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Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1935: That's a wrap then, folks. A cracking day's action that, plenty of goals, plenty of ups and downs, and plenty of banter. Just the way I like it. Don't forget to watch Match of the Day tonight from 2230 GMT on BBC One and this website (UK users only) and then the Football League Show at 2350 GMT on BBC One and this website (UK users only, again). Mr Paul Fletcher will talk you through a massive day of Premier League action tomorrow, and I'll catch you in the week. Have a top night people, nice one.

1930: I can't leave you without a farewell from Numbers Ian: "Final one from me - we have some live football on the BBC (UK users only) on Sunday. We are showing the Championship match between Leicester and Coventry live on BBC One and also streamed on the BBC Sport website from 1345 GMT - kick-off at 1400 so make sure you join us for that."

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Arsenal win their 50th PL match at the Emirates. Only Man Utd (61) have more PL home wins since Arsenal moved to their new ground."

1925: Arsenal go back top of the Premier League table then to pile the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea, who both play on Sunday. West Ham remain just outside the drop zone, three points above 18th-placed Burnley, and despite their man advantage they rarely looked like springing a surprise at the Emirates today if I'm honest. There's no shame in that, though, and the Hammers showed enough to suggest they can beat the drop this season, for sure.

Full time
1923: FULL-TIME Arsenal 2-0 West Ham

gunnerthru on 606: "What a nervy game for the Gunners. But Arsenal love it this way."

1921: Half chance for West Ham as Carlton Cole finds a hair's breadth of room in the Arsenal box, but he blazes over from the angle.

1920: Exhibition stuff from Arsenal now, ticking the clock down against an understandably deflated Hammers side by stroking the ball about one touch.

1917: Upon reflection, referee Martin Atkinson has been a touch generous in not booking Matthew Upson for that - it would have been the defender's second and a red card, so maybe that put the official off? Not that it will have too much impact on this match, I wouldn't think.

1915: Numbers Ian: "Well that's the end of today's Football League action as Championship leaders Newcastle hit back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at managerless Bristol City. The result points the Magpies two points clear of second placed West Brom and 10 ahead of Nottingham Forest in third, while City return to 16th spot - seven points clear of the relegation zone."

Arsenal goal: Huge sighs of relief at the Emirates Stadium. No question about this penalty - Matthew Upson clearly handling the ball as Cesc Fabregas attempted to burst into the box. The Spaniard then composed himself and smashed home the spot-kick. It looks like six wins on the spin for Arsenal and a place at the top of the Premier League overnight.

1912: GOALFLASH Arsenal 2-0 West Ham (Fabregas)


1910: Over at Ashton Gate and the Championship match between Bristol City and Newcastle - we're into three minutes of stoppage time. That remains 2-2.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1907: Moments after Andrei Arshavin brings a low stop out of Hammers keeper Robert Green, West Ham hit the post. Carlton Cole makes himself some room on the edge of the Arsenal box and rattles the outside of the far post with a fine 20-yard drive. Close.

1906: A couple of substitutions to tell you about - Bacary Sagna is on for Samir Nasri, while Benny McCarthy comes on for West Ham with Mido substituted.

1905: Actually, replays show that last chance came off Sol Campbell's chest as he missed with the header. Missed opportunity.

1904: Great chance for Arsenal - and Sol Campbell should probably do better. Arsenal only have two men in the box but Cesc Fabregas picks out Campbell brilliantly, the defender rising above Mido to nod goalwards - but it's straight at Robert Green and the Hammers keeper saves.

1900: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola replaces Radoslav Kovac with Mark Noble.

1859: If West Ham are to get back into this, it looks most likely to come through Alessandro Diamanti - the Italian drives well at the Arsenal defence and unleashes a firm drive, deflected behind by Sol Campbell. While it's only 1-0...

1856: Numbers Ian returns: "Heartbreak for Bristol City who see their 2-0 lead disappear as Andy Carroll pokes in Wayne Routledge's left-wing cross from eight yards out to equalise with his side's second goal in four minutes."

1855: More lovely stuff from Arsenal in and around the Hammers' penalty area, involving Fabregas, Nasri and Diaby - but as so often today, and this season, it comes to nothing in the face of a swarm of visiting defenders.

1852: Guess who's back... back again... it's Numbers Ian: "An exciting final 20 minutes beckons at Bristol City now after a horrendous blunder by keeper Dean Gerken. His throw out is intercepted by Jonas Gutierrez who races through to put his side back in the game."

1850: An hour gone at the Emirates Stadium and it's still Arsenal 1-0 West Ham - but West Ham dominating possession in this second half and far from out of it as things stand.

Dan, Oxford via text: "Sam, qualified ref here. Only one game ban for a professional foul."

refereeblog on Twitter: "Check out the FA's disciplinary procedures for info. Says automatic one-match ban for "denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity"."

Mike, Stockport via text: "Vermaelen will serve a one match ban. Only when the red card is for violent and/or dangerous behaviour is the ban for three matches."

1847: Here comes the expected Hammers change - Carlton Cole replacing Guillermo Franco - while Abou Diaby comes on for Arsenal, Nicklas Bendtner the man sacrificed.

1845: Denilson, in what has been a rare Arsenal attack this half it has to be said, sees his long-range effort deflected behind. The corner is well claimed by Robert Green, though.

1842: Great burst from deep by Fabio Duprela and the full-back strides into the box - bringing a fantastic saving tackle out of Alexandre Song, who has been very impressive today.

1838: Alexandre Song is your man called upon to cover for Thomas Vermaelen's absence in defence. West Ham already enjoying a significant amount of possession more than throughout the first half.

1836: We're back under way in the north London rain.

1835: A lot of chat about whether Vermaelen gets a one- or a three-match ban for that red card. We believe it's a one-match ban for denying a goalscoring opportunity, but to be honest, we're not sure. Someone is chasing the Premier League for an answer. So, in short, that doesn't really help any of you at all does it? As you were, folks...

4fabregas on 606: "It's windy out Sam, careful you don't fall off that fence."

JohnnyComeEarly on 606: "That penalty save has just won Arsenal the league. Alternatively: Vermaelen's suspension has just lost Arsenal the league."

1830: For some reason, because I'm probably going to get slaughtered whichever way I paint it, I'm going to offer my thoughts. For my money, it's a generous penalty - yes Thomas Vermaelen grabs slightly at Guillermo Franco, but the Hammers striker goes to ground very easily and he is lucky that has not been interpreted as a dive. Once he's given it, the referee has to send Vermaelen off, though. As for the penalty - it's probably justice that he saved it, but Almunia is definitely off his line when Alessandro Diamanti takes it. So pick the bones out of that one folks!

1825: I think the three comments below convey the reaction to that decision/those decisions fairly well!

RoberTncUSA on 606: "Terrible refereeing - he missed Almunia being a good yard off the line. Disgraceful!"

Desolation_row on 606: "Huge miss that, at 1-1 it would have been interesting but even with 10 men I suspect Arsenal will dominate. Campbell will have to a bit more careful with his tackling mind."

gunners989 on 606: "Awful decision, ref seems too keen to wave his cards today."

