Premier League: Newcastle United 2 West Brom 1

Newcastle United moved fifth in the Premier League with a fourth straight victory on Saturday, beating West Brom 2-1 at St James’ Park.

Alan Pardew’s men occupy the UEFA Europa League spot after a hard-fought win that follows triumphs over Chelsea, Tottenham and Norwich City.

Yoan Gouffran gave Newcastle a deserved lead 10 minutes before the break, nodding into an empty net following a poor clearance from Boaz Myhill.

West Brom started the second half in positive fashion and were rewarded when Chris Brunt levelled, the midfielder smashing a powerful effort past Tim Krul after Shane Long’s glancing header found him free in the area.

Yet the visitors were ahead for just four minutes as Moussa Sissoko’s swerving effort from distance beat Myhill all ends up to secure all three points for Pardew’s side.

Newcastle made one change from the 2-1 win over Norwich, with Mathieu Debuchy returning from suspension and replacing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

The visitors brought Billy Jones, Liam Ridgewell and James Morrison into their starting XI, with Goran Popov and Claudio Yacob named among the substitutes and Steven Reid dropping out of the matchday squad.

Long was retained in attack after his brace in Monday’s 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.

Chris Brunt’s free-kick tested Krul three minutes in, with the Dutchman forced to tip the ball wide, before Yohan Cabaye saw a long-range effort roll harmlessly wide of Myhill’s right-hand post.

Newcastle grew into the game and saw Loic Remy’s header deflected wide following good work on the right from Sissoko, while Shola Ameobi opted to shoot from distance rather than playing in his strike partner.

The hosts’ pressure eventually paid off when Myhill could only parry a Cabaye corner skywards under pressure from Ameobi.

Gouffran was on hand to convert from close range, scoring for a third consecutive home game.

Amoebi and Remy linked well early in the second half, the Frenchman denied by Myhill after being slipped in, but Brunt then equalised in emphatic fashion seven minutes after the break.

The West Brom captain registered his first Premier League goal of the season with a left-footed strike that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Sissoko’s thunderous strike three minutes before the hour swiftly put Newcastle back on top and Debuchy should have put his side 3-1 ahead 15 minutes from time but instead shot straight at Myhill from the edge of the area.

The wasted opportunity was not to matter as Newcastle held on to leave West Brom, who introduced Zoltan Gera late on for his first appearance since January, with just one win in their last seven matches.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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League One Wrap: Orient top as Peterborough beat Wolves

Leyton Orient capitalised on Wolves’ defeat at Peterborough United to return to the top of League One on Saturday.

Russell Slade’s side earned a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Sheffield United as Kenny Jackett’s charges slumped to a 1-0 loss at London Road.

Orient had to come from behind to earn their point, Dean Cox’s goal eight minutes from time cancelling out Conor Coady’s strike 15 minutes earlier.

Michael Bostwick’s goal ended Peterborough’s run of five consecutive defeats, while for Wolves it was their first defeat in 12 matches.

Preston North End are six points adrift of the leading pair in third after a 1-0 home win over managerless Bristol City, Jack King claiming the only goal in the 33rd minute before the both sides were reduced to 10 men in the final minute.

Level with Preston are Brentford, who were indebted to Will Grigg’s 44th-minute goal as they sealed a 1-0 win at bottom club Notts County, who are now without a win in five matches.

Sixth-placed Rotherham United extended their unbeaten run to five games with a 4-1 thumping of Gillingham as Nouha Dicko, Kieran Agard, Ben Pringle and James Tavernier all found the net.

Swindon Town are a point shy of the top six following a 3-1 home win over Carlisle United.

Massimo Luongo put the hosts in front nine minutes before half-time, only to see Sean O’Hanlon level matters in the 69th minute.

Parity lasted just three minutes as Alex Pritchard struck, before Dany N’Guessan’s 90th-minute strike earned Swindon their first win in three.

At the wrong end of the table, Crewe Alexandra lifted themselves to within a point of safety with a 1-0 win over managerless Crawley Town.

Crewe had Vadaine Oliver sent off for a second caution 10 minutes after the break, but they were able to find a winner as Chuks Aneke came off the bench to strike with nine minutes remaining.

Stevenage dropped into the bottom four after going down 3-1 at home to Shrewsbury Town, who climbed to 13th while elsewhere, there were wins for Tranmere Rovers, Coventry City and Port Vale.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Under-fire Jol calls for calm

Under-fire Fulham boss Martin Jol has called for calm after seeing his side suffer a fifth successive Premier League defeat at West Ham.

The Dutchman admitted in the build-up to the match on Saturday that his job could be on the line if Fulham failed to beat Sam Allardyce’s side at Upton Park, and they slumped to a 3-0 defeat.

Mohamed Diame’s deflected effort put the hosts ahead, before substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole wrapped up the win in the final 10 minutes.

But afterwards, Jol insisted that he would keep a cool head, although he did acknowledge that the timing of West Ham’s opener was crucial.

“It is part of my job to deal with pressure,” he said. “It is not that I am not used to it, but you have to keep your head cool, that is for certain.

