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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 17:30 UK

Saturday football as it happened


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By Caroline Cheese

1724: Apparently, there is no late game. I'm HORRIFIED. Sorry for the mathematical issues today. You'll be relieved to know numbers expert Sam Lyon is in the chair tomorrow. Match of the Day: tonight, 2215 BST, BBC One. Consider yourself reminded. Bye bye.

1721: So what's the late game then?

Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter on Twitter: "City-Spurs on Wednesday is effectively a Champions League play-off. The most valuable Premier League game ever? Bit OTT but stakes so high."

1712: A very emotional Avram Grant takes the mic now for a stirring speech... "If I could shake the hands of very one of you, I would. If anyone in the world wants to learn about passion, commitment, Fratton Park is the place to come. They can take points off us, they can put embargo on us, but they cannot destroy our spirit. Never! In two weeks, players, fans and staff will go to Wembley with the signs 'we did it, we did it'."

1708: Avram Grant is getting a rapturous reception at Portsmouth, as are the players on their lap of honour. It might be the last the fans see of Grant and many of those players at Fratton Park. David James takes the mic to say thanks to those long-suffering fans.

1705: But Liverpool could still finish fourth because they've got two games left, so they'll need to win tomorrow and hope it's a draw on Wednesday. How about you just ignore everything I say? What? You already do? Good.

1702: Actually, with thanks to SirWilliam99 on 606, Villa's hopes of finishing fourth are definitely, definitely over. They'll have to make to with the Europa League again.

1657: Liverpool still have a slim, slim hope of snatching fourth. They need Wednesday's massive game at Eastlands to be a draw.

1657: Aston Villa's hopes of finishing fourth are over. With one game left, they trail fourth-placed Tottenham by three points, and City by two.

1655: FULL-TIME Portsmouth 3-1 Wolves

Football League Macca: "Charlton 1-0 Leeds. 88th minute. It's gone down as a Neil Kilkenny own goal. Just one point separates Leeds, Millwall and Swindon now. Better news for their West Yorkshire neighbours Bradford, who have grabbed a second against Northampton, whose play-off hopes are looking increasingly unlikely. Bournemouth are 4-0 against P Vale, Accrington are 2-0 against Chesterfield and Torquay are 2-0 against Bury. Does anybody want to be in these L2 play-offs. Grimsby have a second goal against Barnet and it'll go down to the wire."

1653: FULL-TIME Tottenham 1-0 Bolton

1653: Everton's hopes of qualifying for the Europa League end with that result. Heurelho Gomes is carrying on for Spurs, but he's not happy.

1652: FULL-TIME Stoke 0-0 Everton

1651: FULL-TIME Man City 3-1 Aston Villa

1649: Heurelho Gomes has picked up a, erm, groin injury, let's call it. Worrying times for Spurs fans.

Man City goal: Shaun Wright-Phillips picks up the ball in his own half, skips past a defender before setting up Craig Bellamy to finish high into the corner from inside the box.

1648: GOALFLASH Man City 3-1 Aston Villa (Bellamy)

1645: I thought it was about time Heurelho Gomes came to the fore. The Spurs keeper leaps acrobatically to his left to punch away Matt Taylor's dipping volley. Tottenham still with that slender one-goal lead.

1644: James Milner delivers a dangerous inswinging corner from the left, forcing Marton Fulop to punch. Decent distance on it though and City survive. At Spurs, Eidur Gudjohnsen replaces Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Football League Macca: "Bournemouth have a third against Port Vale (3-0), as do Aldershot against Lincoln (3-1). It looks like Wycombe's relegation is going to be confirmed today as they now trail at Leyton Orient. Hartlepool have equalised against Exeter, who remain above the dropzone on goal difference as it stands. Colchester have equalised against Huddersfield, who will be in the play-offs. Notts County are winning 5-0 against Cheltenham, who are not mathematically safe as yet."

1642: Peter Crouch's header from a corner is cleared off the line by Lee Chung-Yong. Worrying moments for City as the sprightly Ashley Young picks up the ball on the left and crosses to Nathan Delfouneso at the far post. City scramble the header behind.