1821: Some suggestions that Almunia was off his line as he saved Diamanti's penalty, but you have to applaud the Spaniard's work there - it was a terrific save. Arsene Wenger looks like he might re-decorate the Emirates pitch with a new shade of brain as he furiously berates Martin Atkinson at the half-time whistle. I don't believe he thought that was a penalty or a sending off. I'm intuitive like that. I just, you know, get people.

1820: HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-0 West Ham

1818: Right then. Guillermo Franco, bearing down on goal, goes down under Thomas Vermaelen's challenge in the box and referee Martin Atkinson - assisted by his linesman - points to the spot and brandishes a red card for a professional foul. Alessandro Diamanti steps up to take the spot-kick but Manuel Almunia goes the right way, to his left, and beats it away brilliantly. Drama, drama, drama.



1816: ARSENAL RED CARD (Vermaelen)

1815: Numbers Ian: "Half-time at Ashton Gate and a great start for caretaker manager Keith Millen as his Bristol City side lead Newcastle 2-0 - although Paul Hartley clears off the line from the Magpies' Danny Guthrie in stoppage time."

1814: Cesc Fabregas twice gets clear in the Hammers box but his first cross into space is a waste with no Arsenal player following up in the box, and his second well blocked by James Tomkins. Fabregas and Alexandre Song Arsenal's stand-out players so far and no mistake.

1812: Junior Stanislas has a go from range but it is easily held by Manuel Almunia.

Yellow card
1811: A couple of heavy challenges flying in, now, Sol Campbell getting away with his on Alessandro Diamanti, but the Italian booked for his lunge at Nicklas Bendtner. Moments later, Campbell finally goes into the official's book for what looks a horrible tackle on Junior Stanislas. In fact, that tackle looks worse every time I see it...

1808: Close but not close enough twice in a minute from Arsenal - Cesc Fabregas's pass towards Andrei Arshavin crucially cut out by Matthew Upson - Arshavin would have been free otherwise - and then Emmanuel Eboue firing across goal, but evading Arshavin's lunge at the far post by a matter of inches.

1806: You really should hear him when he gets excited, here's Numbers Ian: "Oh what a great goal that was! I'm back in the Championship now where Bristol City striker Nicky Maynard scores an absolute screamer to put his side 2-0 up against Newcastle just before half-time - cutting in from the left wing and hitting an unstoppable shot into the far corner."

1805: The early sting is missing from this match all of a sudden, which might be testimony to West Ham's increased concentration and application in defence. Or it may be testimony to Arsenal's tendency to overplay. Or it might not be testimony to very much at all. Hhmm.

Spence on 606: "That predictor calculator is kind of useless considering what a spectacularly unpredictable season this has been."

1800: Alessandro Diamanti has the chance to have a shot from the edge of the Arsenal area, but he can't make his mind up and the chance goes. By the way, can you give this page another cheeky manual refresh please? With cherries on top?

1758: West Ham striker Mido is putting a shift in today, I must say. He's winning his fair share of balls in attack, and has just made two clearing headers inside his own area.

Anon via text: "Diamanti surely not at West Ham for too much longer? One of the few players outside the top six to really stand out this year."

1754: More slick football from Arsenal, but this time Nicklas Bendtner's pass into the box is a little astray and the move breaks down.

1753: You can't keep a good man down, here's more from Numbers Ian: "I'm venturing into the Premier League this time. In his programme notes for today's game with West Ham, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he hopes Robin van Persie may return from injury before the end of the season. "There is still a little chance him," Wenger wrote. "We are following his progress and physically he is quite sharp, but once he is ready to kick the ball again and returns from his rehabilitation, it will still take him another three weeks." Wenger also had better news on injured Aaron Ramsey, adding: "He is walking unaided, which has been requested medically, and is in a better state now."

PanasonicVieira on 606: "Don't get complacent Gunners. You know what happened at Upton Park."

1747: Excellent response to going a goal down in many ways, this, from West Ham - Alessandro Diamanti is at the heart of their best action going forward, this time setting Junior Stanislas free down the right, the youngster's cross narrowly avoiding Mido at the far post.

1746: One slight worry for Arsenal, though, with Samir Nasri limping with what looks like a twisted knee injury. Will keep you posted.

1742: Arsenal stride up the other end and get all one-touch-tastic on the edge of the West Ham box before Denilson scuffs his shot into the ground and into Robert Green's arms for an easy save.

1740: Just in case Arsenal think about getting carried away, Alessandro Diamanti reminds them that West Ham have their own threat up front with a whipped free-kick from 25 yards that creeps over the bar.

1739: Nicklas Bendtner, in acres of space, has a pot-shot from 20 yards but it drifts just wide. West Ham need to wake up defensively, here.

Arsenal goal: We've only been playing five minutes but, to be honest, West Ham already look out of their depth. Denilson escapes the attentions of a couple of Hammers defenders on the edge of the box, plays a neat one-two with Nicklas Bendtner, and then kerplunks a low drive into the bottom corner.

1736: GOALFLASH Arsenal 1-0 West Ham (Denilson)

RetroGirl on Twitter: "I just used the Predictor too, but Spurs won the title with a goal difference of +78 so maybe I wasn't doing it quite right..."

1733: I said it was 0-0 at Bristol City, but... Numbers Ian: "Why do clubs who change managers always change their fortunes? It has happened again at Bristol City, who parted company with boss Gary Johnson during the week, as Lewin Nyatanga gives them the lead against leaders Newcastle in the Championship with his first goal for the club."

1732: West Ham get us started at the Emirates.

1728: And we also have Bristol City-Newcastle going on at the moment, of course, it's 0-0 there with nine minutes gone.

DannyJSY on Twitter: "Will be gutted if we don't get three points here. Need momentum for the rest of the season. I'll go 3-0 Arsenal, Bendtner x2 & 'Shava."

1725: And so to the last Premier League match of the day, Arsenal v West Ham, where the Gunners are going for their seventh successive win. Should they achieve that, Arsene Wenger's side will go back to the top of the Premier League and right bang in the mix for the title - a defeat and they will wait nervously to see how Manchester United and Chelsea fare on Sunday. West Ham, searching for only their second Premier League win of the season on their travels, will be desperate to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three. Easier said than done at the Emirates Stadium, though, of course.

Anon via text: "Just used the predictor online - Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth to go down, Chelsea to win the PL by one point with Man Utd runners-up! Liverpool to end up fourth."

1720: So, cracking late wins for Portsmouth and Wigan as new Hull boss Iain Dowie kicks off with a heartbreaking defeat and the pressure builds on Clarets boss Brian Laws. Tottenham, meanwhile, do what Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa have failed to do this season - win at Stoke - and you wonder how important that might be in the race for fourth, while matters were a little more comfortable for a couple of rejuvenated sides in Everton and Sunderland - both of those are looking up rather than down in the table now, for sure.

Ruairi in Bordeaux via text: "Worried about an upset today, though seeing Cole and Noble on the bench makes me feel a little better..."

1713: And don't you dare think League Two is being left out, here's Numbers Ian to make it three from three: "The League Two headlines are made by leaders Rochdale, who overturn a 2-0 deficit to triumph 4-2 at Accrington while Notts County replace Bournemouth in second place after a 1-0 win at Crewe while the Cherries suffer a surprise 3-2 defeat at Grimsby, who are now just four points behind Cheltenham."

