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Saturday football as it happened

Latest scores/results: Premier League


By Sam Lyon

1955: And that's a wrap people. Fans of title race twists and turns, relegation ins and outs, goalless draws and lumpy heads will check out Match of the Day on BBC One and Online from 2220, followed by the Football League Show at 2345. Seriously, do it. After that, may I suggest you probably get some sleep and ready yourself for our Wonder Weekend part II tomorrow, which will feature Fulham v Blackpool and Man City v Sunderland as well as the JPT Trophy final at Wembley between Brentford and Carlisle. Join me, Sam Lyon, from around 1230 tomorrow and I'll reward you by banging on about football nonsense for a good six hours or so. Happy days right? Bye!

PJHamill on Twitter: "As a United fan it would be fair to say I haven't looked forward to a Match of the Day this much for a long time."

Josh, Bristol via text: "Re: 1930 I wouldn't engrave the trophy just yet my friend. United's seven-point lead looks strong until you consider their tricky FA Cup and ChampsLge draws, and their remaining games with Chelsea and of course Arsenal."

Les Roopanarine reports:
"Mathematics may suggest that Arsenal remain in the title race, but their laboured performance against a Blackburn side that played the final quarter of an hour with 10 men did not bear the hallmark of champions-in-waiting."

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"A point for Wigan helps their fight against the drop, but Spurs are now winless in four league matches and struggling to bag a top-four berth. Know what would help? Winning the Champions League. Roll on the Bernabeu."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty reports:
"Brilliant finish at The Hawthorns as Chris Brunt's late penalty gives Roy Hodgson's West Brom a vital victory against Liverpool. Luis Suarez twice almost equalised in injury time but Liverpool's frailties and lack of personnel at the back were exposed.

Owen Phillips reports:
"A stirring second-half secured Stoke a well-earned draw in a game full of chances and excitement but the result as good as ends Chelsea's title hopes."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"A massive win for Newcastle United who now look safe while Wolverhampton Wanderers face the fight of their lives - four potential six-pointers await them."

Julian Shea reports:
"Everton will feel justice was done after a late penalty earned them a draw having earlier seen Jermaine Beckford's shot against the bar judged not to have crossed the line. And Villa will feel chuffed with two goals for Darren Bent. All in all, lively."

Sean Chaney reports:
"A massive, massive win for Birmingham, it was tense and frantic towards the end but Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster definitely didn't deserve to be on the losing side."

1933: WEST HAM 2-4 MAN UTD
Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"How many other teams could have come back from 2-0 down like Man Utd in the Premier League? The Red Devils refuse to buckle when the pressure is on. Big win."

1930: What a day, then, for Manchester United. At half-time in their match at West Ham earlier they looked to have left the door wide open for a challenge to their title bid... six short hours later and they are even firmer favourites to regain the Premier League trophy. Arsenal and Chelsea are left to rue their inability to see off lower-league opposition, but it's a great day for a few teams near the bottom of the table - fans of Birmingham, Blackburn, West Brom and Wigan might just all enjoy a drink of the falling down water tonight I reckon. But what did our match reporters make of today's offerings...?

shandy0306 on Twitter: "RE 1313 - No, April 2nd - the day Manchester United won the title."

1926: FULL-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn

1925: Chance! Oh and he should do better... Robin van Persie rises to meet Nicklas Bendtner's cross but, unmarked eight yards out, heads it over. The Gunners' last chance?

1923: Oh that's a chance for Arsenal, too, Robin van Persie found in the Blackburn box but the Dutch striker using an arm to control the ball. Two minutes of stoppage time remaining...

1921: Off the line! Michel Salgado keeps Blackburn on level terms with a crucial goalline block to keep Nicklas Bendtner's header from a corner out of the Rovers goal. Cue more Arsenal frustration.

1920: I have to say, there are a fair few empty seats at the Emirates this afternoon. And right now, the atmosphere is quieter than a convent library.

1917: Arsenal free-kick, centre of goal, 25 yards out... blasted into the wall by Cesc Fabregas. Fast running out of ideas are Arsenal.

1914: Well into the last 10 minutes now, still Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn. That would mean two points dropped you'd think Arsenal could ill afford... Still, they are completely bossing things - the bods at ESPN reckon Arsenal have enjoyed 89% of possession in the last five minutes.

1911: Super defending! Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere show a couple of glimpses of magic inside the Blackburn box before the latter lays it to Marouane Chamakh, the Arsenal frontman's goalbound shot from 16 yard brilliantly blocked by Martin Olsson. Real body-on-the-line stuff, that.

1909: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger responds immediately, replacing Samir Nasri with big frontman Nicklas Bendtner.

Blackburn red card: Now - is this the shot in the arm Arsenal were hoping for? Steven N'Zonzi goes in on Laurent Koscielny with two feet and referee Phil Dowd brandishes the red card. It did look an ugly tackle, certainly.

1907: RED CARD, Steven N'Zonzi, Blackburn

FuadAhmed24 on Twitter: "Can someone tell Arsenal that to score you have got to shoot."

1904: Jack Wilshere will play on - unlike Theo Walcott, who is replaced by Marouane Chamakh as predicted.

1902: Worrying scenes for Arsenal and England fans Jack Wilshere screams in agony clutching his shoulder after a clumsy fall. He should be OK, though, after a minute or two's treatment. If Samir Nasri can play on with half a boiled egg on his head, Wilshere can play on with one arm I reckon.

1900: Nearing the last 20 minutes and it looks like Marouane Chamakh is going to come on for Arsenal in place of Theo Walcott.

1856: Back in London Arsenal are looking increasingly frustrated in their efforts to break this Blackburn side down - Robin van Persie the latest to be thwarted when Rovers keeper Paul Robinson gets down well to stop his low 18-yard effort.

1855: It's all over at the Bernabeu! Real Madrid 0-1 Sporting - Jose Mourinho's nine-year unbeaten home record ended three days before they welcome Tottenham to town in the Champions League quarter-final first leg. History.

1854: Rovers change now - Jason Roberts on for Roque Santa Cruz.

1852: Half-hearted penalty appeals from Blackburn as David Hoilett goes down under pressure from Bacary Sagna in the box - but Phil Dowd is having none of it. Would have been a harsh call, for me.

1850: Here's the change most of the Emirates wanted to see, Cesc Fabregas on in place of Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal. Can he mark his 299th Arsenal appearance with a match-winning performance?

1847: But that's a decent effort, Blackburn allowing Laurent Koscielny a completely free header from a corner only for the French defender's header to be plucked out of the evening sky by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson.

1845: Touch scrappy from both sides in the last few minutes at the Emirates.

neilcain on Twitter: "In other news... Real Madrid have just gone behind (0-1) to Sporting with 10 minutes to go. Jose Mourinho's nine-year unbeaten home league record to come to an end?"
A bit of a filip for Spurs fans, that would be too.

1840: There were no substitutions at half-time, by the way, meaning Samir "The New Terry Butcher" Nasri continues in midfield for Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, continues to sit on the bench twiddling his thumbs. Hhmm.

1837: For now, though, it's back to the Emirates where we're back under way, Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn.

1836: Plenty more reaction on our video streams above don't forget, people. Get involved.

henrybenryo on Twitter: "Can't believe I stopped revising for this. Arsenal get it together!"

1834: West Ham boss Avram Grant: "The league will be very tight but I think we can do it [stay up] because we have come into good shape at the right time. Against Manchester United, you want to take points but you do not count on winning against them. We still have good momentum."

1833: Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "We played like champions. It was a real championship performance as far as I'm concerned. I said to them at half-time, 'Look, goal difference doesn't matter now - you're getting something from this game'. 'The next goal wins the game'. This win will make an impact on the teams around us. Seven games left. You can count the games down one by one. It ends up you run out of games and hopefully we're there."Arsenal have games in hand and it could go to goal difference but I somehow don't think so."

1831: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "Off the ball that was one of the best performances we've put in because we had to stop Spurs from playing. The players were very clever tactically and if we'd taken one of the chances we had at the end we would have won. That game shows how far we've come this season."

1830: West Brom boss Roy Hodgson: "I am very satisfied with the team's performance, I thought we played very well throughout apart from the opening 10 minutes. To take a scalp like Liverpool when you are fighting at the bottom is a red-letter day." Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "Two penalties cost us the game but we have got to look at ourselves."

1828: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "It was a great day for us. There were some great performances in particular from Shola Ameobi and Joey Barton. Wolves did threaten in the second half and we had to see that period out. Seven points is a lot of points for teams in the relegation zone to make up on us. One win and couple of draws should be enough."

1827: What's that? You want some more manager reaction during the half-time break? Oh go on then...

dylanmccallion on Twitter: "I don't care if he catches everything for three months, I will always have my heart in my mouth when Almunia comes out for a ball."