1640: Bit short on goals in this second half aren't we? (That should do it...)

1637: As if to demonstrate how confident he is at the moment, Gareth Bale volleys in a cross from the left. Roman Pavlyuchenko throws himself at it in a desperate attempt to apply the finishing touch, but it's just too far in front.

1636: Shaun Wright-Phillips replaces Adam Johnson for Manchester City, who are leading Aston Villa 2-1.

1634: Phil Jagielka has had a goal ruled out for Everton against Stoke. We don't know what for. Could be the ball going behind as the corner came over, or might be offside or pushing against Victor Anichebe. Take your pick, whichever you prefer.

Football League Macca: "Lifeline for Grimsby as Robert Atkinson puts them in front against relegation rivals Barnet. That would see the Mariners move within a point of Barnet going into their final games. Oh lordy. Elsewhere, it is now Swindon 3-2 Brentford and Shrewsbury 2-3 Morecambe. Tranmere have a second goal against Millwall. It's been scored by Andy Robinson, who is only on loan from Leeds would you believe? It's as tense as you like at the Valley. Still Charlton 0-0 Leeds but could go either way - or neither way. Hereford are back on level terms at Daggers, who drop out of the play-off spots accordingly. Accrington are beating Chesterfield and Aldershot have turned things round against Lincoln and are now 2-1 ahead. Only Shots and Morecambe of the eight teams in the play-off hunt are winning."

1630: Peter Crouch replaces Jermain Defoe at White Hart Lane. And now Aaron Lennon arrives to take the place of David Bentley. Quite a bench they have at Tottenham no?

Portsmouth goal: That should wrap it up. Papa Bouba Diop's cross finds it way to Michael Brown, whose low shot goes through the legs of Kevin Foley and under the outstretched arm of Marcus Hahnemann.

1629: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 3-1 Wolves (Brown)

1629: Gareth Bale goes on a swerving run down the left before arrowing the ball across goal. No one there to apply the finish - and remarkably as the ball rolls towards the touchline, the ball boy runs onto the pitch and stops it with his hand. A rush of blood to the head by the young fella. Drop ball awarded.

1627: Younes Kaboul - playing like some kind of Spurs superman - clears off the line from Matt Taylor to keep it Spurs 1-0 Bolton.

1624: Two golden chances for Spurs. The excellent Younes Kaboul is on the overlap for Spurs down the right, but Roman Pavlyuchenko heads the cross wide. Then Jermain Defoe sends Gareth Bale bursting into the box, but Jussi Jaaskelainen bundles the ball behind for a corner.

1623: Patrick Vieira leaves Ashley Young hobbling with a crunching tackle near the sideline. Vieira looks a bit lucky to avoid a yellow.

1622: Richard Hughes has limped off for Portsmouth, looking very distressed as he went down the tunnel with what looked like a hamstring injury. The FA Cup final is 15 days away.

1620: Kevin Doyle is desperately unlucky to turn and shoot onto the foot of the post for Wolves but surely Sylvain Ebanks-Blake will slot in the rebound? No. He's sidefooted wide. Still Portsmouth leading 2-1.

1618: Carlos Tevez plays in Craig Bellamy in acres of space on the left, but his cross is easily blocked. All gone a bit quiet. Not for long, I'm sure... Bolton, still trailing Tottenham 1-0, make a double change: Johan Elmander and Lee Chung-Yong on for Vlad Weiss and Ivan Klasnic.

Football League Macca:"Tom Bradshaw has levelled for Shrewsbury at home to Morecambe. Already promoted Bournemouth are beating would-like-to-be-promoted Port Vale. As it stands, Rotherham, goalless against Crewe, look set to secure their play-off place but seven teams would have a shot at the other three places on the last day. Gillingham have a second against Southampton in L1."

1613: Spell of pressure from Bolton at the Lane. Three corners in quick succession, but Spurs survive.