1712: And what about League One? Yep, here's Numbers Ian again: "In League One, leaders Norwich are pegged back by an injury-time goal in a 1-1 draw at Swindon while third placed Charlton lose more ground in a 2-2 draw with Gillingham. At the bottom Exeter snatch a vital point as they come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at fellow strugglers Wycombe but both are still in the bottom four."

1711: Wondering about the Championship action? Here's Numbers Ian: "Phew - what a finish to today's Football League games. No goals in the second half at either West Brom or Nottingham Forest, meaning they stay on Newcastle's tails with respective wins over Preston (3-2) and Peterborough (1-0). The Magpies kick off at Bristol City shortly. Scunthorpe win the basement battle against Plymouth 2-1 to climb out of the relegation zone, where they are replaced by Crystal Palace who are denied victory by a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Blackpool."

1710: It would appear technical problems are delaying our automated stats pages - scores, tables etc - so apologies for that. I can only assume Pompey's stunning turnaround sent the super computers into meltdown or something.

1708: TEAM NEWS Arsenal v West Ham
welcome back skipper Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song starts after his ban, while Nicklas Bendtner and Andrei Arshavin play up front. West Ham duo Herita Ilunga and Mark Noble are back from injury but are on the bench with Mexico Guillermo Franco and Mido the two strikers getting the nod ahead of Carlton Cole.

The Pharaohs supported Tottenham on 606: "Clear evidence of Harry's man-management skills today - Gudjohnsen hasn't scored since he was at Barca, comes on, scores a cracker, and cleverly sets up the second for a Man-of-the-match performance."

1705: TEAMS Arsenal v West Ham
Almunia, Eboue, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy, Fabregas, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Diaby, Sagna, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Silvestre.
West Ham: Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Daprela, Diamanti, Kovac, Behrami, Stanislas, Mido, Franco. Subs: Stech, Ilan, Cole, Noble, McCarthy, Ilunga, Spence.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

Ed Gasson on 606: "Absolutey fantastic from Pompey! Not a Portsmouth fan myself, but their fighting spirit is the best in the Premier League at the moment. Deserve it today."

Murtini on 606: "I would love to go and give Hugo Rodallega the biggest kiss ever, I'm actually in love with the guy. My hero."

Full time
1658: FULL-TIME Everton 2-0 Bolton

1657: Well that was a lively ol' finish wasn't it?

Full time
1657: FULL-TIME Wigan 1-0 Burnley

1656: FULL-TIME Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham

Full time
1655: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 3-2 Hull

1655: FULL-TIME Stoke 1-2 Tottenham

Everton goal: And that's game-set-match at Goodison Park too, Leon Osman causing havoc with a neat run into the box and then cutting back for Steven Pienaar to side-foot home Everton's second.

Wigan goal: That is what you call a last-gasp winner. Three-and-a-half minutes into injury time and Hugo Rodallega gets on the end of Victor Moses' cross to send home a fine header to win it.

1653: GOALFLASH Everton 2-0 Bolton (Pienaar)

1652: GOALFLASH Wigan 1-0 Burnley (Rodallega)

Portsmouth goal: Stunning scenes at Fratton Park. Nadir Belhadj cruises into the Hull area and cuts it back for Kanu to sweep home and crush not only Tigers boss Iain Dowie but also the Hull supporters.

1650: Glorious chance for Mamady Sidibe, the Stoke striker clear on goal with just the keeper to beat but then losing his footing to allow Heurelho Gomes to save and clear.

Portsmouth goal: We're back on terms at Fratton Park, Jamie O'Hara bending a delightful free-kick into the top right-hand corner to level proceedings at Fratton Park.

Sunderland goal: That's it settled at the Stadium of Light, Jordan Henderson's ball into the box tucked in nicely by Fraizer Campbell on the stretch. The home fans are in raptures.

1648: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 3-2 Hull (Kanu)

1647: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 2-2 Hull (O'Hara)

1647: GOALFLASH Sunderland 3-1 Birmingham (Campbell)

1645: And just as I'm saying that about Wigan-Burnley, Clarets keeper Brian Jensen makes two stunning saves in a minute. The first comes from Jason Scotland's hooked drive, the second an even better tip over the bar from Mohamed Diame's dipping long-ranger.

1644: Stoke will make a double substitution as they look to rescue something from their match against Tottenham - and it's Mamady Sidibe and Tuncay entering the fray.

1642: The latest from Wigan-Burnley is that "on the bright side, there are only eight minutes left". Not my words, but those of our correspondent. A good advert for Saturday afternoon shopping that one, maybe.

1641: The clock is ticking down in the Football League so let's here the latest from Numbers Ian: "Quick Football League update. Little news in the Championship except for equalisers by QPR and Reading against Swansea and Middlesbrough respectively. In League One Charlton are now drawing 2-2 with Gillingham while Rickie Lambert has now scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season to complete a hat-trick at MK Dons. It has all kicked off in League Two where Accrington and leaders Rochdale are level 2-2 on goals and 10-10 on players with each side having a player sent off."

Tottenham goal: Redemption for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the left-back crossing into the area, Eidur Gudjohnsen steps over it, and Niko Kranjcar drills into the corner for his eighth of the season. Can Spurs hang on this time?

1637: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-2 Tottenham (Kranjcar)

Everton goal: The ultimate punishment for Gretar Steinsson's error - Mikel Arteta lines up the resulting free-kick and curls into the top corner.

1636: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Bolton (Arteta)

Red card
1634: Bolton are reduced to 10 men as Yakubu, dashing on to Steven Pienaar's through-ball, is brought down outside the box by Gretar Steinsson. He's the last man and it has to be a professional foul. Johan Elmander is immediately replaced by Sam Ricketts.

1634: BOLTON RED CARD (Steinsson)

Hull goal: Having been credited with the first, Caleb Folan grabs his second - and there's no doubting this one is his. Set through by Richard Garcia, the striker takes a touch and clips it over David James and into the corner. Advantage Hull again.

1633: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 1-2 Hull (Folan)

1632: The move of the game so far at Wigan - Burnley's David Nugent chips a ball into the path of the on-rushing Martin Paterson, who takes the ball over his shoulder, and he volleys the ball onto the top of the bar. So close, that quick-thinking deserved a goal.

1629: What. A. Miss. Danny Higginbotham latches on to Peter Crouch's poor headed clearance and skews a shot goalwards - it falls to Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller, six yards out and with the goal gaping, but the forward contrives to spoon it over the bar. Oops.

1628: He loves it does Numbers Ian: "My goodness what is happening at the top of League Two? Not only are leaders Rochdale trailing 2-1 at Accrington but second placed Bournemouth are making hard work of it at struggling Grimsby, twice falling behind but twice equalising to now make it 2-2. In the League One relegation clash, Wycombe lead Exeter 2-1 while in the clash of the strugglers in the Championship, Scunthorpe have grabbed a 2-1 lead over Plymouth."

Gerrardswhiskers on 606: "Bullard in Hull's last game and Etherington for Stoke today showing the England lads how to take pens. Perhaps they should be in the England squad too?"