1825: HALF-TIME Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn
Les Roopanarine's HT snap-shot:
"Samir Nasri may be the one with the bandaged head, but with Blackburn increasingly dangerous on the counter - and Manuel Almunia looking less than convincing in goal - the headache is a collective one for Arsenal, who may yet rue failing to make more of their initial dominance."

1820: Referee Phil Dowd draws a close to a hard-fought first half.

1819: Nice break from Alex Song there and Samir Nasri is almost the beneficiary, the Frenchman's snap-shot on the turn inside the box well blocked by Chris Samba.

1816: Close! A Paul Robinson punt from deep into the box catches Manuel Almunia in no-man's-land, the Arsenal keeper grateful to see Steven N'Zonzi's flick header drop inches wide. The Gunners keeper was absolutely nowhere again there and Blackburn were *this* close to an opener because of it.

1813: But Blackburn have created a couple of decent openings themselves this half and a fabulous Martin Olsson cross on the run from the left is crucially deflected out of Roque Santa Cruz's path by a desperate Arsenal defender's lunge. Great defensive work.

1811: Decent from Arsenal, Manuel Almunia's quick throw releasing Theo Walcott to burst at the Blackburn defence from a corner, the Gunners winger dancing round a couple of opposition players before slamming low and wide of Paul Robinson's upright.

1806: David Hoilett has looked far and away Blackburn's biggest threat today and he causes the odd flutter in the Arsenal defence once again with another driving run inside from the left, his final shot letting him down, though, as he slices it wide.

1803: Wowzers, what is it with these Arsenal keepers? Manuel Almunia gets severely lucky when he contrives to spill Martin Olsson's tame 20-yarder narrowly past his own post. Big sigh of relief.

1801: And that's even better for the Gunners - Jack Wilshere rightly hanging his head after missing a great chance. The youngster - unmarked, six yards out and in front of goal - fails to get Samir Nasri's fine slide-rule pass on target, instead skewing his attempted shot wide. Let-off for Rovers.

1759: That's half a decent effort, though, Andrey Arshavin forcing a smart reaction save from Rovers keeper Paul Robinson with a shot from the edge of the area.

1757: Samir Nasri is still stumbling about the pitch like a punchdrunk boxer out there - why on earth hasn't he been replaced by Cesc Fabregas yet? The poor fella's bandage continues to strain under the pressure of that lump on his foreheard busting to get out. He must be in a hell of a lot of pain. And, more to the point as far as this match is concerned, Arsenal have lost all impetus in the last few minutes.

1755: ...that Brett Emerton curls wastefully over Manuel Almunia's crossbar.

1754: And now Blackburn has a free-kick 22 yards out, centre of goal...

1753: Ah that's a waste, Blackburn on the charge for possibly the first time with David Hoilett to the fore, but his pass towards the driving run of Jermaine Jones is wayward and the break is ended.

1749: Those couple of stoppages have just interrupted Arsenal's rhythm a touch and Blackburn are just starting to look a little more comfortable now. Cesc Fabregas continues to warm up as Arsenal monitor Samir "Two Heads" Nasri's fitness.

1746: Blimey. Samir Nasri, sporting a bandage, is going to play on. I'm not sure I'd fancy playing on with half a corn-beef roll on my forehead. Martin Olsson is back on for Blackburn, meanwhile.

1744: And now Arsenal playmaker Samir Nasri is in the wars after clashing heads with Ryan Nelsen - not a fair fight in anyone's books - the Frenchman immediately swelling up horribly, a lump bigger than an egg sported across his head. Not nice.

1742: Oof. Martin Olsson goes in late on Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna but comes off worse after twisting awkwardly on his right knee. It does not look good, but he might just try and run it off...

1740: If Blackburn plan to spend the rest of their afternoon sitting deep and soaking up Arsenal pressure, the boys in red and white will tear them to pieces I'd say. We're less than 10 minutes in at the Emirates and Rovers already look like rabbits in the headlights...

1738: Theo Walcott goes close for the hosts this time after being found by Robin van Persie in the box, the winger's shot from the angle well kept out by Rovers keeper Paul Robinson at his near post.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish reveals Steven Gerrard, recovered from a groin op, was injured again in training yesterday: 'Same area but not the same thing'."

1735: Bright start to proceedings at the Emirates from the hosts with Arsenal immediately into their swift passing game, and it takes a fine block from Phil Jones 15 yards out to deny Alex Song and the Gunners an early advantage.

1731: We are up and running in the Arsenal-Blackburn match...

1729: The teams are out and about at the Emirates, with kick-off now moments away. Anything less than victory would surely be a right royal kick in the privates to Arsenal's title bid, no? With nothing else this season to distract them, they'll have no excuses... though with Blackburn arriving on the back of conceding 18 goals in their last four visits to the Gunners, excuses might not be needed come 1915.

1728: ARSENAL v BLACKBURN (1730)
Les Roopanarine reports:
"On a day when Manchester United moved eight points clear at the Premier League summit, the stakes could not be higher for Arsenal following their Carling Cup, FA Cup and Champions League disappointments. Failure to find a way past a Blackburn side with the worst away defensive record in the division would all but consign Arsene Wenger's team to a sixth consecutive season without silverware. The visitors last won in late January, and their hopes of moving away from a position just above the relegation zone are hardly bolstered by the return to the squad of Fabregas, Song, Diaby and Walcott for Arsenal."

dannypyoung on Twitter: "With Man Utd going eight points clear at the top, this is a big game for Arsenal. Time for the team to stand up and be counted!"

Football League Danny's hat-trick watch: "Well done to Ayegbeni Yakubu (Leicester), Grant Holt (Norwich), Steve Kabba (Barnet), Clayton Donaldson (Crewe), Joel Grant (Crewe) and Simeon Jackson (Norwich). All join Football League Danny's hat-trick club today - with Crewe and Norwich both having two members. Unusual. We'll give an honorary mention to Wayne Rooney too - apparently he plays for a club called 'Manchester United' in something called the 'Premier League', whatever that is."

1725: Birmingham boss Alex McLeish: "Kevin Phillips was fantastic today I can't praise him any higher. He did ask for more minutes on the pitch and I admit I did use him sparingly in the first half of the season, maybe that was the wrong decision. He is a genius in the box, he just drifts into space it's difficult to coach that, it's a gift. He is a natural scorer."

1723: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "It wasn't a great game, was it? We didn't play well enough to win, but it's hard to win away from home at this stage as a few results today proved. I'm very hopeful Gareth Bale will be fit for Real Madrid on Tuesday; less hopeful with William Gallas. But you never know. It's a massive week for us."

1720: Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti: "We did our best. It was a good result because Stoke had opportunities. They could have won, we could have won. It was exciting. We had a good reaction after we conceded a goal and a draw is right. The game was in balance. We have to continue to do our best. The gap (to Man Utd in the league) was not easy before this game and now it is more difficult... but we have to think game by game."

Football League Danny: "In League Two, Unstoppable Football Machine (UFM) Chesterfield won again, beating play-off wannabes Port Vale 2-0. But enough about them. What about Crewe? They smashed Cheltenham right-up, rocking the Robins with eight (count them) of your English League Two goals, and only one in reply. Congrats. Meanwhile all of the top six one, so plaudits to Wycombe, Shrewsbury, Bury, Stevenage, Torquay for keeping up the promotion push. And finally, nice one Martin Allen, his Barnet side beat Burton to keep alive their hopes of survival and leave the Brewers nervously looking over their shoulders..."

twittter_ye_not on Twitter: "Will 40 points be enough for Premier League survival this year?"

Football League Danny: "A slight stumble for Brighton, who were held 2-2 by play-off chasing Rochdale. The Seagulls are still 11 points clear at the top of League One mind, no need for panic stations yet. Massive win for Southampton, who trailed promotion rivals MK Dons 2-0 and fought back to win 3-2. Huddersfield won, and Peterborough and Bournemouth drew on Friday. At the bottom, big win for Bristol Rovers at local rivals Yeovil. Ten points in five matches for the Pirates who may yet avoid walking the plank into League Two..."

1716: ARSENAL v BLACKBURN (1730):
Les Roopanarine reports:
"Arsene Wenger makes two changes to the Arsenal side that clawed back a two-goal deficit to claim a point at the Hawthorns a fortnight ago. Alex Song and Theo Walcott both return in midfield, while Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas is named as a substitute. Blackburn boss Steve Kean makes one alteration to the line-up that drew 2-2 with Blackpool last time out. Phil Jones is preferred to Mame Diouf, who is named on the bench alongside the returning David Dunn."

Football League Danny: "Phew. I'll need to get my calculator out but I reckon today might be a record day for Football League Danny hat-tricks (also known as 'hat-tricks'. More of that soon - meanwhile, here's what happened in the Championship. Great day for Norwich. Thumped rock-bottom Scunthorpe 6-0, tricks for Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson. Canaries second. Cardiff walloped Derby 4-1, third. Swansea lost at Preston, 2-1 - resurgent Lillywhites? Leeds beat Forest 4-1 in a fiery early game. Forest out of the top six, replaced by Reading, who beat Pompey 2-0."