1611: Marton Fulop out quickly to collect a long ball on the edge of his box. Every time he does anything of any note, he gets a massive round of applause from the home fans. Up the other end, Pablo Zabaleta's shot deflects off Richard Dunne and flies just over.

1610: Marton Fulop scrambles back to palm a deflected Ashley Young cross behind. He still looks very nervy, the on-loan City keeper.

1607: Mamady Sidibe takes a few giant strides over the halfway line before feeding Matthew Etherington on the left. His cross finds Rory Delap completely unmarked but he somehow sidefoots wide when it looks easier to score. If only he'd thrown it in... no, wait, that's not allowed, is it?

1607: The other two games at Portsmouth and Stoke are back in play.

1603: We're back under way at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham lead Bolton 1-0 thanks to that Tom Huddlestone wonder strike. And they're up and running at Eastlands too.

1601: The award Avram Grant received before kick-off was a memento from the supporters' club apparently. Grant, by the way, is being heavily linked with the soon-to-be vacant managerial position at West Ham in this morning's papers.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on on-loan keeper Joe Hart: "People talk about Van der Sar saving 15 points a season for Manchester United. We wanted someone of the same sort of ability to do likewise and Joe has done that."

1558: Apologies, Stoke are of course drawing 0-0 with Everton, not Bolton.

1556: By my reckoning, John Utaka's goal - as well as being his first in the league this season - is the 1000th in the Prem. We were on 992 before today. It's between Utaka and Carlos Tevez anyway, and I think Utaka's went in first. Does it really matter? Possibly not...

Football League Macca: "Still no goals and not much doing at the Valley, where it is 0-0 between Charlton and Leeds. Massive cheers by the away fans as news filters in that Tranmere are beating Millwall through Ian Thomas-Moore. But Swindon could be a threat as they are now in front against Brentford through Daniel Ward. Tranmere are still sitting in the dropzone, but it's a lot tighter. How are those nerves holding up?"

From ArsenalArseneArshavin on 606 "It looks like it's between Spurs and City... Liverpool have no chance if the games end by these scores. What a game on Wednesday night. I probably want to be City: a point behind BUT with a home game."

1550: HALF-TIME Tottenham 1-0 Bolton

1550: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 Everton

1549: HALF-TIME Portsmouth 2-1 Wolves

1549: All change in the as-it-stands table then: Tottenham are fourth, a point ahead of City and three ahead of Villa.

1548: HALF-TIME Man City 2-1 Aston Villa

1547: This game isn't over - not while Marton Fulop's in the City goal. Ashley Young's right -wing cross is spilled by the keeper, but he's lucky there's no-one there to pounce.

Football League Macca: L1 champs Norwich are ahead at Bristol Rovers through Chris Martin. The L2 play-off race is a messy one. Nine teams are in the mix for the four spots. As it stands Dagenham have just jumped into one of them as they lead Hereford; Bury have been squeezed out as they trail at home to Torquay. Northampton are down to 11th and down to 10 men as Dean Beckworth has been sent off. At the foot of L1, Exeter are beating Hartlepool, who could yet be dragged into the relegation scrap.

Portsmouth goal: Portsmouth regain the lead against Wolves when John Utaka cuts in from the right and fires in a low shot from the edge of the area that Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann cannot get a hand to.

City's second goal: John Carew smashes a shot against the crossbar for Villa. Seconds later, City are ahead. Adam Johnson picks put Emmanuel Adebayor, who slots a low strike past Brad Friedel from six yards.

City's first goal: Stephen Warnock needlessly brings down Adam Johnson out wide near the byeline and Carlos Tevez squeezes his penalty underneath Brad Friedel's dive.

1543: GOALFLASH Man City 2-1 Aston Villa (Adebayor)

1542: GOALFLASH Man City 1-1 Aston Villa (Tevez pen)


1541: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 2-1 Wolves (Utaka)

Spurs goal: Crackerjack. Benoit Assou-Ekotto lays the ball off to Tom Huddlestone, who thumps a glorious right-foot strike into the top corner from 22 yards.