Stoke goal: A man down or not, Stoke are right back in this - Benoit Assou-Ekotto climbs all over Dave Kitson in the Tottenham box and referee Mike Dean points straight to the penalty spot. Matthew Etherington, against his former club, keeps his calm and sends Heurelho Gomes the wrong way with his spot-kick. Game on.

1623: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Tottenham (Etherington)


1622: Burnley's best chance of the game so far - Graham Alexander bends a free-kick from outside the box just wide of the left-hand top corner. Straight up the other end, slopped defending by the Clarets allows Wigan's Jason Scotland to try his luck from distance and he puts it just wide of the far post. The second half has already had more incident than the whole of the first.

1621: Drama at Goodison Park as Everton's Tim Cahill looks to have the easiest of finishes into an empty net - but not only do Bolton get back in time to clear, but Cahill clearly handled the ball in the build-up anyway. Bolton free kick.

1620: Bizarre scenes at the Britannia where, a goal and a man to the good, Tottenham defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Vedran Corluka get involved in a bit of a spat over not very much at all.

Birmingham goal: The visitors right back in it, Cameron Jerome again breaking the offside trap to latch onto Marcos Madera's pass and clipping into the net with aplomb.

1619: GOALFLASH Sunderland 2-1 Birmingham (Jerome)

1617: A couple of half-chances for Everton, with Steven Pienaar and then Yakubu seeing snap-shots blocked by the Bolton defence.

1616: I wonder what's happening in the Football League? Oh - here's Numbers Ian: "Early second half goals around the country in the Football League. Chris Killen on target for Middlesbrough against Reading in the Championship where Blackpool pull a goal back against Crystal Palace and now only trail 2-1. In League One two prolific goalscorers have each hit their 28th goals of the season - Grant Holt for leaders Norwich at Swindon and Rickie Lambert to put Southampton ahead at MK Dons, while Charlie MacDonald gives Brentford the lead at bottom placed Stockport. In League Two Mike Edwards breaks the deadlock for Notts County at Crewe. Finally, especially for Gloucester Gas on 606, Bristol Rovers are 3-0 up at Yeovil in League One, trying to emulate their 4-0 win at Swindon a fortnight ago."

1614: Ugly scenes at the DW stadium now, though, where home keeper Chris Kirkland appears to be struck on the head by a missile thrown from the Burnley fans behind his goal. Stewards get into action as a previously tepid afternoon becomes a bit more fiesty on and off the pitch.

1613: All of a sudden, end-to-end stuff at Wigan - James McCarthy glides into the box on the Burnley left and under pressure from Leon Cort, goes down. It looks like the defender takes McCarthy's feet from under him, but the referee judges that he just slipped over. Straight away Burnley go on the counter-attack which ends with David Nugent attempting to chip Chris Kirkland from distance and putting the ball wide. He had more time than he realised there and should have done better.

1613: Another chance for Birmingham to get back into their match against Sunderland - and another one wasted. Cameron Jerome is set through on goal but, with just the keeper to beat, he fails, Craig Gordan getting down low to keep out the Blues striker's effort.

RoberTncUSA on 606: "Was Whitehead's sending off an accumulative thing? I mean, it was a fierce body check but that seems a bit harsh for a red?"

1609: We're back under way at Goodison Park too, by the way. Finally.

Red card
1609: Erm, not the greatest couple of minutes for Stoke as Dean Whitehead receives a second booking for a clumsy - but far from malicious - tackle on Luka Modric, the hosts down to 10 men.

1608: STOKE RED CARD (Whitehead)

Tottenham goal: What a start to the second half for Tottenham, where Peter Crouch releases Eidur Gudjohnsen, who strides clear and lashes into the roof of the net for a terrific goal. That's his first for Tottenham and first in the Premier League in four years.

1606: GOALFLASH Stoke 0-1 Tottenham (Gudjohnsen)

1605: Stoke-Tottenham joins them in the back-under-way stakes.

1604: The matches at Sunderland, Wigan and Portsmouth re-start.

1600: Plenty of incident, but hardly a deluge of goals in that first half during which, all in all, the home sides had the better of things. The swing-o-meter is twitching, mind...

ainsy23 on Twitter: "Re: 1245 - Thus far, the lads in the Premier League have raised 31k for Sport Relief. They should give it to Pompey!"

1556: Pray silence for the latest update from Numbers Ian: "Quick half-time rundown from each of the three Football League divisions. In the Championship, where leaders Newcastle visit Bristol City at 1720 GMT, second placed West Brom lead Preston 3-2 while third placed Nottingham Forest are a goal up on bottom dogs Peterborough. League One leaders Norwich are being held in a goalless game at play-off contenders Swindon while third placed Charlton are trailing 2-1 at home to Gillingham, still without an away win in 18 league games this season. League Two leaders Rochdale are, like Norwich, involved in a stalemate at Accrington while second placed Bournemouth are level 1-1 at Grimsby and Notts County are drawing 0-0 at Crewe."

1554: A word from Fratton Park, by the way, where Caleb Folan has now been credited with Hull's opener. It appears he got the vital final touch to Craig Fagan's shot and will go into the books as the goalscorer. For now at least.

1552: HALF-TIME Everton 0-0 Bolton

1550: Still playing at Goodison Park, and Leighton Baines has just spurned a fine chance to open the scoring, beating the offside trap to collect a ball over the top - but he dallies too long and the Bolton defence get back to clear.

1549: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 Tottenham

1548: HALF-TIME Portsmouth 1-1 Hull

1547: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Burnley

1547: HALF-TIME Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham

1546: Birmingham spurn a glorious chance to get themselves back into the game at Sunderland just before half time. Liam Ridgewell is released on the left and crosses for Cameron Jerome but the striker badly miscues his shot high and wide from six yards out when it looked easier to score.

1546: Gareth Bale gets in behind the Stoke defence for the first time but Abdoulaye Faye gets across with a fabulous tackle to deny him a shot on goal. Tottenham's best moment to date. By a long shot.

SimplyZola on 606: "I love the way Stoke play, to me Stoke v Blackburn is better than Arsenal v Barcelona simply because I love physical long ball football. Its how the game should be played!"

1544: Our Wigan-Burnley correspondent is not having fun, bless 'im. Not much to speak of from that match so far.

1541: Make that two fine chances in two minutes for Bolton, who string together a lovely move only for Tim Howard to save smartly from Kevin Davies' shot from 16 yards.

1540: At Goodison Park, Tamir Cohen drills a shot just over the bar in a rare Bolton attack.

Portsmouth goal: Who says Pompey are taking their foot off the pedal? A short corner routine ends with Hermann Hreidarsson nodding it back into the six-yard box and Tommy Smith is on hand to pinch his first Pompey goal from close range. Cue chants of "We're Gonna Win the League" from the home fans haha.

1538: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 1-1 Hull (Smith)

1537: The latest Rory Delap long throw is the first to cause too many problems in the Spurs backline who have dealt with it admirably so far, Dave Kitson winning the ball in the air and flicking it goalwards but Heurelho Gomes scrambling it away. Eidur Gudjohnsen comes on for Roman Pavlyuchenko, meanwhile, after that earlier knock.

