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Late own goal denies Wigan vital win against Spurs

ESPN staff
April 27, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Emmerson Boyce made a costly late mistake for Wigan against Spurs © PA Photos
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A late own goal from Emmerson Boyce prevented Wigan from beating Tottenham and climbing out of the relegation zone on Saturday, as Manchester City comfortably defeated West Ham to move closer to clinching second in the Premier League and Liverpool thrashed Newcastle 6-0.

Elsewhere, Stoke aided their own survival quest immensely with a home win over Norwich, as Everton defeated Fulham at Goodison Park and West Brom thrashed Southampton in a game that saw three players sent off.

Premier League results & table

A late, painful own goal from Emmerson Boyce could prove decisive for Wigan at the end of the season, as it ensured they drew 2-2 with Tottenham in a result that hardly helped the Londoners' Champions League ambitions.

Callum McManaman's impressive strike had looked like clinching all three points for the Latics and propelling them out of the bottom three, but Boyce got his feet in a tangle while trying to deal with an 89th minute cross to hand the visitors a late share of the points.

Wigan have long loved to make life difficult for themselves, and that continued in the opening exchanges at the DW Stadium. Spurs were handed the lead in the most absurd of circumstances, Maynor Figueroa and goalkeeper Joel exchanging some languid passes at the back, before Gareth Bale pounced on the Spaniard to charge down his flimsy clearance and deflect it into the net.

Figueroa would not last much longer - injury forcing his substitution - but the FA Cup finalists responded almost immediately through another defender, Boyce. It was a simple equaliser, the former Crystal Palace defender rising above Jan Vertonghen to power home Shaun Maloney's corner just two minutes after Bale's deadlock-breaker.

Spurs dominated the chances from then on - with Bale, Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey all foiled - but it was Wigan who got the next goal, and in impressive fashion. It was the controversial McManaman who made the difference, controlling a difficult ball and sneaking past Kyle Naughton before rifling an unstoppable shot past Hugo Lloris from 25 yards.

Wigan continued to push forward as the game went on, with Lloris making more than one save to deny the lively Arouna Kone. But the Latics were then punished in the cruellest way possible - Boyce spooning Aaron Lennon's cross into the back of the net after Bale had swung at it and missed.

That prevented Wigan climbing out of the relegation zone, instead leaving them two points from Aston Villa in 17th, while it limited the damage to Spurs' own Champions League pursuit - although Andre Villas-Boas will now need results to go his way if Spurs are to end up in fourth.

Sergio Aguero scored a fine goal for Manchester City © PA Photos
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Newcastle are now casting more than anxious looks over their shoulders are being hammered 6-0 at home by Liverpool.

With Wigan drawing, the Magpies are just five points above the drop zone and the Latics have a game in hand. Momentum is a valuable commodity at this stage of the season and Newcastle have only backwards momentum as they were completely outclassed by Liverpool.

Daniel Agger set the tone when heading Liverpool ahead inside four minutes. The excellent Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge combined to tee up Jordan Henderson for the second.

A brief Newcastle rally when snuffed out when Coutinho created the third for Sturridge who added a fourth shortly afterwards.

Fabio Borini climbed off the bench to net his first Premier League goal 16 minutes from time and salt was rubbed into the wounds when former Sunderland star Henderson netted the sixth.

In the day's early kick-off, Manchester City went a long way to confirming a second place finish in the table with a 2-1 victory over West Ham that was more comfortable than the final scoreline ultimately suggests.

Sergio Aguero, restored to the starting lineup, opened the scoring on the half-hour mark - turning home from Samir Nasri's cutback after a sublime team move. Yaya Toure then doubled the advantage with a long-range strike, before Joe Hart fumbled an Andy Carroll volley deep into injury time to give the Hammers a belated consolation.

On a bright day at the Etihad Stadium, City regularly opened up the visitors - they completed 554 passes in total - without ever really taking full advantage. Aguero, Carlos Tevez and David Nasri were all denied by diligent late defending from the West Ham backline, before Toure finally put the result beyond doubt with a brilliant curling effort from 25 yards with just seven minutes left.

Carroll eventually got on the scoresheet in added time, the on-loan Liverpool striker controlling and striking an effort that Hart somehow contrived to allow to squirm between his legs. But City saw out the final two minutes to clinch the three points.

The result means seven points from their final four games will guarantee City's runner-up finish. West Ham, meanwhile, remain safely in mid-table.

Everton's hopes of European qualification remain alive, after they edged a lacklustre Fulham 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Steven Pienaar got the only goal of the game for the Toffees, who are now just three points behind Spurs in fifth having played a game more.

Fulham were hampered by the loss of Dimitar Berbatov, who was forced off through injury shortly before the half-hour mark. But they were already behind by that point, Pienaar blasting home from inside the box after latching onto Seamus Coleman's slipped pass.

Everton peppered the Cottagers' goal over the remainder of the match - compiling 20 shots to Fulham's five - but just three of those were on target, with Victor Anichebe, Nikica Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini perhaps guilty of the most egregious misses.

Romelu Lukaku and Marc-Antoine Fortune impressed for West Brom © Getty Images
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Hugo Rodallega then had a late opportunity to punish the home side for their wastefulness, but the forward headed wide from Damien Duff's cross to ensure Martin Jol's side would not get a draw they did not warrant.

Wigan's late woe was a boon for Stoke, who now enjoy an eight-point cushion over the relegation zone after defeating Norwich - two points worse off - 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Charlie Adam broke the deadlock shortly after half-time, the Scotland international running onto Peter Crouch's knockdown and sweeping a left-footed finish beyond Mark Bunn.

Finally, West Brom look almost certain to finish in the top ten after defeating Southampton 3-0 at St Mary's in a game that saw three red cards.

Goals from forwards Marc-Antoine Fortune, Romelu Lukaku and Shane Long were the difference for Steve Clarke's side, as the Saints saw their own top half ambitions dented somewhat. The game was marred slightly by an unsightly second half incident that saw both Gaston Ramirez and Fortune shown straight red cards, however.

It took just six minutes for Fortune to break the deadlock, the striker bundling home from close range after Ben Foster had initially made a good save. Southampton responded boldly, dominating the possession and shots, but could not find a breakthrough - with Lukaku grabbing a second with 23 minutes remaining after running onto Fortune's throughball and evading Jos Hooiveld.

That was about Fortune's last contribution of the game, as he was then sent off after slapping Ramirez - having reacted angrily to the Argentine's elbow on Long, an offence for which he was also dismissed by referee Robert Madley - who was making his Premier League debut.

Madley's work was far from done, however, as he was forced to react once again minutes later - dismissing Daniel Fox for a dangerous tackle on Steven Reid.

Long then added his name to the scoresheet, rounding off a comprehensive victory for the visitors after gratefully taking an assist from the lively Lukaku.

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