1540: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Bolton (Huddlestone)

Wolves goal: Defences very much not on top in this game. David Jones floats in a free-kick from deep and Ronald Zubar escapes the Pompey backline but his header is brilliantly saved by David James (who has ENORMOUS hair today by the way), who then makes another great stop from Kevin Doyle's follow-up but can't stop Doyle burying the rebound.

1537: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 1-1 Wolves (Doyle)

Football League Macca: "L2 champs Notts County are having a promotion party at Meadow Lane and 4-0 up against Cheltenham already. Morecambe are 2-1 up against Shrewsbury, who sacked manager Paul Simpson yesterday. At the bottom of L1, Yeovil, who only need a draw, are beating Oldham and Gillingham, who are one place off the drop, are ahead against Southampton. Still 0-0 but Brentford have a leveller at Swindon through David Hunt."

1534: There is very little going on at the Britannia Stadium. The highlight so far has been Mamady Sidibe's sensationally bad overhead kick, in which he almost took his own head off.

From Tom via text: "Disagree with the Spurs fans cheering the Villa goal. Villa are just as much of a threat as anyone in the race for fourth. Wonder whether Spurs fans might be underestimating them."

1530: Big shout for a penalty at Eastlands as Carlos Tevez hammers a shot into Stephen Warnock's arm. The Villa defender had his back turned, so the ref decides it's ball to hand - which it probably was.

Football League Macca: "Goals in some of the big games. In L1, Swindon - four points behind Leeds in fourth spot - are ahead against Brentford through Billy Paynter. In L2, Mark Duffy has put play-off hopefuls Morecambe in front at Shrewsbury but Northampton are trailing at Bradford. In one of only two games in the division with nothing at stake, Darlington are winning at Macclesfield."

1528: The nerves are really creaking at Eastlands - do nerves creak? - as Stewart Downing hammers a shot just wide for Villa. Just to clarify (because I may have got in a muddle earlier): as it stands, Villa are fourth, two points ahead of Spurs, four points ahead of City, but having played a game more.

1525: James Milner drives a fierce shot through a crowd of players, which Marton Fulop fumbles briefly before gathering.

Portsmouth goal: Michael Brown lofts the ball in and Arune Dindane takes advantage of some ponderous Wolves defending to head past Marcus Hahnemann - who moments later saves brilliantly from Kevin-Prince Boateng's thumping volley.

1522: GOALFLASH Portsmouth 1-0 Wolves (Dindane)

1521: That Villa goal was greeted by a massive cheer at White Hart Lane. As it stands, Villa are fourth, two points ahead of Spurs, four points ahead of City.

1520: Brad Friedel gets a vital hand to Craig Bellamy's cross, with Emmanuel Adebayor waiting to nod in. Wonder what Gunnar Nielsen was thinking as Marton Fulop let that goal in? Meanwhile, a 25-yard free-kick from Wolves' David Jones is acrobatically pushed away by Portsmouth keeper David James.

Villa goal: Marton Fulop makes the worst possible start to his City career. In Villa's first attack, Stewart Downing slips the ball through for John Carew, who is challenged by Kolo Toure as he shoots low from the right-hand side of the box, but the ball seems to go under Fulop.

1517: GOALFLASH Man City 0-1 Aston Villa (Carew)

1516: Roy Hodgson is at White Hart Lane... Lucky old White Hart Lane, being blessed by the presence of Sir Woy.

1513: Another chance for Spurs - and again it's Roman Pavlyuchenko. The ball comes in from the right this time from Younes Kaboul, but the Russian makes an awful mess of it.

1512: Didn't Avram Grant say a few weeks ago Portsmouth deserved an award from the Premier League for coping with their troubles this season? Maybe that's what that he was receiving (see 1501).

1511: Half chance for Spurs but Roman Pavlyuchenko's bundled effort from Gareth Bale's cross is easily handled by Jussi Jaaskelainen. At Eastlands, Craig Bellamy's cross takes a wicked deflection off Carlos Cuellar and Brad Friedel has to adjust his position very quickly to tip it over the bar.