Sean__Butcher on Twitter: "At 1315 today the title race looked to be wide open... now at 1715 Arsenal are the only team left to keep it from closing!"

1711: ARSENAL v BLACKBURN (1730)
Almunia, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin, van Persie. Subs: Lehmann, Diaby, Fabregas, Rosicky, Eboue, Chamakh, Bendtner.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton, Jermaine Jones, Phil Jones, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Santa Cruz. Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Rochina, Mwaruwari, Roberts, Hanley, Diouf.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

1710: But now, of course, it's all about Arsenal v Blackburn. Manager reactions from all today's Premier League ties to come when I have them, but first the teams from the Emirates Stadium...

1708: You have to say it's turning into a decent day's work for the Manchester teams don't you? A win for United and Chelsea held strengthens the Reds' bid for the title, while City will have looked on with a smile as Tottenham failed to overcome bottom side Wigan. Dropped points for Arsenal later this evening and you won't be able to take the grin off Sir Alex Ferguson's face with a crowbar I'd wager. At the bottom, two potentially monumental wins for Birmingham and West Brom, whose manager Roy Hodgson might just have enjoyed that little touch of revenge, mean those two pull away from the relegation zone - but still it remains tighter than a fat man's waistband down there and it's still all very much to play for. LOVE IT.

Anon via text: "Three points in three games against the bottom three... fourth will be a miracle for Spurs this year."

JetYMengKeat on Twitter: "Epic matchday. There have been miracle comebacks, hat tricks, penalties and unpredictable results. All eyes on the Gunners now."

1658: FULL-TIME Newcastle 4-1 Wolves

1657: FULL-TIME Stoke 1-1 Chelsea

1657: FULL-TIME West Brom 2-1 Liverpool

1657: FULL-TIME Wigan 0-0 Tottenham

1656: FULL-TIME Birmingham 2-1 Bolton

1656: FULL-TIME Everton 2-2 Aston Villa

Newcastle goal: Game, set and match at St James' Park as Newcastle finally put Wolves to bed, Jonas Gutierrez cutting in from the left before sliding the ball past Wayne Hennessey.

1654: GOALFLASH Newcastle 4-1 Wolves (Gutierrez)

1653: Off the line! Nicky Shorey saves West Brom with a fine clearance to deny Luis Suarez at the death at the Hawthorns. Three points Baggies-bound?

1652: Deary me - Stoke so, so close to a winner against Chelsea, Ricardo Fuller beating Petr Cech to a cross but sending his header wide of the far post. Massive let-off for the Blues.

Football League Danny: "Crewe 8 (eight)-1 Cheltenham. Ouch. Joel Grant the second Crewe hat-trick completer."

1650: Stunning. If Birmingham stay up this year, this double save from Ben Foster might have gone a long way to securing it, the England keeper first denying Kevin Davies from point blank range and then producing an even better stop from the resulting corner to deny Gretar Steinsson. Brilliant.

1649: What a chance for Wigan sub Conor Sammon. The ball finds its way to the striker just inside the Spurs box, but he cannot get hold of his right-foot shot and Heurelho Gomes makes the save.

West Brom goal: Roy Hodgson's revenge? Pepe Reina, for once today, is the villain of the piece as he blatantly brings Peter Odemwingie down in the box and Chris Brunt unleashes a stonking penalty from the spot to pull West Brom ahead and give their battle against relegation a potential real shot in the arm.

1648: GOALFLASH West Brom 2-1 Liverpool (Brunt pen)


Football League Danny: "Massive. Preston 2-1 Swansea. Iain Hume with the goal. Vital for Preston, hammer blow for Swans."

1644: Jerome Thomas tries his luck for a West Brom winner but his curler from the left is well saved by Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.

Football League Danny: "Updates - Norwich 5-0 Scunthorpe. Canary rampage. Southampton 3-2 MK Dons. Crumbly Dons despair."

1643: It's end to end stuff at the DW Stadium now with both Wigan and Tottenham looking to pinch a potentially vital winner. Distinct lack of quality in attack from both sides there so far though.

Everton goal: The Toffees will consider that justice but I'm not sure there's a whole lot of contact between Jean Makoun and Phil Jagielka in the box when the latter goes over for a penalty. Referee Mike Jones gives it, though, and up steps Leighton Baines to equalise from the spot.

1641: GOALFLASH Everton 2-2 Aston Villa (Baines pen)


1639: The woodwork appears to be the star of the show at the Britannia Stadium, this time Didier Drogba - for the second time today - smashing a fierce drive on to the bar on the turn from a corner. Chelsea can surely not afford to not go on and win this one today.

Football League Danny: "Fans of 'lots of goals' will worship at the altar of Crewe and Norwich today. Plaudits to the Alex who now lead Cheltenham 7 (seven) -1. Norwich are 4-0 up on Scunthorpe. In League One, Charlton are 2-1 up on Leyton Orient, good comeback from the O's and struggling Bristol Rovers lead 1-0 at local rivals Yeovil - vital Pirate points?"

1636: How on earth did he miss that one? Leighton Baines' free-kick just outside the box for Everton is played to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, whose cross from the left is only scrambled clear by the Villa defence as far as Leon Osman, but he produces a quite dreadful half-volley way over the bar from close range. A gilt-edged chance for 2-2 thrown away there by Everton.

1634: A rare chance for off-colour Tottenham at the DW Stadium, Peter Crouch heading a looped ball into the box well off target. Might take something special from either side to win that one.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Hawthorns: "The Hawthorns is bouncing after Chris Brunt's deserved equaliser from the penalty spot - but still hope for Liverpool if they can get Luis Suarez more involved. Albion's defence do not relish him running at them in the area. Not many would."

1633: Wolves continue to bang away at the door of the Newcastle defence - admirable resolve from the visitors - but this time Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's goalbound header from a corner is headed off the line by Toon substitute James Perch.

Football League Danny: "Wow. Equaliser o'clock in League One. Rochdale 2-2 Brighton - that'll teach me for writing off those Spotland-ers. Southampton 2-2 MK Dons - Jonathan Forte nets two in two minutes for Saints. Utter, utter drama."

1631: Chelsea riding their luck in this second half and no mistake at the Britannia Stadium, Matthew Etherington this time going close with a header from Jermaine Pennant's cross. The Blues could honestly have been two or three down, instead they remain level.

Football League Danny: "Hat-trick for Grant Holt, Norwich 3-0 Scunthorpe. Easy for the Canaries. Hat-trick for Steven Kabba, Burton 1-3 Barnet. Barnet scrapping for their lives in the League Two drop zone, Burton are the team above them. Martin Allen, Barnet legend in the making...? While we're at it,. Hat-trick Clayton Donaldson, Crewe 6-1 Cheltenham."

Bolton goal: Bolton back in it and it's Johan Elmander with his first Premier League goal since Boxing Day, the Swede found by Kevin Davies's knock-down and lashing expertly home with a flying finish.

1629: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-1 Bolton (Elmander)

Aston Villa goal: What a minute. Everton think they have taken the lead when Jermaine Beckford's strike smacks off the underside of the crossbar and down - the hosts are convinced it's crossed the line but the officials wave play on. And straight from that incident, Darren Bent latches on to Ashley Young's flick to slide home to rub a bucket of salt into Everton's wounds.

1626: GOALFLASH Everton 1-2 Aston Villa (Bent)

1626: Unbelievable - twice in a minute, Stoke rattle the woodwork. First Marc Wilson's stunning long-ranger crashes off the crossbar with Petr Cech beaten - and then from a corner, Robert Huth's header is pushed up on to the bar by the Chelsea keeper. Somehow, it remains Stoke 1-1 Chelsea.

1624: I tell you what, Wolves are making a decent fist of this. Jamie O'Hara swings in a free-kick into the area and Wolves team-mate Steven Fletcher powers his header on to the foot of Steve Harper's right-hand upright. So close.

West Brom goal: Baggies back level as Sotirios Kyrgiakos is penalised for a trip on Peter Odemwingie in the box, Chris Brunt stepping up to send the spot-kick straight down the middle to make it 1-1. Deserved.

1622: GOALFLASH West Brom 1-1 Liverpool (Brunt pen)


Football League Danny: "Cardiff 3-0 Derby, Paul Quinn with the third. Currently looking like a good day for Norwich, Cardiff, Leeds and Reading at the top of the Championship, not so good for Swansea and just plain rubbish for Forest."

1619: Fernando Torres, two minutes shy of 500 minutes without a goal in a Chelsea shirt, comes on in place of Nicolas Anelka.

Wolves goal: Game on again at St James's Park? England new-boy Matt Jarvis's low ball is tucked in from eight yards, centre of goal, by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to reduce Wolves' deficit to two.