“We needed a result in the situation we were in and the same applied for West Ham.

“They tried to put pressure on us in the first half with the long ball and we coped with that.

“We had a strategy for Adel Taarabt to exploit the space behind their midfield and he did well. But to come out and concede a goal at the start of the second half really killed us.”

Captain Scott Parker sympathised with Jol as the pressure continues to mount on the 57-year-old, insisting that it is the players who should be blamed for recent poor performances.

“The manager takes all the flak really but, ultimately, the players need to take massive responsibility,” said the former West Ham midfielder. “He is the one that picks us and we are the ones who go out there.

“It is not nice being down at the bottom of the table and obviously confidence is low but I don’t think it is a fact that the players are not willing to put in the hard work, because we are.

“We are trying everything we possibly can to turn the corner and hopefully we can do that.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Hughes rues Stoke lapses

Mark Hughes rued the timing of Everton’s first two goals in their 4-0 rout of his Stoke City side on Saturday.

Everton dominated the game from the outset at Goodison Park, but looked set to go in level at the break after struggling to break down Stoke’s resolute defence.

However, the outstanding Gerard Deulofeu finally put the hosts ahead after a well-crafted team move on the stroke of half-time, before Seamus Coleman doubled their lead in the 49th minute.

Bryan Oviedo and Romelu Lukaku then rounded off Everton’s convincing victory with goals three and four, but Hughes was in no doubt as to where and when the game was lost for his side.

“Up to just before the half-time whistle, we’re very much in the game, so to concede right on the whistle is disappointing,” the Welshman said.

“And lo and behold, we come out (after half-time) and concede within two minutes. Two goals either side of half-time really shaped the game in a negative way (for us).”

Stoke failed to get a foothold in the game as they struggled to contain an energetic Everton outfit, and Hughes admitted the better team won.

“We were poor on the day in fairness but credit to Everton, I thought they were very good and made it really difficult for us,” the former Manchester City boss added.

“The movement and the pace they have was a little bit too much for us … we had too many (players) not quite at the level they needed to be. We take our medicine and move on.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Allardyce relieved after Fulham win

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was relieved after his side’s 3-0 win over Fulham in a relegation “six-pointer” at Upton Park on Saturday.

Allardyce’s team dominated much of the match and created numerous chances in the first half without finding the net, before Mohamed Diame gave them the lead two minutes into the second period.

Fulham were slightly improved after the break, but West Ham wrapped up the win with late goals from substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole.

The two sides went into the match on 10 points and very much embroiled in the battle at the bottom of the Premier League table, and Allardyce believes that victory will prove to be a big boost.

“It was a big win for us,” he said. “The pressure is always on when you don’t get results and slide towards the bottom three.

“When you come up against your nearest rivals in the table, with both sides on 10 points, it is a six-pointer so putting three points between us and Fulham is obviously a very healthy situation for us.

“I always believed if we created chances we would score goals and we did that today.”

Fulham manager Martin Jol has come under pressure after his side’s slump, and the defeat is only likely to see that increase, but Allardyce does have sympathy for the Dutchman.

“You can’t not feel for each other when things aren’t going your way,” he added. “It’s a lonely job when you’re trying to find a solution to poor results.

“It’s one where people don’t really understand what you’re going through because they have not experienced it.

“The people you interact with on a regular basis have to help you because you’re in a position where you take all the heat. That’s the job. If it’s going bad it is your responsibility.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Pulis keen to bolster ranks

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has reiterated his desire to bring in new faces during January’s transfer window.

The 55-year-old took charge of his first Palace fixture on Saturday, a 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.

Although Pulis saw promise in his new club’s display, he is eager to bolster a squad that has lost 10 out of 13 Premier League games this season.

“I thought we did really well. Norwich were the better team for the first 20 minutes and I’m really disappointed we didn’t get the breaks,” the former Stoke boss told BBC Sport.

“I’ve only had a week with the lads and they have bought into what we’re trying to do.

“You need a bit of quality and you need the Premier League experience, especially when you are on top for so long in the second half.

“We will try and make one or two changes if we can in the window. We need someone who can turn the tide.”

Palace’s next game sees West Ham visit Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Mackay defends second-half tactics

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay defended his second-half tactics after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

Former Cardiff midfielder Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring with a header in the 29th minute, before delivering the final blow in second-half stoppage time after substitute Mathieu Flamini had made it 2-0 four minutes from time.

The hosts pushed for an equaliser after the break with the score at 1-0, leading to a much more open game, but Mackay has no regrets over the change of approach that allowed Arsenal the space to extend their lead.

“We were obviously playing against a very good team today,” he said. “But I’m very proud of the team that I’ve got myself because we tactically made sure that we kept the ball in front of us in the first half.

“We limited them to few chances in that first half and then second half decided to press a little bit higher when space opened up.

“I don’t apologise for going for it a little bit then because we’re 1-0 down and we have to try and break their back line and upset them and stop them from keeping the ball for the rest of the game.

“We had to go for it. I was very proud of the bravery and the way they did that.

“I’d rather lose three and have a real go, and that’s what we did. We made sure that we gave them some problems throughout the second half.