1508: City very much on the front foot against Villa, but no clear chances yet. Carlos Tevez had a chance to shoot on the edge of the box, but opted for another touch and got crowded out. In hair news: Emmanuel Adebayor has abandoned the bunches he sported at Arsenal last week.

1506: Just while we're waiting for some action, here's some interesting (if you're Fabio Capello) chat from Infostrada Sports: "England striker Peter Crouch is a substitute again for Tottenham. He has not started a Prem match since the end of March, and only played 38 minutes of Prem football in April."

From anon via text: "Birmingham have still not won by more than one goal this season. For a top half team that's remarkable."

1501: Avram Grant is receiving a trophy at Fratton Park. Not sure what for. Sticking around? They're under way in the big games at Manchester City and Tottenham.

From jamesfreeland on Twitter: "As a suffering Liverpool fan, am struggling to work out what combination of results keeps our bid for fourth place going."
City and Villa to draw, Spurs to lose, I'm guessing - and Liverpool to win obviously

From optajoe on Twitter: "Brian Jensen scored the 41st Premier League own goal this term at St Andrews, meaning there have been more this term than ever before. Calamity."

From barbour99 on Twitter: "Can you get your stats people on to finding the last time Martin O'Neill altered his starting XI? Was it in his Leicester days?"

From mancitybean on Twitter: "Hoping for the best for City. Even a draw is good if we beat Spurs."

1451: Gareth Barry has a hamstring injury, which would explain his absence from Man City's team. I have no idea what's up with Everton's Steven Pienaar though.

1450: Birmingham, led by Alex McLeish, are taking a lap of honour at St Andrew's - well-deserved too.

1446: TEAM NEWS Portsmouth v Wolves
Portsmouth include forward Kevin Prince-Boateng and defender Steve Finnan for their final Premier League match at Fratton Park. On-loan Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara, however, remains out with a back problem. Wolves hand a first start to winger Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, on loan from RSC Charleroi. Captain Karl Henry returned to lead the side after serving a three-match suspension following his red card at Arsenal earlier in the month.

1444: TEAM NEWS Stoke v Everton
Stoke make four changes from the side battered 7-0 by Chelsea last Sunday. Keeper Thomas Sorensen dislocated an elbow in that game and is replaced by Asmir Begovic while Ryan Shawcross comes in for the injured Abdoulaye Faye and Mamady Sidibe is preferred to Dave Kitson up front. Everton, needing a win to keep alive their slim Europa League qualification hopes, restore both Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha in attack. Joseph Yobo and Leon Osman also return to the starting line-up. Steven Pienaar does not make the squad.

1443: TEAM NEWS Man City v Aston Villa
Man City make two changes from the team that drew at Arsenal, with emergency loan signing Marton Fulop, who conceded seven on his last outing for Sunderland, in for Shay Given and Emmanuel Adebayor replacing former Villa man Gareth Barry. Aston Villa, competing with City and Tottenham for fourth place, are unchanged from the team that defeated Birmingham.

1441: TEAM NEWS Tottenham v Bolton
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp opts to start with captain Ledley King despite the prospect of a trip to top-four rivals Manchester City on Wednesday and the fact the defender cannot usually play twice in a week. Younes Kaboul's return at right-back, therefore, is the only change to the XI that lost 3-1 at Manchester United last week, with Wilson Palacios dropped to the bench. Bolton are unchanged from the team that drew 2-2 with Portsmouth last week.

1440: Birmingham stay on course for ninth - their highest ever Premier League finish - after taking their unbeaten home run to 14 games. For Burnley: it's a Premier League record 17th away defeat.