Birmingham goal: That's a fine strike - and one that could just help pull Birmingham mercifully away from the drop zone, Craig Gardner swapping passes with Cameron Jerome on the edge of the box and slamming home off the inside of the far post.

1618: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-1 Wolves (Ebanks-Blake)

1617: GOALFLASH Birmingham 2-0 Bolton (Gardner)

1616: Fernando Torres is going to come on for Chelsea, by the look of things...

Football League Danny: "League One, Southampton 0-2 MK Dons, Sam Baldock with the second. This could be an enormo-result for the Dons you know..."

1615: Another minute, another fingertip save, Heurelho Gomes saving brilliantly from Tom Cleverley's curler to keep Spurs on level terms at Wigan. Wigan have bossed things in this half so far - prompting the introduction of Peter Crouch for Spurs in place of Jermain Defoe.

1614: Another wonderful save - Jussi Jaaskelanin this time, on his 450th Premier League game for Bolton, throwing himself full length to his right to keep out Roger Johnson's firm volley.

1613: And so close to 2-1 Villa - Kyle Walker seems slightly surprised to find himself in such a threatening position and volleys over from close range after Ashley Young's free-kick from the left found its way to him in the centre of the goalmouth.

Football League Danny: "Take Yak - Aiyegbeni Yakubu completes a hat-trick for Leicester who lead 3-1 at Middlesbrough. Elsewhere, Cardiff are now 2-0 up on Derby thanks to Dekel Keinan, and Brighton now lead Rochdale 2-1 thanks to Gary Dicker. The Seagulls are eding ever-closer to promotion, it would seem."

Newcastle goal: Newcastle cruising. Fabricio Coloccini finds Joey Barton on the right and the midfielder plays a low cross into the feet of Peter Lovenkrands, who tucks in from eight yards.

Liverpool goal: Advantage Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish at the Hawthorns as Martin Skrtel rises purposefully to meet a corner and direct a bullet header into the roof of the net.

1610: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-0 Wolves (Lovenkrands)

1610: GOALFLASH West Brom 0-1 Liverpool (Skrtel)

1610: A massive let off for Bolton, once again Birmingham come firing out of the traps. Seb Larsson crossed for Kevin Phillips who fired in a shot which was pushed wide by Jussi Jaaskelainen, Lee Bowyer headed across the box and Larsson fired home, but the Swede had strayed offside and the goal is ruled out.

1609: Newcastle's Shola Ameobi robs the ball from Christophe Berra on the left of the area and plays it back to Joey Barton, but his shot is saved point blank by Wayne Hennessey. Seconds later Newcastle's Peter Lovenkrands hits the keeper's right-hand post with a shot from a tight angle.

1608: So close to a Chelsea second at the Britannia Stadium, Didier Drogba running on to a pass and clipping a shot past Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic - but not the outside of the far post. Minutes before Jermaine Pennant had forced a fine stop from Peter Cech following fine play from Matthew Etherington.

1607: West Brom almost take the lead moments after the restart but Pepe Reina denies Simon Cox after the Baggies striker collects a deft ball over the top before shooting at goal.

1606: Decent opening for Wigan super early in the second half, Charles N'Zogbia stealing the ball from Benoit Assou-Ekotto down the right, cutting into the box and pinging in a left-foot shot that Heurelho Gomes gets down well to save.

Aston Villa goal: A fine way to mark your 200th Premier League appearance - and the perfect start to the second half for Aston Villa - as Darren Bent drills an excellent finish first time into the roof of the Everton net from Stewart Downing's cross to get Villa back on level terms.

1605: GOALFLASH Everton 1-1 Aston Villa (Bent)

1603: Everton-Aston Villa are the first to restart at a gloriously sunny Goodison Park, followed swiftly by Birmingham-Bolton...

1558: HALF-TIME Stoke 1-1 Chelsea
Owen Phillips's HT snap-shot:
"Stoke rattled Chelsea with a stunning breakaway opener but the Blues have been on top since and grabbed a wonderful equaliser through Didier Drogba. Still need a second, though, Carlo Ancelotti's side. At least."

1557: HALF-TIME Everton 1-0 Aston Villa
Julian Shea's HT snap-shot:
"A strange half - Everton quickest out of the blocks without doing too much with their possession, then Villa gained the upper hand but again without creating too many real chances. Against the run of play, Leon Osman slid one home - but this game is there for the taking if either side actually has the confidence to do something about it. "

1555: HALF-TIME Wigan 0-0 Tottenham
Jonathan Stevenson's HT snap-shot:
""Spurs, all too predictable, are badly missing the speedy outlets of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. Wigan look comfortable - but let's face it, a draw's no good to either.""

1554: HALF-TIME Birmingham 1-0 Bolton
Sean Chaney's HT snap-shot:
"Birmingham came out all guns blazing, but they ran out of ammunition after five minutes. Great start from the Blues, but Bolton coming right back into it..."

1552: HALF-TIME Newcastle 2-0 Wolves
Saj Chowdhury's HT snap-shot:
"Newcastle deserve their lead - they have dominated possession and have looked dangerous each time they have broken forward. Wolves need a Newcastle-style comeback."

1550: HALF-TIME West Brom 0-0 Liverpool
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"West Brom had the better of the first 45 minutes in which those injuries to Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger disrupted Liverpool. Liverpool must provide better service to Luis Suarez - and tell Andy Carroll to ignore the attentions of the Baggies defenders and The Hawthorns crowd with more success after the break."

1548: And that's half-time in all your 1500 Premier League matches...

Newcastle goal: He's having a good day is Shola Ameobi and having set up the first he grabs Newcastle's second, attacking Peter Lovenkrands's cross and thumping a header home.

1546: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-0 Wolves (Ameobi)

1544: A good day takes a slight turn for the worse for Kevin Nolan as the Newcastle goalscorer picks up a booking that rules him out of the next two games against Aston Villa and Man Utd.

1542: We've seen a few good saves today and there's another there, Birmingham keeper Ben Foster getting down brilliantly to tip Daniel Sturridge's firm half-volley from the angle around the post and preserve the hosts' 1-0 lead.

Football League Danny: "Big League One goal. MK Dons lead 1-0 at Southampton thanks to Gary MacKenzie. In the Championship, Portsmouth are down to 10 men at Reading after Ricardo Rocha's red card for a professional foul on Shane Long. Long gets up, nets the penalty and it's 2-0 to the Royals. Just to finish, a big Football League Danny shout out to the Crewe crew - 4-0 up on Cheltenham after but 37 minutes."

Everton goal: The pressure on Gerard Houllier grows ever more heavy as Everton break the deadlock, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov dispossessing Kyle Walker and releasing Leon Osman who charges at goal and finishes well from inside the box. The Villa fans are not happy.

1538: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Aston Villa (Osman)

Peter Shuttleworth at Deepdale: "Ashley Williams nods in from close range to level for Swansea and prompt chants of "we are going up" from Deepdale's away end."

1536: Almost advantage West Brom at the Hawthorns as Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel inadvertently flicks Jerome Thomas's cross goalwards, Pepe Reina coming to his rescue with a flying save. West Brom impressing today, for sure.

Football League Danny: "Game over at Norwich? Paul Reid is sent off for Scunthorpe for a professional foul on Grant Holt, who picks himself up and slots home the penalty for his second goal and a 2-0 lead for the Canaries."

1535: A rare clear chance at Goodison Park - Everton keeper Tim Howard flaps at a clearance and Tony Hibbert has to throw himsef in front of Nigel Reo-Coker's follow-up shot as Villa go close to opening the scoring. Despite the absence of chances it's an open and entertaining game. The pace of Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young is a constant threat for Villa, and in the absence of creative midfielders Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini Everton are relying on the long ball to create most of their pressure.

Chelsea goal: Carlo Ancelotti's selection vindicated as his preferred front pairing combine to draw Chelsea level, Nicolas Anelka's cross headed home brilliantly on the dive by Didier Drogba. Fernando Torres, on the bench, offers a smile and applause.

1533: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-1 Chelsea (Drogba)

1532: In the Co-Operative Insurance Cup final between Portadown and Lisburn Distillery, meanwhile - which you'll all be watching at the top of this page, I know - it is currently 1-0 to Portadown, the second half getting under way as I type...

Football League Danny: "He Wood, wouldn't he? Chris Wood that is, who - as exclusively hinted at by Football League Danny at 1526 - has levelled for Brighton who are 1-1 at Rochdale. Coventry, meanwhile, lead Watford 1-0 and Reading are beating Portsmouth 1-0."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Hawthorns: "West Bromwich Albion appear to have set out to get under the skin of Liverpool's £35m striker Andy Carroll - and if this was their aim it is being done with some success. He has already been booked and had a second warning from referee Martin Atkinson. Just about the only item of interest from The Hawthorns."

1530: RE: The Newcastle goal - it was of course Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal, not Jussi Jaaskelainen. I was just checking you were all with me. Obviously.

