Monday 26 February 2018

In brief: Hammers fail to hit groove

Bottom Premier League club West Ham were again frustrated as Blackpool's changed XI held them to a goalless draw at Upton Park.

Ian Holloway had threatened to quit if fined for making 10 alterations for the midweek defeat at Aston Villa, and had recalled his main men yesterday.

But it was referee Kevin Friend who took centre stage when he denied the home side what looked like two clear penalties.

But West Ham failed to make the most of their second-half opportunities as Richard Kingson made an acrobatic one-handed save to tip Mark Noble's curling 20-yard effort behind.

There was a huge let-off for the hosts late on when Marlon Harewood stabbed the ball wide from six yards before Robert Green deflected away a goalbound effort from Craig Cathcart.

Moses secures Wigan victory

Victor Moses stepped off the bench to end Wigan's run of five Premier League games without a victory to beat West Brom 1-0 at the DW Stadium yesterday.

The former Crystal Palace midfielder scored the winner in the 70th minute after being released by Charles N'Zogbia. Moses rifled a shot beyond Scott Carson for his first league goal of the season.

Wigan nearly made it 2-0 late on when substitute Franco Di Santo found himself clear on goal, as Albion waited in vain for the whistle for offside, but he dragged his effort wide.

But Marc-Antoine Fortune almost equalised for the visitors in stoppage-time but Ali Al Habsi blocked his shot as Wigan held on.

Barnsley teach Town lesson

Roy Keane endured a miserable afternoon as Barnsley romped to a comfortable 3-1 Championship victory at Portman Road.

Keane's Ipswich side were poor in midweek as they suffered a home defeat at the hands of Derby and they were again picked off with ease by a visiting side as Mark Robins led his side to three valuable points.

Winger Goran Lovre opened the scoring before a Marton Fulop own goal doubled the lead before the break.

Garry O'Connor wrapped up the win with a simple finish to leave the home fans far from happy with Keane.

The home side were given a crumb of comfort when defender Tommy Smith headed in late on but the Tractor Boys were well beaten on the day.

Gers extend lead at the top

Aberdeen suffered their second defeat in a week at the hands of the Old Firm as Rangers claimed a 2-0 win at Ibrox to move four points clear of Celtic at the top of the SPL table.

It was not as emphatic as the nine-goal thrashing handed out by the Hoops seven days ago but it allowed the Scottish champions to extend their lead at the summit in comfort.

Goals from Kenny Miller and Vladimir Weiss sealed the win, although Miller also missed from the penalty spot to give the Dons hope.

But the visitors rarely threatened in the second half and Miller, Steven Naismith and Gregg Wylde came close to adding to Rangers' tally.

Samaras hails boss Lennon

Georgios Samaras insists the Celtic players pay no attention to critics who feel manager Neil Lennon's passion for the Parkhead club is running dangerously high.

Criticism of Lennon's touchline antics from some sections of the media intensified following Wednesday night's 2-0 defeat to Hearts.

Lennon was sent to the stand for complaining too long and loud to the fourth official and linesman about a penalty claim that was turned down.

"He was at the club for 10 years and was the same as a player as he is a manager," said Samaras, ahead of today's trip to St Mirren in the SPL.

"Why they criticise him and who (they are), we don't care. We care what is going on here in the training ground, that is the most important thing. If you have a good relationship with the manager then you don't care what's going on outside.

St Mirren v Celtic

ESPN, 2.0

Jose slammed over remarks

Real Madrid have cancelled their usual pre-match news conference ahead of today's game at Sporting Gijon to try to defuse a row between the two clubs and their coaches.

Real coach Jose Mourinho incensed Gijon counterpart Manuel Preciado by suggesting they did not make a serious attempt to beat champions Barcelona earlier in the season.

Preciado, whose side lost 1-0 at the Nou Camp in September, was furious at what he described as a lack of respect.

"It could just be a bad joke or it could be a provocation for the Barcelona coach," Preciado said. But if he is saying what he really thinks, I think he is despicable and a bad professional colleague."

Sunday Independent

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