1439: FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-1 Burnley

1437: TEAMS Portsmouth v Wolverhampton
Portsmouth: James, Vanden Borre, Mokoena, Finnan, Sowah, Dindane, Brown, Hughes, Boateng, Utaka, Piquionne. Subs: Ashdown, Mullins, Diop, Smith, Kanu, Ward, Ritchie.
Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Zubar, Berra, Craddock, Elokobi, Foley, Henry, Mancienne, David Jones, Mujangi Bia, Doyle. Subs: Ikeme, Edwards, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, Iwelumo, Milijas, Guedioura.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

1436: TEAMS Stoke v Everton
Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Sidibe, Fuller. Subs: Simonsen, Lawrence, Pugh, Diao, Sanli, Collins, Moult.
Everton: Howard, Yobo, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Neville, Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Saha. Subs: Turner, Hibbert, Bilyaletdinov, Yakubu, Senderos, Rodwell, Baxter.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

1434: Last change for Birmingham and it's a welcome return for Lee Carsley after injury. Cameron Jerome comes off.

Burnley goal: Birmingham's offside trap goes all wrong and Steven Thompson is clean through, biding his time before stroking the finish past Joe Hart. Alex McLeish won't be happy with that.

1431: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-1 Burnley (Thompson)

1430: Graham Alexander is in a proper strop as Brian Laws replaces him with Alex MacDonald, with five minutes remaining at St Andrew's. The veteran midfielder stomps off the pitch before sitting down and removing his shin pads in a furious manner.

1428: TEAMS Tottenham v Bolton
Tottenham: Gomes, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Crouch, Gudjohnsen, Bassong.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Weiss, Muamba, Wilshere, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Elmander, Gardner, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Lee.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1427: TEAMS Man City v Aston Villa
Man City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Bridge, Adam Johnson, De Jong, Vieira, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez. Subs: Nielsen, Richards, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, Garrido, Sylvinho.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Downing, Petrov, Milner, Ashley Young, Carew, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Luke Young, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Heskey, Reo-Coker, Beye.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

From JP_OAKLEY on Twitter: "Re 1415: Take each game as it comes. They have to beat Bolton first or City game becomes harder! Right call to play Ledley."

1423: Stuart Parnaby is unable to play on. He is replaced by Keith Fahey.

1418: Could be trouble here... Martin Paterson fires the ball across goal but Steven Thompson can't get the vital touch. The ball is going out over the far side, but Stuart Parnaby tries to keep it in before Danny Fox comes steaming in, winning the ball but taking a large slice of Parnaby. Peter Walton marches over but indicates it's a just throw-in for Birmingham, no second yellow for Fox. Burnley's Fair Play hopes hanging by a thread here.

1415: Ledley King is starting for Tottenham against Bolton, which seems surprising given Spurs travel to Manchester City on Wednesday and the defender can't play two games in a week.

1412: And now Steven Thompson replaces fellow Scot Steven Fletcher for Burnley. Think Fletcher might have picked up a knock.

Yellow card
1410: Gregory Vignal next man into Peter Walton's little black book for a trip on Tyrone '500 throw-ins' Mears. Time for a Birmingham change: James McFadden gets a huge roar from the home fans as he comes off to be replaced by Michel.

1408: Robbie Blake, who played 13 games for Birmingham, replaces David Nugent for Burnley.

1406: Incidentally, just to be clear, I have no idea what that yellow card means for Burnley's Europa League qualification hopes.

1402: That would have been a beauty... Chucho Benitez does a couple of stepovers on the left as he waits for Sebastian Larsson's run at the far post before crossing for the Swede, who volleys narrowly over.

Yellow card
1400: Stuart Parnaby slides in two-footed on Jack Cork with a challenge not dissimilar to Danny Fox's earlier. Same outcome: yellow.

1358: Lee Bowyer has hobbled back onto the pitch... and Birmingham now threaten a third, but first Leon Cort makes a saving challenge on Cameron Jerome, before Chucho Benitez drags a shot narrowly wide.

From notquiteplato on Twitter: "Re 1334: No pro-chip arguments published? So much for an unbiased BBC..."
They go better with sauce, I'll give you that, pro-chip lobbyists

Yellow card
1354: Boom. Danny Fox goes flying into a two-footed sliding challenge on Lee Bowyer. The Birmingham midfielder is left in a heap, Fox rather pointlessly claims he got the ball - but I think even he knows that's a yellow card.