1535: Wigan send on striker Jason Scotland for Paul Scharner. Not sure if that's a tactical reshuffle or because the Austrian has failed to recover from receving an arm across the throat earlier on. Wigan have looked pretty toothless upfront so far, so it will be interesting to see what impact he has.

1534: You can't keep Numbers Ian out of the action today, I tell you: "Action at the bottom of the Championship this time with two of the bottom three meeting each other and it's 1-1 between Scunthorpe and Plymouth. Meanwhile in League One Southend score two goals in four minutes to draw level with Carlisle while Jordan Rhodes puts promotion-chasing Huddersfield ahead at Leyton Orient. Important goal in League Two which affects both ends of the table as Grimsby take a surprise lead against Bournemouth while bottom placed Darlington fall a goal behind against Barnet, in a game which was only given the go-ahead 80 minutes before kick-off."

1532: Birmingham almost back in the game. Stephen Carr runs to the byline on the right and crosses for Christian Benitez, whose header would have found the net but for a superb save from Craig Gordon, palming onto his own crossbar and over.

Hull goal: Inspired management change? Iain Dowie's Hull take a deserved lead at Fratton Park as, from a corner, Craig Fagan tries his luck from range and it rattles around the Pompey box before deflecting through David James's legs on the six-yard line. No small element of luck, but Hull will take that all day long.

1527: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 0-1 Hull (Fagan)

1526: Plenty of free kicks and physicality in the game between Everton and Bolton. Everton fans aren't exactly thrilled by the way they perceive Bolton are approaching this game, and they're even more incensed when the Toffees' Tim Cahill gets the game's first booking. But it was thoroughly deserved after quite a wild lunge.

1524: Half a chance for Stoke as Glenn Whelan's cross is flicked on by Dave Kitson, but Abdoulaye Faye cannot quite direct his header on target at the back post unmarked.

1523: New Hull boss Iain Dowie might feel he has identified one problem - he has spent most of the first 20 minutes yelling at his defence.

1520: Here's Numbers Ian with the latest from the Football League: "It's all happening at the top of the Championship as leaders Newcastle prepare to face Bristol City later. Second placed West Brom are now 2-1 up over Preston while third placed Nottingham Forest have taken the lead against bottom placed Peterborough. Only three goals in League One - two of them to Carlisle at struggling Southend and three more in League Two going to Port Vale, Northampton and Lincoln."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1519: Gary Caldwell rises high to meet a Wigan corner and smashes a brutal header goalwards, but it crashes against the post and away. Unlucky for the hosts.

1518: Wolves manager Mick McCarthy after his side's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa: "My heart-rate's still pounding. I'm pleased - but also disappointed. Once we settled down we gave an excellent account of ourselves. There were lots of positives in that performance. I thought we were terrific. I'm disappointed with the goals but there are more positives than negatives. It feels like we've had a couple of points snatched away but it was our own downfall."

1517: As Gareth Bale receives treatment now on a knee problem at the Britannia, with Roman Pavlyuchenko also in pain with a knock to his leg, Frazier Campbell pulls a smart save out of Birmingham keeper Joe Hart at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland all over the Blues. At Everton, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov replaces the injured Victor Anichebe.

1514: Injury problems a-go-go, with Victor Anichebe writhing in pain at Goodison Park with what looks a hip injury, while Darren Bent has just received treatment on an ankle knock. The latter, at least, looks OK to go on.

1513: Even Stevens at the Britannia Stadium, where Tottenham have already had to repel a Rory Delap throw. The in-form Gareth Bale looks like the visitors' best attacking outlet once again.

Sunderland goal: Are you watching Fabio Capello? Darren Bent latches onto Steed Malbranque's fine pass, cuts inside the defender, and slams in left-footed. The Black Cats may be on a run of just one win in 16, but they are well on course to improve on that already.

1511: GOALFLASH Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham (Bent)

1510: What's that Numbers Ian? "Some early goals in the Championship with Ben Watson putting second placed West Brom ahead against Preston, Nick Carle putting Crystal Palace 1-0 up at Blackpool, Daryl Murphy netting for Ipswich against Barnsley and James Hayter opening the scoring for Doncaster in the Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United."

1509: Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill after the draw with Wolves: "They were not the best goals in the world but to fight back when we had to throw everything at it, I've got nothing but admiration for the players. I couldn't have any more respect and regard for the team." And on the Champions League: "The race is well and truly on and we are not out of it."

Someone has struck the woodwork
1507: Hull should be one up at Portsmouth, where Jan Vennegor of Hesselink has just hit the post with an angled header from a Kevin Kilbane cross. Caleb Folan should have tapped in the rebound, but the recalled front man was caught napping at the far post, leaving Pompey to breathe a sigh of relief.

1506: Victor Anichebe is through for Everton and he looks set to pull the trigger when Bolton defender Paul Robinson slides in with a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny him the shot. Excellent defending.

Sunderland goal: Fantastic start for Sunderland, with Darren Bent slamming in at the near post after Benjani's original effort is blocked.

1505: GOALFLASH Sunderland 1-0 Birmingham (Bent)

1504: Bright start from Burnley at the DW Stadium, with David Nugent the latest to try his luck in four minutes of early pressure, the striker's shot flying over the bar.

BlueNWhiteArmy on 606: "Sick of hearing about 4th spot to be honest, just look how tight it is down the other end of the table, it's far more exciting in my opinion."

1503: And Everton and Bolton finally click into gear at Goodison Park.

1501: We're started everywhere else now, too, apart from Everton...

1500: Under way at the Stadium of Light... refresh this page for a funky radio link on the right-hand side, nice one.

sinspaw on 606: "Am I the only one who thinks all this talk about 4th place is a bit premature. Remember that 4th spot gives you the opportunity to go to the qualification round. Whoever reaches it still needs to prove themselves before they actually have any use of '4th spot'."

1457: Wigan host a Burnley side that have never won a competitive match on their travels against the Latics - though the last two meetings have led to goalless draws. Potentially massive game for Burnley boss Brian Laws, this, who this week was speculated to be on the brink of the sack after leading the Clarets into the bottom three with a terrible run of form - 9 defeats in 11 league and cup games. A groin problem prevents Steven Caldwell facing off against brother Gary - which may at least ensure the peace is kept in their households this evening if nothing else.

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Aston Villa remain the only unbeaten PL team in 2010. However, they have drawn six of these nine matches."

Eothain on 606: "RE: 1448 - Looking at the line up, it would seem Grant is not fielding a weakened team today, which is good!"

1452: Champions League hopefuls Tottenham have not won at Stoke for 25 years, when Garth Crooks scored against his hometown club, but to be fair they've only played each other once since! Stoke could do the league double over Spurs for the first time in their history, after beating them 1-0 at White Hart Lane in October.

1451: Everton are impressive at home right now and start as favourites, but Bolton have won three of their last four, hammering Wigan 4-0 at the Reebok last time out. These two teams' fortunes are tied up with the Birmingham-Sunderland game: Everton can go above Birmingham into eighth while Sunderland are threatening to leapfrog Bolton, depending on results today. Meanwhile, Everton boss David Moyes is celebrating eight seasons at Goodison Park, as the third longest-serving current Premier League manager.

