Monday 29 April 2013
Everton confirmed their place as winners of Group 1 of the second stage of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League, while Liverpool and Manchester United failed to secure their spots in the end-of-season play-offs following defeats in the Elite Group that confirmed Tottenham Hotspur's first-place finish.
A goalless draw for Everton was enough to seal qualification to the play-offs as winners of Group 1 on Thursday. The home side dominated the match at the Merseyrail Community Stadium, but could not find a finish. The stalemate leaves the Blues in fifth place in the section after 11 matches.
First-half goals from Ben Marlow and Elliot Lee were enough to give West Ham United a win over Liverpool in their Elite Group match at Upton Park. A victory would have guaranteed the Reds a spot in the end-of-season play-offs but all they had to show for their efforts was a late penalty from Krisztian Adorjan. The three points took the Hammers to within four points of third-placed Liverpool with two matches remaining.
A goal four minutes from time by Sam Whittall secured a win for Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Bucks Head, Telford. The defeat ended Manchester United’s hopes of catching Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Elite Group. The closest that second-placed Man United, who are eight points behind Tottenham and a point above Liverpool, came to a goal was when Ryan Tunnicliffe hit the bar.
A late long-range strike from Alex Gorrin secured a point for Sunderland in their final fixture in Group 1. Fulham took the lead at Craven Cottage through a Tom Beadling own goal and could have gone 2-0 up but Omri Altman’s penalty was saved. Ryan Noble equalised for Sunderland on the hour but Fulham regain the lead through a Chris David penalty. They looked set for all three points but Gorrin, from 35 yards, guaranteed a share of the spoils.
Manchester City ended their season with a third consecutive Group 2 victory as England goalkeeper Jon Ruddy conceded three times at Ewan Fields.
The Norwich goalkeeper was playing his third Under-21 match as he recovers from a serious thigh injury but was beaten three times in the first half by Emyr Huws, John Guidetti and Denis Suarez. Norwich responded in the second half but could only get one goal, through Sam Kelly.
The defeat hit their hopes of putting Group 2 leaders Reading under pressure. With two matches remaining Norwich are four points behind Reading who have played all their matches. Norwich have another chance to stake their claim for top spot when they face Newcastle United today.
Thursday 25 April
Everton 0-0 Chelsea
Friday 26 April
West Ham (Marlow, Lee) 2-1 Liverpool (Adorjan pen)
Wolves (Whittall) 1-0 Man Utd
Fulham (Beading og, David) 2-2 Sunderland (Noble, Gorrin)
Man City (Huws, Guidetti, Suarez) 3-1 Norwich City (Kelly)
7pm unless mentioned
Monday, 29 April
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, Staplewood Training Ground, 2.30pm
Aston Villa v Everton, Bodymoor Heath Training Ground, 1pm
Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers, Cobham Training Ground, 11am
Crystal Palace v Bolton Wanderers, Selhurst Park
Norwich City v Newcastle United, Colney Training Centre, 1pm
Tuesday, 30 April
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Barnet
Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion, Old Trafford
To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here