1529: Lee Bowyer blazes over for Birmingham, the midfielder getting his body shape all wrong and firing his attempted half volley well over the top from just outside the left hand corner of the six yard box.

Football League Danny: "Ipswich wonderkid Connor Wickham puts the Tractor Boys 2-0 up at Burnley. Bit of a blow to the Clarets' play-off hopes there. Meantime, Swansea have levelled and are 1-1 with Preston."

1527: But now Wigan come forward and Victor Moses fires just over the Tottenham bar with a firm effort from just inside the area. Livening up a touch now at the DW Stadium... finally.

1526: Much better from Spurs at Wigan. Roman Pavlyuchenko thinks he should have a penalty when he goes down under a challenge by James McCarthy, but it was outside the box and wasn't a foul anyway. Moments later, Jermaine Jenas's stinging drive is parried away by Ali Al-Habsi.

Football League Danny: "Where there's a Will, there's an, er, upset? Will Atkinson puts Rochdale 1-0 up on Brighton. Long way to go, mind, so that one's far from over, and the Seagulls do have a bit of a buffer at the top of the League One table..."

Newcastle goal: It's his 12th goal of the season and Newcastle's top-scorer Kevin Nolan nudges the hosts ahead with a simple finish, his gamble that he could get on the end of a Shola Ameobi flick-on paying off with a goal from 12 yards out, the onrushing Wayne Hennessey given no chance.

1524: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-0 Wolves (Nolan)

1523: And another fine save at the Britannia Stadium as Asmir Begovic does well to keep out Frank Lampard's fantastic guided volley from 25 yards out. Chelsea building a head of steam there.

1522: Decent stop from Pepe Reina at the Hawthorns as the Spaniard gets down to save Chris Brunt's fierce low free-kick.

1520: A lucky escape for Everton now - Ashley Young's pass finding Luke Young clear on the left and his cross flashes across the goalmouth, with Everton counting their blessings that no-one manages to apply the vital touch.

1518: At St James's Park, Joey Barton's free-kick from the right is met by the head of Newcastle team-mate Kevin Nolan, but his powerful effort is directed straight into the hands of Wayne Hennessey.

1516: Chelsea have settled OK since falling a goal behind at the Britannia Stadium - and minutes after Asmir Begovic does well to save Ashley Cole's diving header from 12 yards out, Florent Malouda flashes a volley from just outside the area narrowly wide.

Football League Danny: "Grant Holt has put Norwich 1-0 up on lowly Scunthorpe. No surprise perhaps, but looking good for the Canaries who will stay second and close the gap on QPR to six points with a win."

1514: Over at the DW Stadium it's been a very quiet start, with the hosts probably just edging the opening stages and Spurs struggling to get into their stride. Charles N'Zogbia's ambitious effort wide from 25 yards is the closest either side have come.

1512: So close to an opener for Everton against Aston Villa - Kyle Walker's back header towards keeper Brad Friedel is nowhere near strong enough and goes straight into the path of Jermaine Beckford, whose shot is pushed behind by the keeper. Everton are hugely on top so far. None of the hosts' substitutes, by the way, have ever featured in a Premier League game before. Fresh-faced.

Peter Shuttleworth at Deepdale: "Preston North End top-scorer Iain Hume smashes home the spot-kick for his fourth goal in as many games to cries from the Deepdale crowd of 'we are staying up'."

Football League Danny: "Big South Wales-themed penalty kicks. And it's mixed fortunes - Preston lead Swansea 1-0 thanks to Iain Hume's spot-kick and Cardiff lead Derby 1-0 thanks to Jay Bothroyd's similar strike."

Stoke goal: Cat. Pigeons. Party-time. Stoke have started positively here and they are rewarded when Jon Walters gets the better of David Luiz near the half-way line before charging at goal and turning inside Michael Essien in the box, driving a fine strike past the helpless Petr Cech in the visitors' goal.

1508: GOALFLASH Stoke 1-0 Chelsea (Walters)

1506: Close at St James' Park, Newcastle defender Mike Williamson throwing himself at Joey Barton's long ball into the box and sending a diving header at goal that Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey does well to scramble around the post.

Birmingham goal: Evergreen. Veteran Kevin Phillips, just four minutes into his first Premier League start of the season, lashes Birmingham in front from 16 yards when Sebastian Larsson's corner finds its way to him at the far end of the box.

1504: GOALFLASH Birmingham 1-0 Bolton (Phillips)

1503: Early warning shot for Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium as Robert Huth rises to meet a corner six yards out and gets his head on it, only to direct his header over.

1502: Great early chance for Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, the Dutchman found deep inside the Baggies box within the first minute, but he volleys over from all of a couple of yards out. Big let off for the hosts.

1501: And now at Newcastle. Full house.

1501: Under way at Wigan, Birmingham, West Brom, Everton and Stoke...

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Hawthorns: "Banner in Liverpool end. "Thanks For The Grey Hair Roy". Kenny Dalglish, meanwhile, walks to the Albion dug-out for the handshake. It looks very warm. All in front of huge battery of photographers."

1458: And, in the wildly optimistic hope that I'll have time to dip in and use a few of your comments during the madness that is 1500-1700 on a Saturday afternoon, may I remind you that you can Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text me via 81111 (UK). Aces.

Football League Danny: "In amongst the mayhem, don't forget that Millwall have won 1-0 at Hull thanks to Steve Morison's first-half goal. For the time being, Millwall up to eighth, Hull are 11th."

BBC Sport's Pete Shuttleworth at Deepdale: "Preston North End hand a debut to South African defender Bongani Khumalo, in for the injured Sean St Ledger, as the Championship's bottom club look for their third successive win against Swansea City. Phil Brown's men are eight points from safety while the third-placed Swans could go second with victory at Deepdale and if Norwich are held by Scunthorpe. Angel Rangel drops to the bench as the full-back has a stomach bug so Alan Tate moves to right-back and captain Garry Monk returns to the starting line-up after almost three months out."

1455: And as an added bonus from the Championship...

Julian Shea reports:
"Everton make three changes to the side who won 2-1 at home to Fulham last time out - Jermaine Beckford replaces Louis Saha who has had ankle surgery, Johnny Heitinga is in for Tim Cahill (foot) and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov comes in for ankle injury Jack Rodwell. Aston Villa welcome back defenders Richard Dunne and James Collins in place of Carlos Cuellar and Nathan Baker, Gabby Agbonlahor replaces Marc Albrighton and Luke Young comes in for Chris Herd."

Sean Chaney reports:
"Bolton boss Owen Coyle has problems in midfield with Mark Davies struggling with an ankle injury and Stuart Holden ruled out for the rest of the season after damaging cruciate knee ligaments against Manchester United, so Tamir Cohen joins Fabrice Muamba in the centre of the park. Birmingham's eight-goal top scorer Nikola Zigic is on the bench after recovering from a groin injury as Blues boss Alex McLeish pairs veteran striker Kevin Phillips with Cameron Jerome up front. Lee Bowyer is back to full fitness following his hamstring problems and starts."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Hawthorns:
"West Brom manager Roy Hodgson makes only one change from the team that drew 2-2 with Arsenal at The Hawthorns, with Simon Cox coming in for the injured James Morrison. Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish understandably retains the side that won 2-0 at Sunderland, pairing Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll up front, after it was decided Steven Gerrard was not fit enough to return after a groin operation."

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"The Premier League's bottom team Wigan make just one change for the visit of Spurs, with fit-again striker Hugo Rodallega replacing Franco di Santo in the starting line-up. Tottenham, three days before facing Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, bring back defender Sebastien Bassong, midfielder Jermaine Jenas and striker Roman Pavlyuchenko. Tom Huddlestone is on the bench - his first involvement with the first-team since November."

Owen Phillips reports:
"Stoke field the same side that thumped Newcastle 4-0 in their last league outing, meaning Jonathan Walters partners Kenwyne Jones up front and Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington continue on the wings. Chelsea drop Fernando Torres and Salomon Kalou to the bench with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka starting while the more attack-minded Jose Bosingwa is preferred to Branislav Ivanovic at right-back."

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"So Newcastle teenager Shane Ferguson is handed his full Premier League debut, coming in at left-back for Jose Enrique. Danny Guthrie replaces the suspended Cheik Tiote in central midfield. Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake comes in for injury victim Kevin Doyle."

1447: Not a bad way to kick off the day, then, huh? Two matches, 11 goals... live up to that 1500 kick-offs will ya? Jubbly.

Football League Danny: "Play-off hopefuls Rochdale are the latest side to test their luck against rampant League One leaders Brighton - who will be just two wins away from Championship football if they triumph at Spotland. There's a classic play-off / automatic promotion tear up at St Mary's where Southampton (fourth) host MK Dons (fifth). At the bottom, Swindon, Bristol Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge all face key relegation tussles. Big day. I'm scared."

yasserkhaled on Twitter: "Man Utd have a unique winning mentality you will never find anywhere in the world. So proud to be a Red Devil. Well done lads."