1450: TEAM NEWS Wigan v Burnley
captain Mario Melchiot makes a surprise return after missing the 2-1 midweek defeat to Aston Villa with a thigh injury. He replaces Emmerson Boyce, while Paul Scharner comes in for the injured Charles N'Zogbia. Burnley make four changes with top scorer Steven Fletcher, midfielder Kevin McDonald and defenders Stephen Jordan and Michael Duff back in the side. Injured duo Danny Fox and Clarke Carlisle miss out.

1449: After finally claiming their first victory of 2010 with the 4-0 thrashing of Bolton on 9 March, Sunderland are finally starting to look upwards instead of peering ominously over their shoulder at the relegation zone. They may only have one victory this year, but they are unbeaten at the Stadium of Light in that period. Birmingham will already see this season as a huge success. However, they are not yet entirely out of the race for a Europa League spot and will view the remaining nine games as a chance to pull off what would have seemed the unlikliest of achievements at the start of the season. However, they will have to improve on a record of only one clean sheet in nine games.

1448: The clash between Portsmouth and Hull this afternoon raises a host of questions. How will Pompey respond to confirmation of a nine-point penalty for going into administration? With relegation seemingly certain, will Avram Grant go through with his threat to field a weakened team in protest? And how will Iain Dowie fare on his debut as Tigers manager? Hull haven't claimed an away win in the league for 12 months, by the way...

1447: A further word on Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp leaving out Wilson Palacios today - the Honduran is on nine yellow cards for the season and is therefore a booking away from a two-match ban, which might have affected the decision to leave him on the bench?

MontyKarlow on Twitter: "Looking like 4th place could well come down to goal difference, which puts Spurs in the box seat."

1443: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Hull
manager Avram Grant makes five changes to the team that went down 4-1 at Anfield on Monday night. David James returns in goal, while Hayden Mullins, Tommy Smith, Aaron Mokoena and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie also get the nod. Iain Dowie marks his debut as Hull boss by making three changes to the side that came so close to claiming a point against Arsenal last weekend. Paul McShane returns in defence, Kevin Kilbane replaces the susupended George Boateng in midfield, and Caleb Folan partners Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink up front.

1442: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Tottenham
make two changes from the 0-0 with Aston Villa last weekend with Tuncay and Mamady Sidibe making way for Ricardo Fuller and Dave Kitson. Spurs have also made two changes, Peter Crouch replacing the injured Jermain Defoe and defender Younes Kaboul picked ahead of Wilson Palacios, who is on the bench.

1441: TEAM NEWS Sunderland v Birmingham
Sunderland's only change from the side that were denied victory at the death against Manchester City last weekend by Adam Johnson's injury-time equaliser, is an enforced one. Kenwyne Jones picked up a hip injury in that game and so is replaced by Benjani Mwaruwari. Lee Cattermole is on the bench after shaking off a hamstring injury. Birmingham make just one change themselves from the team that clawed back a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Everton last Saturday with Michel coming into midfield in place of Lee Bowyer, who is on the bench. Teemu Tainio, on loan from the Black Cats, is ineligible under Premier League rules.

1441: TEAM NEWS Everton v Bolton
Both teams' starting line-ups are unchanged but, with Landon Donovan heading back to LA Galaxy after his loan expired, Leon Osman returns from a groin problem to the Everton bench, alongside Louis Saha, who replaces Dan Gosling. Bolton boss Owen Coyle keeps Andy O'Brien in defence while Gary Cahill is back on the bench, six weeks after suffering a blood clot in his arm. Mark Davies is also named as a substitute having returned from an ankle injury.

1440: A great point for Wolves, then, but Aston Villa might well rue those dropped points later in the season as they miss the chance to go fifth, Martin O'Neill's side staying in seventh spot.

Full time
1439: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 2-2 Wolves

1439: Villa keeper Brad Friedel flaps at it a touch, but gets just enough on it to clear the danger.

1438: One minutes remaining in injury time and Wolves - who have done all the pushing in the last few minutes - have a corner...

Soccer_UK on 606: "I can't see anyone other than Manchester City getting the fourth spot."

1435: Four minutes of added time people...

1433: Close! Stephen Warnock's back-pass drops short of Villa keeper Brad Friedel but, with Kevin Doyle bearing down on goal, the American clears just in time. Cue a huge sigh of relief from the full-back. Meanwhile, Chris Iwelumo, back from his loan spell at Bristol City, replaces Matt Jarvis for Wolves.

1430: Final Score has kicked off ladies and gents, so refresh this page for the video (available to UK users only) to appear at the top.

1429: Five minutes of normal time remaining - can Villa go on to snatch the win that would send them into fifth?

Aston Villa goal: Wolves have done well to hold on for as long as they have, but Aston Villa draw level with eight minutes remaining. The keeper's long kick is held up by Emile Heskey and he lays it into Steve Sidwell's path, whose shot is turned in with the faintest of touches by John Carew. Again there is a suspicion of offside about the Norwegian's strike - but replays show he was level.

1426: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 2-2 Wolves (Carew)

1425: TEAMS Wigan v Burnley
Kirkland, Melchiot, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, McCarthy, Scharner, Diame, Thomas, Moreno, Rodallega. Subs: Stojkovic, Gohouri, Amaya, Scotland, Moses, Gomez, Sinclair.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Paterson, Steven Fletcher, Nugent. Subs: Weaver, Edgar, Blake, Bikey, Thompson, Eagles, Cork.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

1424: Ashley Young - who else? - whips in another fine cross and John Carew, cleverly, flicks it on - but it drifts wide. Time running out for the hosts here.

1423: TEAMS Sunderland v Birmingham
Gordon, Hutton, Turner, Mensah, Ferdinand, Campbell, Meyler, Richardson, Malbranque, Bent, Mwaruwari. Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Zenden, Henderson, Da Silva, Kilgallon, Cattermole.
Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Dann, Johnson, Ridgewell, Gardner, Michel, Ferguson, Fahey, Jerome, Benitez. Subs: Taylor, Bowyer, Larsson, Phillips, McFadden, Parnaby, Vignal.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

1422: Stewart Downing is the latest man to trudge from the pitch as he is substituted, Steve Sidwell his replacement. England manager Fabio Capello is enjoying a watching brief at Villa Park, by the way, though not sure who - if anyone - has covered themselves in glory?

1421: TEAMS Portsmouth v Hull
James, Mullins, Rocha, Hreidarsson, Belhadj, Smith, Mokoena, Wilson, O'Hara, Owusu-Abeyie, Piquionne. Subs: Ashdown, Diop, Brown, Finnan, Webber, Kanu, Basinas.
Hull: Myhill, McShane, Mendy, Mouyokolo, Dawson, Marney, Bullard, Kilbane, Folan, Fagan, Vennegoor of Hesselink. Subs: Duke, Barmby, Geovanni, Garcia, Cooper, Olofinjana, Cairney.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1420: TEAMS Stoke v Tottenham
Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Collins, Delap, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Fuller, Kitson. Subs: Begovic, Lawrence, Sidibe, Pugh, Sanli, Wilkinson, Moult.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Kaboul, Modric, Bale, Crouch, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Alnwick, Palacios, Gudjohnsen, Livermore, Dervite, Parrett, Townsend.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

1419: TEAMS Everton v Bolton
Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Heitinga, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Osman, Rodwell.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Andrew O'Brien, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Muamba, Cohen, Wilshere, Kevin Davies, Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Cahill, Taylor, Riga, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Weiss.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

TakeABow on 606: "I don't know how much longer Wolves can continue to soak up the pressure. If Villa score you'd fancy them to get a winner. Wolves need a third."

