Premiership: Pompey and Spurs take giant steps

April 15, 2006

Portsmouth took another giant step towards Premiership survival as they beat an under-strength Middlesbrough side 1-0 at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Pompey's only goal came from Gary O'Neil in the 54th minute, taking them three points above Birmingham who play Aston Villa tomorrow.

Tottenham strengthened their bid for Champions League qualification with a 1-0 win away to Everton.

Robbie Keane's 34th-minute penalty did the damage after the Republic of Ireland captain was fouled by Alan Stubbs, while Everton's James Beattie had a second-half goal disallowed for offside.

Fourth-placed Tottenham maintained their four-point lead over north London rivals Arsenal, who won 3-1 at home to West Brom.

The Gunners' opener was a classy affair as Alexander Hleb played a one-two with Thierry Henry before burying a left-footed shot past Tomasz Kuszczak.

An error by Emmanuel Eboue allowed Nigel Quashie the chance to break forward and drill a low shot past Jens Lehmann for West Brom's equaliser, but Arsenal went back in front swiftly when Robert Pires scored at the second attempt from Dennis Bergkamp's cutback.

Bergkamp added a third with a curling sidefooted shot from the edge of the box. The defeat leaves Albion four points adrift of safety in 19th.

Chelsea can secure the Barclays Premiership title on Easter Monday after a 2-0 win at Bolton today took them nine points clear at the top.

Manchester United's surprise goalless draw with Sunderland on Good Friday had presented Jose Mourinho's men with the chance to extend their advantage, and they took it with characteristic ruthlessness.

Chelsea's opener came in the 43rd minute when Frank Lampard swung in a free-kick from deep on the left and John Terry stretched to head past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The win was sealed 14 minutes into the second half when Hernan Crespo cut in from the left and fed the advancing Lampard, and the England midfielder poked home a rising shot from six yards.

If results go their way on Monday a second successive title could be Chelsea's.

A double from Alan Shearer helped Newcastle come from behind to beat Wigan 3-1 at St James' Park.

The Latics, aiming for a seventh away game without defeat in the league, made a great start when Jimmy Bullard curled a right-footed free-kick past a stationary Shay Given in the Magpies goal in the fifth minute.

But the hosts levelled through an Alan Shearer penalty (28) after Reto Ziegler fouled Michael Chopra and Titus Bramble was then allowed a free header from Nolberto Solano's corner to put the hosts ahead.

The lead was extended after 65 minutes when Shearer beat the offside trap to run onto Chopra's through-ball and round John Filan before slotting the ball home.

Fulham skipper Luis Boa Morte was in inspired form as his side beat capital rivals Charlton 2-1 at Craven Cottage.

His low 15th-minute free-kick from the right took Charlton goalkeeper Thomas Myhre completely by surprise and beat him at his near post.

The Addicks' equaliser also came following a set-piece 11 minutes later as Jason Euell got the final touch when Antti Niemi failed to deal with Darren Ambrose's corner from the left.

However, Portugal international Boa Morte restored the Cottagers' lead on the half-hour as he latched onto Brian McBride's knockdown, powered past Euell and Gonzalo Sorondo and fired a low shot into Myhre's bottom right-hand corner.

West Ham enhanced their chances of finishing comfortably in the top 0 by beating Manchester City 1-0 at Upton Park. The FA Cup semi-finalists won thanks to Shaun Newton's goal, which arrived after 15 minutes.