West Ham rooted to bottom despite draw

AFP, Saturday 7 May 2011

West Ham remained bottom of the English Premier League despite a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn Rovers as the battle for top-flight survival intensified on Saturday.

West Ham United
West Ham United's Thomas Hitzisperger, right, celebrates his goal against Blackburn Rovers (Photo: AP)

Wigan climbed out of the bottom three thanks to a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa but will return to the relegation zone if Blackpool avoid defeat in Saturday's late kick-off match against Tottenham.

FA Cup finalists Manchester City's bid to overhaul third-placed Arsenal was derailed as Everton came from behind to win 2-1 while Newcastle beat 10-man Birmingham City 2-1, a defeat that left the Blues still facing the possibility of relegation.

West Ham had not won this season when England midfielder Scott Parker, out with an Achilles injury, had been injured and they fell behind when Rovers striker Jason Roberts turned in Brett Emerton's 12th minute cross.

But with the home crowd becoming increasingly frustrated at Upton Park, Thomas Hitzlsperger let fly with a trademark powerful shot to give the Londoners a lifeline 12 minutes from time.

Wigan, who started the day in the bottom three, took a 10th minute lead at Villa Park through Charles N'Zogbia, teed up by Hugo Rodallega.

But Villa equalised seven minutes later when Ashley Young fired in from 25 yards out.

At Goodison Park, Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure put Manchester City, bidding for a Champions League place, in front against Everton when his 28th minute shot beat Tim Howard.

But Sylvain Distin levelled in the 65th minute before Leon Osman's header just minutes later gave Everton the three points.

At St James' Park, Newcastle piled on more misery for Birmingham with a 2-1 win.

Newcastle were awarded a penalty after Liam Ridgewell was sent-off for handball on the line and Shola Ameobi scored from the spot in the 36th minute.

Birmingham keeper Ben Foster made several good saves before Steven Taylor doubled Newcastle's lead in the 43rd minute.

But there was still time for Birmingham to pull a goal back before the interval when, after Foster's kick downfield, Lee Bowyer scored against his former club.

At the Reebok, Bolo Zenden put Sunderland ahead shortly before half-time against Bolton when he beat the offside trap before rounding goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The hosts drew level three minutes from time when striker Ivan Klasnic headed in Rodrigo Moreno's cross but Sunderland snatched a late winner through a Zat Knight own-goal.

Premier League leaders Manchester United take on second-placed Chelsea, just three points off top spot, in a clash that will have a key bearing on the title race at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Arsenal travel to Stoke while relegation threatened Wolves face West Brom in the 'Black Country' derby.

Liverpool, who currently occupy a Europa League place, travel to Fulham on Monday.

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