1416: Marc Albrighton comes on for Richard Dunne - not sure if that's a knock for the Irishman, but attacking intent nonetheless from Villa boss Martin O'Neill.

1415: ...that attack comes to nothing, but moments later Ashley Young's cross causes havoc in the Wolves box and Emile Heskey is literally inches away from bundling it in, the away defence scrambling away in desperate fashion from practically underneath the crossbar.

1413: Wolves just starting to threaten for the first time on the counter attack, but Kevin Doyle's cross is cut out at the near post by Carlos Cuellar and Villa launch an attack of their own...

1410: John Carew works some space for himself in the area, but he fluffs his attempted shot on goal and Wolves are able to clear. All Villa still, though.

1408: In an attempt to regain a foothold in the play, I would assume, Michael Mancienne is brought on for Wolves in exchange for Stephen Ward.

1407: Clearest chance of the half for Aston Villa, but John Carew, under pressure from Jody Craddock, fails to get any power on his header from James Milner's cross and Marcus Hahnemann saves easily.

indowolf42 on Twitter: "Can't see Villa not scoring... but miracles happen!"

1405: An hour gone, still Aston Villa 1-2 Wolves, and the visitors look content to sit back and soak up pressure.

1401: Aston Villa continue to pressure the Wolves backline, Emile Heskey this time flicking Stewart Downing's corner wide. No clear-cut chances in this half as yet, but promising signs for Villa.

1357: Free kick, dangerous area to the left of the Wolves box, wastefully driven over the bar by Ashley Young.

1355: Flying header from Richard Dunne at the back post from a corner, but it rips over the bar.

Tobi, an Arsenal fan in Glasgow, via text: "Re: harrydahughes. It's almost as if all fans find watching their team play horribly stressful."

1352: Wolves earn the first corner of the second half - but it comes to nothing. I've just been reminded by the way, that Villa are the only unbeaten top flight side in the league in 2010 - I wonder how Martin O'Neill went about trying to maintain that record at half time? I have visions of him Tazmanian Devil-ing it in the dressing room for some reason. But, you know, with a high-pitched Northern Irish accent, obviously.

1349: We're back under way at Villa Park.

1348: Substitution for Wolves with Adiene Guedioura replaced by George Elokobi.

HarryDAHughes on Twitter: "RE: Ollie21AVFC. Villa fans and Spurs fans have something in common when they watch their sides play, then..."

1344: As it stands, then, Aston Villa stay in seventh and without the advantage of a game in hand, while Wolves jump up to 15th with a comfortable gap between them and the drop zone. Are Villa, unbeaten against their neighbours in three decades, feeling the effects of a 16th game in 66 days? We'll know in about 45 minutes.

Saving 606 since 2005 on 606: "The way some of you are talking you'd think that the match is over or they are playing first to two goals wins. There is still a half to play, so lets see what happens."

Ollie21AVFC on 606: "My heart feels like it's being ripped in two whenever I watch Villa play. I can't imagine how O'Neill copes with the stress."

Half time
1333: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 1-2 Wolves

1332: James Milner's cross to the far post is nodded back across goal well by Carlos Cuellar, but Christophe Berra does brilliantly to clear awkwardly in front of goal.

Nathan, Newcastle, via text: "Villa fans don't panic! They're just playing it like they played Reading. This is on purpose. I hope."

The strike of the cescy verminator on 606: "Why do Villa implode in the second half of the season? Is it their style of play? Or pressure?"

1328: Stylian Petrov continues to walk the red card tightrope, this time fouling Kevin Doyle and provoking a stern word from Mark Clattenburg. Another foul from the Bulgarian and he may go.

1326: Oh deary me, it should be 2-2. Ashley Young's cross to the back post finds Stewart Downing unmarked six yards out, but the winger's header bounces into the ground and over the bar. Poor.

Wolves goal: Aston Villa stand off David Jones far too long, the midfielder slips it to Matt Jarvis and the winger's cross is poked into his own net by James Milner under pressure from Jones following in. 1-0 down, 2-1 up - remarkable scenes.

1323: Aston Villa 1-2 Wolves (Milner og)

1319: Stylian Petrov, already on a yellow card, goes in rather clumsily on Ronald Zubar but, despite a nervous look at referee Mark Clattenburg, no further punishment is offered other than a foul.

1317: The match has settled since the equaliser and for the first time today Wolves are looking relatively comfortable.

optajoe on Twitter: "Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last 15 matches against Wolves in all competitions (12 wins, three draws), dating back to 1980. Hold."

1311: It was Jody Craddock and not his, erm, non-existent brother Joey who scored Wolves' goal. You knew that.

Wolves goal: We're level and Jody Craddock is the goalscorer. A free-kick from deep is knocked back inadvertantly by Ronald Zubar and Craddock slams home from close in. That's the defender's fifth of the season and Zubar might just be claiming a doozy of an assist, there. If he's cheeky, like.

1308: Aston Villa 1-1 Wolves (Craddock)

1307: Half decent response from Wolves, with Matt Jarvis lining one up on the left hand side and curling inches wide, via a deflection, of the Villa goal. The corner comes to nothing, though.

1304: A suspicion of offside about that goal, by the way, though I've yet to see the replay. It was definitely a close one.

Aston Villa goal: To be fair, it has been coming, and James Milner is unsurprisingly at the heart of it. The midfielder bursts through the middle, feeds Ashley Young and the winger's pinpoint cross is tapped in by John Carew. Easy.

1302: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Wolves (Carew)

1301: Wolves cause a headache among the Villa defence for the first time in the match, but Kevin Doyle's whipped cross is cleared. Give this page a manual refresh if you wouldn't mind, for Football Focus has now ended.

andreivanfabregas on 606: "RE: 1245 - In my opinion, for the sake of charity, the first five minutes of each game should see defenders get out of the way for plenty of goals! Then when the scores are 10-10 or so, the game can begin! Genius!"

1257: James Milner, one of the form men in the Premier League, bursts into the Wolves box but just as he is about to pull the trigger, Karl Henry produces a stunning tackle to deny him the chance. Beautifully timed and no hint of a penalty shout as a result. Villa on the money so far.

1255: Adiene Guedioura tries his luck from 25 yards as Wolves press from a corner, but it drifts wide.

1253: Aston Villa looking the more threatening of the two sides early doors, James Milner feeding Stewart Downing on the left only for the winger's attempted cut-back to John Carew to be cut out.

supergooner on 606: "RE: 1245 - If the Arsenal game later is anything like West Ham's 1st visit to the Grove, then Sport Relief is in for some serious wonga! Think we had just over 30 shots on target, but sadly no goal."

Cemboi on Twitter: "Come on Wolves - do us (Spurs) a giant favour!"

