Premier League

United Extend Lead At Top

Manchester United restored their seven-point lead at the summit with a 2-1 win at Newcastle, while Aston Villa lost 2-0 at Manchester City.Peter Lovenkrands handed Newcastle a shock lead after just nine minutes when Edwin van der Sar spilled Jonas Gutierrez’s ball in and the Dane prodded home.

The lead was not to last, however, as Wayne Rooney equalised in the 20th minute with a clever turn and shot which was aided by a deflection off Steven Taylor’s arm. And United forced their way in front with 56 minutes gone when, after Ryan Taylor slipped as he attempted to chest a deep cross back to Steve Harper, Park Ji-Sung pounced and prodded the ball across to Dimitar Berbatov to poke home.

European hopefuls Aston Villa are without a win in six games in all competitions after a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City. City took the lead in the 24th minute through Elano’s penalty after James Milner clumsily fouled Shaun Wright-Phillips in the box to concede the kick. Villa’s fightback failed to really materialise before Wright-Phillips scored a minute from time after a nice one-two with Stephen Ireland. 

Stoke jumped out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-0 win at home to Bolton. James Beattie scored his fifth goal in seven appearances after arriving in the January transfer window. Gary Cahill had a second-half goal correctly disallowed as Bolton tried to force an equaliser but Stoke doubled the lead through Ricardo Fuller when the Trotters failed to clear Rory Delap’s long throw-in.

Blackburn slipped to third from bottom after they could only draw 0-0 with Everton. Steven Pienaar came the closest to scoring in the first half but stand-in keeper Jason Brown denied him with a diving save. Blackburn hit the bar in the second half through Stephen Warnock’s free-kick and could also have won it had Jason Roberts not squandered a brilliant one-on-one chance with Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Rampant Tottenham handed Middlesbrough a 4-0 beating at White Hart Lane just days after their Carling Cup final defeat to leave Boro second from bottom. Robbie Keane gave Spurs the lead after nine minutes. Roman Pavlyuchenko doubled the lead soon after with a well-taken finish and it was 3-0 when Keane’s sublime ball put Aaron Lennon through and the winger capitalised on the opportunity. Lennon’s second of the game late on completed the rout.

West Ham took a hard-earned three points from Wigan in a 1-0 victory which saw both sides have a man sent-off at the JJB Stadium. The Hammers went ahead 11 minutes before the break with a sublime goal by Carlton Cole – who was dismissed with a second booking three minutes later for a high kick. Early in the second half Wigan’s Lee Cattermole received a straight red for a bad lunge on Scott Parker, while later on Hammers youngster Jack Collison was taken off with a bad knee injury after twisting his leg awkwardly.

Hull snatched a barely-deserved three points at Fulham as Manucho’s last-gasp goal handed them a 1-0 victory at Craven Cottage. Simon Davies and Andrew Johnson missed good first-half chances while the home side deserved a penalty when Bobby Zamora seemed to be fouled by Kevin Kilbane. But Richard Garcia’s cross two minutes into added time found Manucho near the far post and the striker converted before wheeling away in delight.