Football League Danny: "League Two leaders and Unstoppable Football Machine (UFM) Chesterfield host promotion hopefuls Port Vale with their 11-point lead at the top looking pretty solid. With just eight points between Wycombe (second) and Oxford (11th) at least eight of today's other matches could be classed as promotion battles. Another key day. Frightened = me."

1443: FULL-TIME Leeds 4-1 Nottm Forest

1442: That result takes Man Utd eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table - temporarily at least - and lays a massive marker down for Chelsea and Arsenal to live up to in their matches later this afternoon. Where's ya money folks?

1440: FULL-TIME West Ham 2-4 Man Utd

1439: All the fight has been drawn out of West Ham, who will drop back into the bottom three on goal difference thanks to this result. Harsh after their splendid first half performance.

Leeds goal: Four-star for Leeds, Forest left to well and truly rue that controversial first-half sending off. Lee Camp does well to deny Jake Livermore's curler and Luciano Becchio's follow-up toe-poke, but can do nothing when Max Gradel sweeps in to fire home the second rebound. Leeds heading for fourth.

1437: GOALFLASH Leeds 4-1 Nottm Forest (Gradel)

1436: We'll have four minutes of added time at Upton Park. Man Utd playing a spot of keep-ball, this win all wrapped up.

Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Neville, Heitinga, Osman, Bilyaletdinov, Beckford. Subs: Mucha, Gueye, Vellios, Mustafi, McAleny, Forshaw, Nsiala.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Walker, Dunne, Collins, Luke Young, Downing, Makoun, Reo-Coker, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Bent. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Albrighton, Delph, Heskey, Petrov, Cuellar.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

1434: Nathan Tyson has just gone within inches of pulling a second goal back for Nottingham Forest at Elland Road, his left-foot strike from 12 yards flying just wide. Looks like the points are Leeds-bound, though, with just over five minutes of normal time remaining.

Foster, Carr, Parnaby, Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Gardner, Bowyer, Phillips, Jerome. Subs: Doyle, Bentley, Fahey, Zigic, Beausejour, Mutch, Davies.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Wheater, Alonso, Cohen, Muamba, Petrov, Elmander, Kevin Davies, Sturridge. Subs: Bogdan, Robinson, Taylor, Klasnic, Moreno, Blake, Lee.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Harper, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Ferguson, Barton, Guthrie, Nolan, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Lovenkrands. Subs: Krul, Campbell, Perch, Steven Taylor, Ranger, Tavernier, Kuqi.
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Hammill, Henry, O'Hara, Milijas, Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake. Subs: Hahnemann, Craddock, Kightly, Fletcher, Ward, David Jones, Mancienne.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Man Utd goal: Man Utd all of a sudden are in cruise control and as Javier Hernandez slides home from close range when Ryan Giggs's cross somehow finds its way through two West Ham defenders, the exasperated sighs bursting out of Man Utd's title rivals are almost audible.

1429: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-4 Man Utd (Hernandez)

Julian Shea reports:
"Eighth-placed Everton's recent run of three wins in four games has seemingly dispelled any vague fears David Moyes' side may have had about relegation. So they have reason to look forward to the visit of an Aston Villa side who have only managed one away win in their last 12 league matches, managed by ex-Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier. His return to the city where he used to manage does not come at the best of times for Houllier. Fan protests and rumours of player unrest have coincided with a run of just one win in their last six Premier League games which has seen Villa slide towards the danger zone. But Darren Bent is always a good source of goals, and against a side with a record of just one clean sheet in their last 13 league games, he is likely to have some chances to add to his 14 for the season. And stattos may like to know this is the most-played fixture in the English top flight."

West Brom:
Carson, Reid, Meite, Olsson, Shorey, Scharner, Mulumbu, Brunt, Cox, Thomas, Odemwingie. Subs: Myhill, Cech, Pablo, Vela, Zuiverloon, Fortune, Jara.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Kuyt, Spearing, Lucas, Meireles, Carroll, Suarez. Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Wilson, Ngog, Poulsen.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

Leeds goal: Game over? Max Gradel restores Leeds' two-goal advantage with a precise and crisp strike from 18 yards that flies past Lee Camp and nestles in the bottom corner.

1425: GOALFLASH Leeds 3-1 Nottm Forest (Gradel)

Man Utd goal: Hat-trick for Wayne Rooney, Man Utd back from the dead, and Sir Alex Ferguson's title charge is right back on track. It's never a penalty - Matthew Upson penalised for handball in the box despite it looking a clear case of ball-to-hand, but Rooney cares not, sliding home Man Utd's third and potential winner.

1424: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-3 Man Utd (Rooney, hat-trick)


Chief football writer Phil McNulty at the Hawthorns:
"Roy Hodgson insists revenge is not on his agenda as his new West Brom side face Liverpool, the club that sacked him in January after a brief and unsuccessful Anfield reign. He will hope to build on his promising start at The Hawthorns while successor Kenny Dalglish - the Anfield icon who was The Kop's preferred choice ahead of Hodgson - has his sights on European qualification after Liverpool's recent resurgence."

1421: It's all Man Utd at Upton Park - and Dimitar Berbatov strikes a powerful long-range shot which is fended away brilliantly by Hammers keeper Robert Green .

Al Habsi, Boyce, Gary Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Watson, McCarthy, N'Zogbia, Cleverley, Moses, Rodallega. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Di Santo, Gomez, Sammon, Diame, Stam.
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Sandro, Jenas, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Lennon, Crouch, Kranjcar, Rose, Pienaar.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

Man Utd goal: Total turnaround - and Wayne Rooney has stamped his class all over this match in this second half. The frontman shows his sublime touch and finish again, collecting Antonio Valencia's pass on the run with one touch and then sending a low finish into the far corner from the edge of the area with the other to leave Rob Green no chance. Just over 15 minutes remaining...

1418: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-2 Man Utd (Rooney)

Nottm Forest goal: Forest more than just hanging in there now - and Garath McCleary is the man to have hauled the 10 men in red back into the game, curling a splendid strike into the top far corner after cutting in from the right. Excellent goal.

1415: GOALFLASH Leeds 2-1 Nottm Forest (McCleary)

Begovic, Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Nash, Collins, Fuller, Pugh, Diao, Whitehead, Wilkinson.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Torres, Mikel, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Kalou.
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

Sean Chaney reports:
"With an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley to look forward to Bolton's cup is still very much half full, but Birmingham must be wondering if they have emptied theirs too quickly. The Blues have not won since beating Arsenal at Wembley to lift the Carling Cup back in February, and have slipped down to second bottom in the Premier League table. To rub salt into the wounds Bolton knocked Birmingham out of the FA Cup at in the last match played at St Andrew's, and the Trotters will be hoping for a repeat of that 3-2 quarter-final win. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has called on his side to show some "bottle" in today's game, knowing that a win could potentially propel them six place up the Premier League table."

1412: So nearly 3-0 and game over at Elland Road, Robert Snodgrass cutting in from the right and curling left-footed over Lee Camp in the Forest goal and against the crossbar. Forest just about hanging in there.

Man Utd goal: It's been coming - and we have a real bum-clencher on our hands at Upton Park now. Wayne Rooney is United's firestarter, the England frontman bending a beauty of a free-kick around the West Ham wall and into the Hammers goal. Fine strike.

1410: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-1 Man Utd (Rooney)

Leeds goal: It's goal number 18 for the season for him but few will be more precious than this potentially, Luciano Becchio on hand to nod home after Leigh Bromby's header from a corner comes back off the post. Huge goal for Leeds.

1409: GOALFLASH Leeds 2-0 Nottm Forest (Becchio)

1409: Just over an hour gone at Upton Park and West Ham are just about hanging on to their two-goal lead still. Man Utd looking increasingly purposeful going forward, mind... and it looks like Dimitar Berbatov is about to come on, too...

Owen Phillips reports:
"A concertinaed Premier League means Stoke in 10th are only five points off the drop zone and so, despite another impressive season, cannot afford to start dreamily drifting attention to their FA Cup Wembley semi-final date. And with Chelsea's title hopes having recovered from faded to 'you never know' via long shot and slim, the champions will be fully focused. The Blues still face leaders Manchester United - who also have to play Arsenal. But if Chelsea fail to win here then surely the title is beyond them."

1406: Change for Nottingham Forest at Elland Road, Nathan Tyson on for Kris Boyd. Fresh legs needed by the visitors now, for sure.

Jonathan Stevenson reports:
"Three days before their mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Tottenham travel to the slightly less salubrious surrounds of the DW Stadium to take on a Wigan side rock-bottom of the division. Wigan have only two more home games this season after today so points are imperative, while Spurs can ill-afford to drop too many themselves as the race for fourth - and a place among Europe's elite for another season - hots up. Tantalising."

