Tuesday 04 December 2012
West Bromwich Albion sealed their place in the Elite Group Stage of the inaugural Barclays Under-21 Premier League by coming from behind to overcome Bolton Wanderers 2-1.
The hosts knew that victory would ensure they became the final side from Group 1 to reach the Elite Group Stage via automatic qualification so Adam Blakeman's 16th-minute strike for Bolton came as a considerable setback to the Baggies.
However, Albion were helped back into the match by Ben Hampson's own goal and after Adil Nabi curled in a wonderful shot on 26 minutes, the visitors held on for the crucial win and three points which mean they cannot be deprived of a place in the Elite Group Stage.
Liverpool’s impressive campaign continued apace as they stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches with a 2-1 success against Fulham.
The Reds, playing under Alex Inglethorpe for the first time, took just two minutes to take the lead as Adam Morgan scored his ninth goal of the season. Fulham responded in style just before half-time when Corey Woodrow scored an audacious goal from a near-impossible angle only for Krisztian Adorjan to restore the Merseysiders’ lead and their supremacy at the Group 3 summit.
Wolves claimed a dramatic victory over City to seal third place in Group 1 and secure their place in the Elite Group Stage.
The home side needed to win the match to seal third spot in Group 3 and they took the lead early on when Johnny Gorman rounded goalkeeper Richard Wright after only two minutes.
Luca Scapuzzi then equalised for City on 62 minutes after firing home from eight yards out only for Liam McAlinden to put Wolves back in front with his seventh goal of the season with five minutes to go.
There was still time for late drama as City were awarded a penalty in injury time but Aljaz Cotman was the hero as he saved the spot kick.
Chelsea extended their unbeaten run to five matches after hanging on for victory in a five-goal thriller at the Riverside stadium.
The visitors looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory when Billy Clifford's free kick, Lewis Baker's shot and Alexander Davey's close-range effort put Chelsea 3-0 ahead.
But Middlesbrough fought back impressively, Ryan Brobbel pulling a goal back on 49 minutes while Kyle Oliver poked the ball home with 25 minutes to go.
Boro piled on the pressure in the closing stages but they could not find the equaliser. With Wolverhampton Wanderers winning against Manchester City, Chelsea will now have to wait to see if they qualify for the Elite Stage as best third-place finisher from Groups 2 and 3.
A late penalty save from Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone denied Southampton victory at St Mary's Stadium and means that qualification for the Elite Group Stage is out of their hands.
After a goalless first half, Tadanari Lee put Southampton in the lead from the spot after the Japan striker had been fouled. With 10 minutes remaining Federico Macheda equalised for United, but Southampton’s hopes of gaining all three points were ended when Lee put his second spot-kick too close to Johnstone.
Victory would have put Southampton above United into third . Instead United remain there on 17 points, a point ahead of Southampton with both teams having only one match remaining.
Fraizer Campbell, Titus Bramble, James McFadden and as Ji Dong-won were all in the starting line-up as Sunderland completed an emphatic success against Stoke City.
Campbell and Ji were both on target, after a deflected Bramble shot and Adam Reed penalty had set Sunderland on their way, while last-placed Stoke responded late on with a consolation goal by Karim Rossi.
The sides who finish in the top three places in Group 1 qualify for the Elite Group stage, along with the top two teams and the best third-placed finisher from Groups 2 and 3.
The remaining third-placed team from Groups 2 and 3 and clubs who finish fourth, fifth and sixth in the three sections go through to Qualification Group Tier 1, while the seventh-placed clubs plus the side to finish eighth in Group 1 go to Qualification Group Tier 2.
The two teams who top the Qualification Groups will compete in a play-off to reach the first semi-final, where they will meet the team that finishes top of the Elite Group Stage. The teams that finish second and third in the Elite Group Stage play in the other semi-final.
West Ham 0-1 Blackburn Rovers
Sunday, 2 December
Everton 2-1 Norwich City
Reading 2-2 Arsenal
Newcastle United 2-3 Aston Villa
Monday, 3 December
West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Southampton 1-1 Manchester United
Sunderland 4-1 Stoke City
Fulham 1-2 Liverpool
Middlesbrough 2-3 Chelsea
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester City
For all the fixtures and the latest league tables, click here