1353: Another venomous shot by Steven Fletcher, this time a low drive which stings the palms of Joe Hart.

1351: Steven Fletcher catches a left-foot drive beautifully but it flies narrowly past the top corner, with Joe Hart scrambling.

1349: Anyway, we're back under way at St Andrew's.

From anon via text: "Re 1334: Crisps are a far more convenient food than chips, and the scope of flavours and types is immeasurable. In other words: crisps win."
I agree

1345: It's Chucho Benitez's 24th birthday today. According to Infostrada, the last player to score a Premier League goal on their birthday was Tim Cahill in Everton's 2-2 draw with Spurs way back in 2009.

1343: Sorry Burnley fans, but there's more bad news from Infostrada: "Burnley have now conceded in their last 26 Prem matches, equalling the Prem record for conceding in most consecutive matches - level with Wimbledon's 26-match streak from February to October 1999."

1341: It's about time we heard from Football League Macca: "So with the Championship boys all playing on Sunday, the attentions of the Football League will be on League One and Two today. There is all sorts of stuff still to be decided and we'll have our fingers, thumbs and calculators at the ready as we aim to keep you up-to-date with what's what. In a nutshell, here's what could happen today:
- Leeds could be promoted to the Champo
- Wycombe and Tranmere could be relegated to L2
- Grimsby could drop out of the Football League."

1338: As it stands, Birmingham are still ninth, but now seven points behind Everton, and Burnley are still relegated.

1334: We are discussing which are better: chips or crisps. That is how fascinating that half of football was. Actually, it wasn't too bad, considering there's very little riding on it. No yellow cards, importantly for Burnley fans.

1332: HALF-TIME Birmingham 2-0 Burnley

From Jack, Cornwall, via text: "Re 1215: Tyrone Mears should be made to wear a hat so large as to render any further throw-ins impossible."

Birmingham goal: Bit of a strange build-up as Steven Caldwell appears to win the ball from Cameron Jerome on the right. Despite even Jerome indicating that Caldwell got the ball, the referee gives the free-kick, James McFadden takes it, Roger Johnson heads it back across goal and Chucho Benitez chests it over the line from about half a yard out.

1327: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-0 Burnley (Chucho)

Champagne moment
1325: The Burnley fans are giving their side the "oles" as they pass the ball around in midfield. AND TYRONE MEARS HAS TAKEN HIS 500TH THROW-IN OF THE SEASON. Congratulations, Tyrone.

From Kev via text: "Re 1215: That'll be a clown hat for Brian Jensen then, perhaps also a big red nose."

Birmingham goal: Oh dear. Cameron Jerome chests Sebastian Larsson's cross towards goal but the decisive last touch is off Burnley keeper Brian Jensen for a messy og. Football League Macca wonders if you get extra Fair Play points for scoring own goals.

1315: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 Burnley (Jensen own goal)

From Nigel in Manchester, via text: "Re 1215: How about all the players' positions for each team put in a hat and all players including subs draw out their starting position. Additional rule - you can't sub your goalie until the second half!"

1309: Burnley midfielder Jack Cork gallops forward, and the space opens up invitingly. His shot is straight down Joe Hart's throat though (not literally).

1307: Still no throw-in for Tyrone Mears (see 1236). He must be starting to get nervous. Stuck on 499...

1304: After earning from a corner via a swift counter-attack, Birmingham go close when Cameron Jerome heads a corner over... and that's an even better chance! Chucho Benitez finds Jerome at the near post, but Brian Jensen makes a brilliant reaction save, sticking his left arm up to deflect the ball over.

1303: Some rather gloomy news from Infostrada Sports if you were expecting a goalfest... "There have been 29 goals scored at Birmingham's St Andrew's this season - fewer than any other Prem stadium this season."

From Julian, Manchester, via text: "Re 1223: so if Fulham win Europa League, then City, Villa, Liverpool, Fulham AND Burnley go to Europa?"

