nolan targets greatest Bolton achievement

Premier League survival would be one of Bolton Wanderers Football Club’s greatest achievements, says Kevin Nolan.

A 1-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday has lifted the Trotters out of the relegation zone with just three games remaining, and Nolan is determined to help his side finish the job and secure survival.

"Bearing in mind we lost manager Sam Allardyce at the start of the season, sold Nicolas Anelka in January, have lost Jussi (Jaaskelainen) and were without forward Kevin Davies through suspension, we did pretty well,” he said.

"From being one of the most solid and stable clubs in the Premier League, we have switched to being one where chop and change appears to be the motto. But we are getting it together again under new boss Gary Megson.

“Everybody is sticking together for the cause. If we can avoid the drop - and everyone is convinced we will - it will rank with anything Bolton Wanderers have achieved in recent times."

John Carew revels in Aston Villa triumph

John Carew has been speaking of his delight after helping Aston Villa Football Club to a derby-day win.

Martin O’Neill’s men ran out easy 5-1 winners over neighbours and archrivals Birmingham City on Sunday, and Carew has revealed it was one of the most satisfying days of his career.

“The pressure and the importance and the joy of winning a derby match against Birmingham is unbelievable,” he told Sky Sports. "Having this experience together with the fans and the club, there is nothing better than that.

“It is what every footballer is dreaming of. Everybody was just really ready to go and in the warm up we were really focused and everyone was concentrating.

"So I had a really good feeling when we went out. I felt really good before the game and I was quite sure I was going to have a good game. Everything was really great from the start to the end."

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Manchester United & Chelsea cut gap

Nicklas Bendtner's late leveller against Aston Villa keeps Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League

"Everyone goes through a bad spell, but every point gained is of vital importance." said Arsene Wenger after seeing his side's lead cut to just one point.

"They were difficult opponents. They defended very well and were sharp on the break.

"We had to dig deep to get to the pace of the game and it was the desire and refusal to lose which got us a point."

Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 win at Fulham while Chelsea went one better at West Ham.

"It's been a see-saw and now it is down to one point but Chelsea are still right on our coat-tails," said Sir Alex Ferguson.

"It looks as if it is going to be a fantastic run-in."

Thursday, 28 February 2008

FC Zurich vs Grasshoppers derby

02 Mar 2008. FC Zurich vs Grasshoppers derby. Stadium, Grasshopper Club Zurich, Switzerland. Hardturm, Hardturmstrasse 321, 8037 Zurich. Capacity - 17667. Zurich's Stadtderby is one of the oldest football derbies outside Great Britain. The first time it was played out was on 20 November 1897. Ever since there have been over 200 matches. Traditionally Grasshopper Club was known more as the noble and middle-class club, while FC Zurich was the club for the working men. But nowadays these social differences have nearly vanished. Those rivals played 200 Matches so far. In 101 Grasshoppers won, FC Zurich won 65 matches and 34 times was draw. Grasshoppers has a lot of supporter groups like Grassmokers, Blue-Side (1999), Wodka Fanatics (1999), Zone Romande. Zurich fans are Sudkurve. The support in the city for each club is about 50/50. Grasshoppers is mainly supported by the families who have been living in Zurich for many generations while FC Zurich attracts more people who have settled in Zurich but have their roots in other parts of Switzerland.

Kevin Blackwell said

Kevin Blackwell felt his side were unlucky to bow out of the FA Cup on Wednesday night.

"It was a cruel goal to concede, and after all the work-rate and endeavour we put in I thought we might have earned a bit of luck," he said after an extra-time own goal sent 'Boro into the last eight.

"There is nothing Paddy Kenny could have done about it. He is a very good goalkeeper and someone I rate very highly and it is particularly cruel that it should happen to him.

"We can go back home on the bus feeling slightly aggrieved, but the first thing you ask of any group of players is that they give you everything and these lads did that here."

Scott Sinclair news

Scott Sinclair is to join the Addicks promotion push.

The highly-rated England Under-19 star was wanted by a number of Championship clubs on loan but trained with Charlton earlier in the week and will join in time for the weekend.

Wayne Brown joined Brentford FC

Wayne Brown has joined Brentford Football Club on loan.

The 19-year-old midfielder has recently agreed a new contract with Fulham, yet he will move across the capital to Brentford for a loan deal where he will link up with Cottagers pal Rob Milsom.

"I'm pleased to welcome Wayne to the club," Bees boss Andy Scott said.

"He is a very talented midfielder who, like Rob Milsom, has just signed a new two-year contract with them. After the injuries we sustained on Saturday he will be a good addition."

Monday, 25 February 2008

Derby County boss threatens summer clearout

Paul Jewell wants an immediate improvement on Saturday's defeat at former club Wigan Athletic

"Derby County is a great club and a lot of players, not all of them, don't deserve to be here," he told the club's official website.

"But we've got to try and get to the end of the season and try and shape them up or ship them out for next season, because that's what it's going to take.

"I never slag players off normally but the way they've played, I can't defend it.

"I will defend my players all the way if they are giving their best and things are just not happening.

"But I can't defend that performance. It was absolutely disgraceful."

Miguel Veloso and Manchester United

Manchester United Football Club have reportedly ended their interest in Miguel Veloso.

The Reds have been strongly linked with the £10million-rated Sporting Lisbon midfielder in the past, yet it is believed Sir Alex Ferguson is more than happy with his current options in this area.

Brazilian superstar Anderson has already emerged as a key player for United despite being just 19-years-old, whilst Michael Carrick is enjoying another fine season and Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes are also available.

Veloso, meanwhile, has indicated he is happy to remain in Portugal with Sporting: "Now my head is only in Sporting. And until the end of the season I do not desire to follow talk about my future.”