Leeds goal: Breakthrough. Robert Snodgrass breaks down the right and crosses for Jonathan Howson to control and clip past Forest keeper Lee Camp from all of six yards. Harsh, that, on Forest, who have their work cut out with 10 men now.

1402: GOALFLASH Leeds 1-0 Nottm Forest (Howson)

Saj Chowdhury reports:
"This week, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley announced that he expects the club to be regularly challenging for a European spot although manager Alan Pardew's main concern was keeping his side up this season. This is a home match but many Magpies fans are aware of the statistic that their side has not won a Saturday 3pm Premier League home league fixture since August 2008. Wolves will be buoyed by that, although they themselves have not won a top-flight game at St James' since 7 February 1959. However, the visitors go into the match with just one defeat in six - today could be their lucky day."

1359: Now then, with our 1500 kick-offs getting under way in just over an hour, it's time to start hearing from our reporters I say...

Sam via text: "On train to meal in Notts where parents are meeting gf's parents. Missing Leeds-Forest, Cricket World Cup Final AND Adam Ant gig. Flippin' family!"

1356: Back under way at Elland Road, Leeds 0-0 Nottm Forest.

1354: Tight-rope walking from Nemanja Vidic - not literally, obviously - as he clips the heels of Demba Ba but avoids a second yellow card and an early bath. got to be careful the big Man Utd defender.

1351: And there is Ryan Giggs straight into action, overlapping on the left and crossing for Javier Hernandez to nudge over the bar having beaten his marker to the ball. Early warning shot for the Hammers.

1350: We're back up and running, West Ham 2-0 Man Utd.

1349: Yep, Javier Hernandez is on in place of Patrice Evra at Upton Park. Ryan Giggs, believe it or now, looks like he is starting the second half at left-back...

1347: Sounds like Javier Hernandez is coming on for Man Utd... Patrice Evra the potential sacrifice...

Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "This is the first time Manchester United have ever given away two penalties in the same Premier League match. However, hope for Manchester United - they are one of two Premier League clubs to win a match this season after falling 2-0 down - they won 3-2 at Blackpool on January 25. The only other one was Tottenham's 3-2 victory at Arsenal on November 20."

Football League Danny: "Quick point of interest - in today's 1300 BST kick-off in the Championship, Millwall lead 1-0 at Hull thanks to Steve Morison. Approaching half-time there."

MidjetJames on Twitter: "The hairdryer is well and truly coming out at Upton Park..."

1342: HALF-TIME Leeds United 0-0 Nottingham Forest
Paul Fletcher's HT snap-shot:
"Forest have undoubtedly been the better team but are down to 10 men and, having failed to score, could be in for a long second half."

1340: The whistle brings an end to a furious first half at Elland Road.

1338: Down to 10 men but still Forest push forward - Lewis McGugan forcing a save from Leeds keeper Kasper Schmeichel with a drilled free-kick from wide of the box.

1337: The tackles are still flying in at Elland Road - from both sides - and there's no little intent from both sides either. Fiery.

1335: HALF-TIME West Ham 2-0 Man Utd
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snapshot:
"West Ham are taking advantage of a shaky Man Utd defence. Two penalty goals and United fortunate Nemanja Vidic was not red carded. United have come back from similar situations this season but can they do it again? Their title hopes might just demand they do."

1333: The half-time whistle blows at Upton Park.

1330: And we could have had a red card at Upton Park too - Manchester United defender Nemaja Vidic hauling down striker Demba Ba with the Hammers striker set for a clear run at goal. It was potentially a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but referee Lee Mason pulls out a yellow. Thomas Hitzlsperger then sends a curling free-kick narrowly wide. Drama drama drama.

Nottm Forest red card: That's harsh, for me, harsh. Chris Cohen goes in on George McCartney, sending the Leeds sprawling, but the Forest midfielder - going in with just one foot - looks to have got the ball. Still, Mark Halsey, after calming a potential spat between the sides with a furious Leeds boss Simon Grayson yelling expletives from the sidelines, brandishes the red card after consulting his linesman. Forest had been bossing things to that point, what now for them?

1327: RED CARD, Chris Cohen, Nottingham Forest

1325: Huge chance for Nottingham Forest - Radoslaw Majewski crossing on the back of a solo run and Marcus Tudgay's low shot is blocked on the line by a Leeds player. The ball falls to Kris Boyd six yards out and his effort, too, is blocked. Big let-off for Leeds...

1323: Almost 3-0 at Upton Park - Gary O'Neil flighting a far post cross into the run of the unmarked Thomas Hitzlsperger, who goes for the eye-catching first-time half-volley but slices wide.

1321: Enforced substitution at Elland Road, Nottingham Forest's Garath McCleary on for Paul Anderson who limps off with what looks like a rib injury.

1319: First booking of the afternoon at Upton Park, Darron Gibson shown the yellow card for a petulant kick out at Hammers midfielder Mark Noble. Until that point I'd forgotten Gibson was even playing to be fair.

1317: Super save! Man Utd's Park Ji-Sung is picked out in the box by Wayne Rooney and he lashes a fierce effort at goal from 16 yards out that Rob Green somehow turns around the post with an instinctive one-handed stop.

1315: Couple of chances at Elland Road to catch up on - Forest go close to an opening goal through Radoslaw Majewski, whose 20-yard strike takes a deflection that leaves Kasper Schmeichel stranded but flies narrowly wide of goal. The visiting side then threaten through Joel Lynch, whose sends in a teasing cross that Marcus Tudgay cannot quite reach. Still livelier than a tramp's vest that Championship clash.

1313: Now then... 2 April 2011... the day the Premier League title race swung the way of Arsenal?

West Ham goal: It's a definite foul - but was it inside or outside the box? Nemanja Vidic fells a dribbling Carlton Cole right on the line of the 18-yard box and referee Lee Mason points immediately to the spot to award West Ham a second penalty - a penalty Mark Noble crashes emphatically into the opposite top corner to his first. Unbelievable.

1310: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-0 Man Utd (Noble pen)


1307: Another handball in the Man Utd box at Upton Park... but this time it's Demba Ba, the Hammers striker failing to control and using his arm to end a promising West Ham break.

1306: Save at Elland Road, Lee Camp doing well to deal with Barry Bannan's dipping shot from range despite it bouncing awkwardly just in front of him. How good has Lee Camp been this season by the way? Cracking.

1304: Despite going a goal down, Man Utd continue to boss things at Upton Park - and only some good defensive work from Manuel da Costa denies first Park Ji-Sung and then Ryan Giggs from Wayne Rooney's excellent whipped cross into the six-yard area.

1302: Fast, furious, frenetic, feisty... it's about the 'f's at Elland Road. Pretty even Stevens so far, though Leeds possibly looking a touch more dangerous going forward than the boys in red at present.

sophiegayter on Twitter: "What's Evra thinking putting his hands up back there?? Clearly he's trying to put his name in the hat to replace Van Der Sar..."

1259: It really was a dozy moment from Patrice Evra, that, just as Carlton Cole looked to have wasted a good opening from Thomas Hitzlsperger's fine ball over the top. How big a goal might that be, though? At both ends of the table?

West Ham goal: It's been all Man Utd in the first 10 minutes... but it's West Ham who lead, Mark Noble converting from the spot following Patrice Evra's needless - and obvious - handball from Carlton Cole's attempted flick in the box.

1257: GOALFLASH West Ham 1-0 Man Utd (Noble pen)


1254: Early chance for Leeds as Bradley Johnson strides on to Max Gradel's lay-off into the area, only for the onrushing Lee Camp to save at the midfielder's feet 12 yards out. Play is pulled back for an earlier foul on Gradel... but the winger curls right-footed over the bar from 22 yards out.

1251: Huzzah! The phoney war is over at Elland Road, where Leeds and Nottm Forest have finally kicked off. The atmosphere is absolutely pumping let me tell you.

1251: Over at Elland Road, the two teams are still naffing about ahead of kick-off. Lazy. I'll let you know when they get going.

1250: And a decent early effort for Man Utd at Upton Park, Chris Smalling getting on the end of Ryan Giggs's corner at the far post and forcing Rob Green to tip over the bar with a firm header. Comfortable save in the end, to be fair.

1248: This, by the way, is what Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson had to say moments before kick-off today... "We tried to get as much freshness in the team as possible. We have had some terrific results here as well as some bad results in the past. It is a big, big game for Manchester United."

1246: ...but it's a fairly prompt start at Upton Park, where West Ham v Man Utd is under way.

1245: Bit sluggish at Elland Road where the Leeds and Nottm Forest teams are not even out of the tunnel yet...

1244: Just time, then, for me to point you in the direction of the legend that is Lawro's predictions. His thoughts on West Ham v Man Utd? He's going for a 1-1. TV chef Simon Rimmer, on the other hand, has plugged for a 2-1 Man Utd win. And when TV chef Simon Rimmer talks football, people listen. Always.