“We’re playing against the best, and we’re certainly not out of our league.”

Ramsey was treated to a standing ovation from all four sides of the Cardiff City Stadium after the final whistle, and Mackay was quick to praise the club’s fans and the in-form midfielder.

“They’re a class act,” he added. “They’re very passionate football people. He was one of their own, and there’s plenty of grounds that people get booed at for that.

“I know the young man and he’s also a class act. Our fans today showed their appreciation.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Lambert takes positives from draw

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert took the positives from his side’s 0-0 home draw with Sunderland on Saturday.

Villa struggled to create chances in a dour affair, and were let off the hook by Emanuele Giaccherini’s incredible miss on the stroke of half-time, as he spooned over the crossbar from three yards when it seemed easier to score.

Despite the insipid display, Lambert insisted that there were still things he could draw from the game.

“I’m disappointed not to win the game but you’ve always got to have a positive side to it,” he said.

“You’ve got to keep building. That’s four unbeaten now, you’ve got to look at the positives and that’s the beauty of it.

“That’s a game we might have lost last year, that’s the good thing. Lads have come back from injury, it’s another clean sheet, it’s another point and it’s another game unbeaten.

“I don’t think we deserved to win the game and I don’t think we deserved to lose it but it’s another clean sheet and we’ve got the same amount of clean sheets now as the whole of last year.”

One concern for Lambert, however, will have been the form of Christian Benteke, whose threat was contained by Wes Brown and John O’Shea.

The Belgian is now without a league goal since September 14, and Lambert admits that is a worry.

“He’s not scored and he’s in a bit of a barren spell,” he added. “But all players do, I’ve never seen a player who’s never gone through a barren spell.

“You’ve just got to keep going, that’s football, it builds up your character when you go through these little spells and he’ll come through it.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Poyet consoles Giaccherini after miss

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet defended Emanuele Giaccherini after the striker’s glaring miss in the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Italy international somehow managed to scoop the ball over the crossbar from two yards with the goal gaping after being picked out by Phil Bardsley’s knock down on the stroke of half-time.

It left Sunderland without a goal in their last five away matches in the Premier League but they did climb off the foot of the table.

After the game, which ended the visitors’ run of five consecutive away league defeats, Poyet shrugged off the miss as an occupational hazard.

“He’s so sad,” he said. “He doesn’t stop thinking about it and saying sorry but that’s football and things happen for a reason sometimes.”

Poyet went on to underline the positives his side can take from the result.

“For us it was our best performance away from home because we made it difficult for them,” he said.

“We were brave on the ball, we created two or three very good chances so for a team down at the bottom playing away from home I don’t think it’s too bad.

“Maybe we deserved three points today but I want that team on the pitch every week and if it’s going to be like that we’ll win plenty of games.”

The Uruguayan defended his side’s gritty performance although they did come closest to breaking the deadlock on two occasions, with Giaccherini’s miss and Fabio Borini’s second-half header, which crashed off the bar.

“There’s always been something missing but today overall we defended well and with the ball we played our way,” he said.

“We need to play and try to maintain the pace of the game, sometimes it’s slow but we’ll play quicker when we get better.

“It’s our way of playing, I don’t think you can say it’s good or bad it’s just a way but for us it’s very important to control the game if we can.

“We’re off the bottom, a clean sheet away from home, with no own goals, no sendings off, no mistakes.

“I asked for that before the game, I said, ‘give me a normal game away from home.’”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Wenger praises ´complete´ midfielder Ramsey

Arsene Wenger heaped praise on Aaron Ramsey after the Welshman’s starring role in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory at Cardiff City.

The midfielder, returning to the club he left in 2008, headed the visitors ahead in the 29th minute, before smashing home in second-half stoppage time after substitute Mathieu Flamini had doubled the advantage.

And Arsenal boss Wenger believes that Ramsey, who took his tally of league goals to eight, will keep on improving.

“He has developed and matured, not only as a player but as a person as well,” the Frenchman said. “A few years ago he came here in a cup game and he had a very, very difficult game and now it shows you how much he has developed as a person.

“I was a midfielder, and I would have loved to have had what he has. He can defend, he can attack, he can score goals. What do you want more?

“And he’s young – another quality that I have lost.

“When you look at his improvement in the last two years, why should he stop now? I think there is a lot more to come and, if he continues to play like that, you have a good future with Wales.”

Ramsey, who delighted home fans by performing Cardiff’s trademark ‘Ayatollah’ gesture before kick-off, enjoyed a standing ovation from all four sides of the stadium following the final whistle, and Wenger was quick to show his appreciation.

“Fantastic, we’d like to see that much more,” he added. “I have a big respect for that. They are proud to be Welsh here, you know.”

The victory sends Arsenal seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with the rest of the top six not playing until Sunday, and Wenger admits that he did not see his side’s strong showing so far this campaign coming.

“I wouldn’t believe it (if it had been suggested before the season),” he said. “You’ll remember that we lost the first game at home against Aston Villa and then nobody could imagine the situation today.

“I’m happy to have done the job here and watch the other games tomorrow.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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