From James, Hitchin, via text: "Re 1215: I propose the managers have to pick the line-up from the supporters in the stands."

1254: Cameron Jerome slips the ball through for Chucho Benitez, who looks an inch offside. No flag from the linesman so it's left to Steven Caldwell to save Burnley with a well-timed block.

1251: Birmingham defender Roger Johnson makes a vital near-post clearance to prevent Steven Fletcher nodding in Martin Paterson's cross from the right. Tyrone Mears still waiting for his big moment... (see 1236).

1247: Cameron Jerome with some great work on the left, picking up what looked like a poor pass from Chucho Benitez before cleverly making space for the cross. Lee Bowyer heads a very good chance wide.

1246: Away we go.

1244: It's Birmingham's last home game of the season so Alex McLeish is getting the big intro from the PA man at St Andrew's. The Scot gets a rapturous reception as he emerges from the tunnel and gives Brian Laws a warm hug. Lovely.

From redandblackT on 606: "Re 1215: How about any time there's a free kick or penalty, the club mascot comes on and takes it?"

1236: And something else to look out for today (which I've been alerted to by BBC Sport's 'Dangerous' Dave Ornstein ): Burnley defender Tyrone Mears is on the verge of his 500th throw-in of the season. The 27-year-old has taken more throw-ins than any other players in the Premier League.

From davidjf on 606: "Re 1223: How about give Burnley a yellow card for every 10 minutes without scoring? Might liven things up a bit..."

1231: TEAM NEWS Birmingham v Burnley
Birmingham make two changes from the side that started at Aston Villa last time out as Stuart Parnaby replaces the suspended Stephen Carr and Chucho Benitez starts for the first time in seven games, with Craig Gardner dropping out. There is only one change for already-relegated Burnley - Steven Caldwell is in for Michael Duff.

From Snorre, Rayners Lane, via text: "Re 1215: I'm saying they all have to do a Romania after their England win in 1998, and go blonde. I wanna see Graham Alexander go real blonde. Cheers."

1226: TEAMS Birmingham v Burnley
Birmingham: Hart, Parnaby, Johnson, Ridgewell, Vignal, Larsson, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez. Subs: Taylor, Murphy, Michel, Fahey, Carsley, Tainio, Redmond.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Cort, Caldwell, Fox, Cork, Alexander, Nugent, Steven Fletcher, Paterson, Elliott. Subs: Weaver, Duff, MacDonald, Rodriguez, Blake, Bikey, Thompson.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

1223: But wait! This game isn't quite dead... Burnley will be tip-toeing about avoiding any trouble as they target an improbable Europa League place next season. To put it simply: England are set to win one of the qualification places on offer to those countries who finish in the top three of Uefa's Fair Play rankings. That place will go to the best-placed team in the Premier League's Fair Play League who haven't already qualified for Europe. At the moment, that's Fulham - but if the Cottagers win the Europa League, next in is Burnley. With me?

1219: Every player would have to wear a different hat, just to clarify. Anyway, if you've got any other proposals for these dead rubbers, I'd welcome them. Let's be honest, I've got a couple of hours free...

1215: It's about time the Premier League started ensuring there are no dead games at the end of the season. For example, I propose that the losers of Birmingham-Burnley should be made to wear hats in their next game.

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 1 May 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 36 61 80
2 Man Utd 36 53 79
3 Arsenal 36 39 72
4 Tottenham 36 27 67
5 Man City 36 29 66
6 Aston Villa 37 14 64
7 Liverpool 36 28 62
8 Everton 37 10 58
9 Birmingham 37 -8 50
10 Sunderland 36 -6 44
11 Stoke 36 -11 44
12 Blackburn 36 -16 44
13 Fulham 35 -3 43
14 Bolton 37 -26 36
15 Wolves 37 -25 35
16 Wigan 36 -34 35
17 West Ham 36 -18 34
18 Hull 36 -41 28
19 Burnley 37 -42 27
20 Portsmouth 37 -31 19

see also
Saturday's football photos
01 May 10 |  Premier League
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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