1241: WEST HAM v MAN UTD (1245)
Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"West Ham ended Manchester United's unbeaten start to the season when they beat them 4-0 in the Carling Cup in November and, on the back of two wins from their last four league outings, the improving Hammers will be hoping for another victory to help their battle against the drop. As tests go this is a key one for the title-chasing Red Devils. They are struggling with injuries, have won only four of 15 away league games this season and are playing at a ground which has yielded a meagre six wins from their last 17 visits. Tasty."

1238: LEEDS v NOTTM FOREST (1245)
Paul Fletcher reports:
"The Championship resumes after the international break with this mouth-watering match, as Leeds in fifth entertain sixth-placed Nottingham Forest in a fixture synonymous with Brian Clough. He lasted just 44 days at Elland Road but went on to become a legend at Forest. Today's match is all about the present as these two teams pursue their dreams of promotion."

Mr_MichaelSmith on Twitter: "It's a travesty that West Ham are where they are in the table. They've put out a decent side today. Man Utd will turn them over though."

mattiematt7 on Twitter: "Luciano Becchio will score today I guarantee it."

1234: Ah yes Chris - the feeling I get whenever a mate stitches me up and sticks my name in for the local pub karaoke. Your fears may be well founded I have to relay, too - Infostrada Sports tell us that Tomasz Kuszczak has conceded in each of his last three Premier League matches and kept only one clean sheet in the last six. He was also in goal when West Ham last beat Manchester United - a 2-1 defeat at Upton Park in December 2007. Omens?

Chris in Winsford via text: "You know that feeling when your stomach turns and you suddenly come out in a fearful sweat? That's what happened when I saw Kuszczak on our team sheet."

ChrisJack28 on Twitter: "Man Utd's attacking potential from their bench must be really frightening. Hopefully that won't put the West Ham players off."

1230: WEST HAM v MAN UTD (1245)
Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"West Ham midfielder Scott Parker shakes off shoulder and calf injuries to play for a Hammers side unchanged from the goalless draw against Tottenham last time out. Manchester United make five changes from the win over Bolton. Keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, centre-back Nemanja Vidic, right-back Fabio Da Silva as well as midfielders Park Ji-Sung and Darron Gibson come into the side for the absent Edwin van der Sar (groin injury), Jonny Evans and Wes Brown, while Nani and Javier Hernandez drop to a bench which also includes Dimitar Berbatov."

1227: LEEDS v NOTTM FOREST (1245)
Paul Fletcher reports:
"Leeds are unchanged from the team that lost at Sheffield United so loan signing Jake Livermore has to settle for a place on the bench. Nottingham Forest make three changes from the team that lost 3-2 at Swansea, with Joel Lynch, Lewis McGugan and Marcus Tudgay all coming into the starting XI."

ianwatson1 on Twitter: "Lot of negativity around Man Utd's team & system. Same shape, though, that got best out of Rooney last year, with Valencia's service also back."

rjcopley on Twitter: "I'm pretty sure that Scott Parker is actually a character from a 1950s copy of Roy of the Rovers who has come to life."

1223: Might I point out, by the way, that your video at the top of this page will automatically turn from Football Focus to Leeds v Nottm Forest coverage in a bit, followed by Portadown v Lisburn Distillery and then Final Score. Basically meaning you need not touch your keyboard for the rest of the day - freeing your 'refresh arm' for such things as getting the teas in or nose-picking, whatever takes your fancy to be honest. After, that is, an initial refresh now please to reveal our BBC Radio 5 Live audio coverage link on the right hand side. And then that's it. Boomtown.

1219: LEEDS v NOTTM FOREST (1245)
Schmeichel, Lichaj, O'Brien, Bromby, McCartney, Gradel, Howson, Johnson, Bannan, Snodgrass, Becchio. Subs: Higgs, Naylor, Kilkenny, Livermore, Watt, Somma, McCormack.
Nottm Forest: Camp, Gunter, Chambers, Morgan, Lynch, Anderson, McGugan, Majewski, Cohen, Boyd, Tudgay. Subs: Darlow, Adebola, Earnshaw, Tyson, McCleary, McGoldrick, Bennett.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

RobbieMathias on Twitter: "Thought it would be a tough game for Man Utd today. Having seen the team-sheets, it looks very tough indeed..."

1215: A place on the bench, then, for Robbie Keane - a man who today has pledged his future to West Ham, providing they avoid relegation. The Irishman, on loan at the Hammers from Tottenham until the end of the season, is quoted in today's matchday programme saying: "First and foremost, I just want to get on the pitch and play football. It is a short career, so the last thing I want to be doing is sitting on the bench. At my age, I need to be playing regular football and, hopefully, with the squad of players we have, we're quite capable of staying up. If that's the case then I'll obviously be here next year." But what will his fee be I wonder?

Martyn__Dunn on Twitter: "Huge Lisburn Distillery fan on way to game today. Great atmosphere in prospect Cant wait. Come on 'The Whites'."

Anon via text: "With no tournament football to look forward to this summer, I hope 22nd May never arrives. Welcome back Premier League football, I've missed you so!"

1209: WEST HAM v MAN UTD (1245)
West Ham:
Green, Jacobsen, da Costa, Upson, Bridge, O'Neil, Parker, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Ba. Subs: Boffin, Reid, Tomkins, Spector, Piquionne, Obinna, Keane.
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Fabio Da Silva, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Gibson, Carrick, Park, Giggs, Rooney. Subs: Amos, Owen, Anderson, Berbatov, Hernandez, Nani, Gill.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

j_grodes on Twitter: "I can see a few upsets happening today, wouldn't be surprised to see Roy get a win over Liverpool and West Ham to nick a point."

mattharding007 on Twitter: "Could be a good day for Arsenal. Tough matches for Utd & Chelsea, Arsenal easy home win."

Edwin van der Sar misses out for Man Utd at West Ham this afternoon, meaning Tomasz Kuszczak starts in goal for the visitors, who can at least welcome Nemanja Vidic back to the side. Scott Parker shakes off shoulder and calf worries to start for West Ham.

Football League Danny: "A huge Championship clash at Elland Road - live on BBC One and on the BBC Sport website for UK users - sees Leeds (fifth) host Nottingham Forest (sixth). With leaders QPR not playing until Monday, Norwich, Swansea and Cardiff also have a chance to chip away at Rangers' big lead. Two of those sides are against the bottom two, who desperately need survival points - Norwich host Scunthorpe and Swansea are at Preston."

1204: You know who's in the house for all your lower league needs too don't you? It's only the very first Danny of football, your friend and mine Football League Danny...

Anon via text: "On the bus to Leeds hoping for 3 points to get Forest back to winning ways!"

barnyobarnyo on Twitter: "Proper footy teams are back on the Beeb again. Come on you mighty LEEDS! LEEDS! LEEDS!"

1159: And this is how I want you lot to get involved... Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @sampatricklyon or text me via 81111 (UK). Spiceworld.

1156: But this, readers, is your Premier League line-up...
West Ham v Man Utd (1245)
Birmingham v Bolton
Everton v Aston Villa
Newcastle v Wolves
Stoke City v Chelsea
West Brom v Liverpool
Wigan v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal v Blackburn (1730)

1153: AND AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH... oops, caps lock error... we've only got two matches LIVE on this here page for your viewing pleasure as well. First up, the doozy of a Championship tie between promotion chasers that is Leeds v Nottingham Forest at 1245, and then later this afternoon a special treat for our Northern Irish bredrin with Portadown v Lisburn Distillery in the Co-Operative Insurance Cup Final from Mourneview Park at 1430. Yep. Seriously.

1151: Take a look at today's Premier League line-up, for example, will you? Kicked off by the near-bottom-v-top clash that is West Ham v Man Utd, we've also got two other title contenders involved in Arsenal and Chelsea, Real Madrid-pretenders-for-the-day Wigan hosting top four-chasers Tottenham, Roy Hodgson welcoming former charges Liverpool to the Hawthorns, Wolves chasing a first top-flight win over Newcastle since Mick McCarthy entered this world, Gerard Houllier under increasing pressure on his trip to Everton and last but not least what some are already calling almost-certainly-going-to-be-last-on-Match-of-the-Day-tonight Birmingham v Bolton. Monster.

1148: Yep, from here on in every weekend of our footballing calendar is utterly jam-packed with mouth-watering, lip-smacking fixtures that are positively dripping with every increasing cause and effect right up until the the last day of the Premier League season on 22 May. And I make no apologies for my, ahem, creative use of adjectives to underline my anticipation. Ish. Beautiful, beautiful scenes.

1145: Aahhhh yes. A nation breathes a guilty sigh of relief in the knowledge that the final international break of the 2010-11 campaign has come and gone - and we all know what that means; we, ladies and gentlemen, are officially entering the proper, indisputable, money-where-your-mouth-is, win-it-or-lose-it business end of the season. And you know what? I couldn't be more excited if I were a dog who'd finally caught that blooming elusive tail of his. You?

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