1250: Typically competitive start at Villa Park, with the commentators waxing lyrical about the surface - it does look a peach. The first chance falls to Aston Villa and striker John Carew, the big Norwegian dragging wide of the goal when well placed eight yards out.

davidgilmourthe3rd on 606: "First touch is a hoof up the park... heavens above."

1245: Aston Villa-Wolves is under way people, which sounds just about the perfect time for me to tell you that, as part of Sport Relief, Barclays will be donating £1,000 for every goal and £500 for every shot on target during this weekend's Premier League fixtures. Jubbly!

1240: Wolves, unchanged for the sixth straight fixture, and Aston Villa stride out at a packed Villa Park. Atmosphere bubbling nicely pre-kick-off. I do love an early derby match to get the juices flowing on a Saturday afternoon - and I would imagine the juices have been flowing in and around this game for quite a while already this morning. Nice.

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Wolves have won only three of 33 PL away matches in their history - 9%. Four clubs in PL history have a worse win percentage away."

DanTanner91 on Twitter: "Hoping for another Reading win today. Reckon we can make the play-offs??"

1234: With Man Utd-Liverpool, Fulham-Man City and Blackburn-Chelsea scheduled for Sunday, the opportunity is there for a few teams to make a move today. Arsenal are one of those in the late game, Tottenham among those involved in the 1500s, but first it falls to Aston Villa to see if they can make another dent in the race for fourth spot in the early midlands derby against Wolves. A win would see Martin O'Neill's side move level on points with fourth-placed Spurs, while Wolves can go six points clear of the drop zone if they spring something of a surprise. Where's ya money?

Anon via text: "Fulham - Awesome. The European draws - Predictable. Beckham - Inevitable..."

1230: So much going on outside the Premier League today, too, of course - and that's where Numbers Ian comes into his own: "Plenty of big games in the Football League again today. Newcastle will kick off the late Championship game at managerless Bristol City at 1720 GMT knowing they will still be top of the table as they lead West Brom by four points. The Baggies and third placed Nottingham Forest both have home games but fourth-placed Leicester entertain Coventry on Sunday in a game that UK users can watch live on this website and BBC1 from 1345 GMT. League One leaders Norwich travel to fourth placed Swindon hoping for the win which would put them 10 points clear of Leeds, who host Millwall on Monday. League Two leaders Rochdale make the short journey to Accrington while second placed Bournemouth are at second bottom Grimsby."

wondayboo on 606: "Place your bets on an Arsenal double NOW while you can still make a few quid."

redandblackT on 606: "Maybe Smithy could take over from Hodgson when he succeeds Capello as England manager."

1224: TEAM NEWS Aston Villa v Wolves
Aston Villa's
leading goalscorer Gabby Agbonlahor hasn't recovered from his groin strain for the 100th league meeting between these two so Emile Heskey starts alongside John Carew. Wolves are the league's lowest scorers and welcome back striker Chris Iwelumo who's been on loan at Bristol City. He's on the bench with Kevin Doyle up front on his own looking for goals to help get his team away from the relegation zone.

Gerrardswhiskers on 606: "Wondering if this could be the day that Villa's packed schedule catches up with the their players."

1219: A few issues for you all to rattle about in and around today's fixtures, then, following Fulham's stunning defeat of Juventus on Thursday, Friday's Champions League and Europa League draws, Iain Dowie's appointment as Phil Brown's successor at Hull, and Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt's revelation that his therapist hits him with a mallet. Unbelievable. Oh, and David Beckham will go to the World Cup ... as an ambassador at least. Chew that one over.

PopeandSwift on Twitter: "Martin O'Neill promised Gabby would be fit! Where is he?! He's captain of my fantasy football team! Absolute disaster!"

1215: Give this page a cheeky refresh, people, and Football Focus will appear as if by magic at the top of this page. The wonders of modern technology huh?

20ledge-kb on 606: "Definitely a day for Villa to push for fourth, should be a routine win against Wolves and I can't see Spurs getting by Stoke today, especially without Defoe."

Lewis, betting Spurs will finish in the top four, via text: "I have little faith in the away Premier League sides but I do have faith in the surprises that football brings. Come on you Spurs."

1207: TEAMS Aston Villa v Wolves
Aston Villa:
Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing, Carew, Heskey. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Beye, Clark.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Foley, Guedioura, Henry, David Jones, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hennessey, Elokobi, Ebanks-Blake, Keogh, Iwelumo, Milijas, Mancienne.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

bigoll on 606: "Wolves to beat Villa in the early kick-off to start a string of unlikely results that sees 20th March go down as Underdog Day. You heard it here first..."

James Corden's Sport Relief skits

1202: If you missed Smithy's cameo on Sport Relief last night, by the way, it probably means you weren't sat in on a Friday night and have a life. Well done you. Just don't judge me, all right? Anyway, check out our video, go to iPlayer, or even go to the Sport Relief page to check out details on how to download it for a small fee that goes straight to the charity. Trust me, it's funny.

Thanks A lot BBC7 on 606: "Could this be a day where all the Premiership home teams win?"

stoneyboyo on Twitter: "Let's hope for goals galore at the Villa-Wolves game! always a good start to the footy weekend!"

1155: So, folks, the floor is yours. Tweet me, get on 606, or text in via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Do it. Erm, please.

1152: Anyway, let's get down to the brass tacks of the day - it's a packed ol' schedule, with crucial issues at stake at both ends of the Premier League. Numbers Ian is in 'da' house (woop woop) with all the lower league info and latest as well, so you need not miss a thing. We kick off with Aston Villa-Wolves at 1245 GMT, and end with Arsenal-West Ham at 1730 GMT. Happy days.

1150: How good was Sport Relief? A night so inspirational, it almost made me get off my sofa and, you know, do that exercise thing they all kept referring to. I didn't of course. I did, however, stick my usually short arms in my exceptionally deep pockets and donate. I hope you did too and, if not, there is still time. Think of it as a karmic contribution to the success of your side this afternoon if you like*.
*Please note, generous donations may not actually have any impact on your side's result. Sorry.

1145: I don't care if you're pushing for honours at the top of the table, making a move on a European place or scrapping it out at the bottom... there is one man you need in your corner. A man to bring the best out in your players. A man to inspire your supporters. A man to swap your half-time oranges for a curry and pint of lager. I can only think, in fact, he didn't get the Hull job this week purely because of a lack of availability. Ladies and gentlemen, genuflect as one, for I, of course, refer to the one, the only, "Coach of the Year" Smithy.

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 20 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 31 40 67
2 Man Utd 30 46 66
3 Chelsea 29 42 64
4 Tottenham 30 26 55
5 Liverpool 30 19 51
6 Man City 28 17 50
7 Aston Villa 29 17 50
8 Everton 30 6 45
9 Birmingham 30 -3 44
10 Fulham 29 0 38
11 Stoke 30 -6 36
12 Sunderland 30 -6 34
13 Blackburn 29 -17 34
14 Bolton 31 -20 32
15 Wigan 31 -30 31
16 Wolves 30 -24 28
17 West Ham 30 -14 27
18 Burnley 31 -33 24
19 Hull 30 -35 24
20 Portsmouth 30 -25 13

see also
Saturday's football photos
20 Mar 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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related internet links:
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