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Saturday 26 April 2014

Review: Long spares Hull as Villa slip further into trouble

Read all the reports, reactions and watch the press conferences from today's BPL matches

Saturday photo gallery

Fulham allowed a two-goal advantage to slip as Shane Long's late goal earned Hull City a valuable point at Craven Cottage while a 4-1 defeat at Swansea City dragged Aston Villa further into the relegation battle on a day when West Bromwich Albion's survival hopes were boosted by a 1-0 victory over West Ham United.

Fulham threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Hull City on Saturday as their Barclays Premier League survival bid suffered a setback. Shane Long stooped low to nod home with just three minutes of normal time remaining, after Nikica Jelavic had given the visitors hope of a point at Craven Cottage.

Half-time substitute Ashkan Dejagah put Fulham ahead with a wonderful strike 10 minutes into the second half and, just three minutes later, Felix Magath's side looked home and dry when Fernando Amorebieta headed home his first goal for the club. But Magath could only look on as Sascha Riether crashed a clearance against his own crossbar, allowing Jelavic to head home with 14 minutes to play. Then on 87 minutes Long scored to give Hull 37 points as they remain 15th. The point put Fulham into 18th above Cardiff City, but either the Welsh side of Sunderland will go above them when the two sides face each other on Sunday.

Jonjo Shelvey scored a stunning goal as Swansea City dragged Aston Villa deeper into the relegation battle with a 4-1 win. Paul Lambert's side came into the weekend four points above the drop zone, but that gap was reduced by a defeat in which Shelvey provided a moment of quality at the Liberty Stadium.

The midfielder capitalised on Ron Vlaar’s attempted clearance to find the back of the net from the edge of the centre circle to put Swansea 2-1 in front, as the hosts recorded their first back-to-back Barclays Premier League victories since December 2012 and eased fears of relegation.

Leading scorer Wilfried Bony had given Swansea a 10th-minute lead, before Gabriel Agbonlahor pulled Villa level from close range 12 minutes later. After Shelvey's wonder-goal Pablo Hernandez fired home from 12 yards in the 73rd minute and just as at Newcastle, Bony scored from the penalty spot in time added on after Nathan Baker had fouled Marvin Emnes. The result lifts Garry Monk's side eight points clear of the relegation zone, above which Villa are by four points.

West Bromwich Albion took a huge stride towards safety after overcoming West Ham United for their first home win under head coach Pepe Mel. The Spaniard, who was appointed on 9 January, opted to hand Saido Berahino a first start in attack since February and was rewarded when the England Under-21 forward scored in the 11th minute, settling Albion's early nerves.

Andy Carroll went close for West Ham either side of Berahino's strike and almost made West Brom pay for missed chances after the interval when he rattled the crossbar from a 71st-minute corner. However, the hosts held on to pick up three points to move up to 15th, five clear of the bottom three. The Hammers are a point better off.

In the day's late match Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata scored doubles as Manchester United’s interim manager Ryan Giggs saw his team beat Norwich City 4-0 for a dream start. Giggs is in interim charge of the Barclays Premier League champions after David Moyes' departure on Tuesday. Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Giggs to take on the job full-time, and the hosts displayed an early intensity of the kind associated with the Scot's reign.

Much of United's first-half work lacked penetration, but Rooney scored a penalty four minutes before half-time and doubled his tally three minutes after the break. Substitute Mata struck twice to complete the scoring, leaving Old Trafford delighted and Norwich placed just a point and a place above the relegation zone with two matches remaining.

Earlier in the day two own goals dealt Everton's chances of a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League a blow as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton. The Merseysiders came into Saturday's match at St Mary's Stadium looking for a win to take them above Arsenal and into fourth, with Arsene Wenger's side not playing until Monday.

However, they fell behind inside a minute as Antolin Alcaraz's headed into his own net. Everton's task became tougher after the half-hour as Seamus Coleman also headed into his net. The defeat leaves Roberto Martinez's side a point behind the Gunners, having played a match more, while Southampton are six points clear of Newcastle United, Arsenal's next opponents, and remain on course to equal their highest Barclays Premier League finish of eighth.

Tottenham Hotspur's faint UEFA Champions League hopes remain intact with a 1-0 triumph over Stoke City. A first-half Danny Rose goal maintained the visitors' impressive record against the 10-man Potters, earning them their sixth win from the last nine Barclays Premier League encounters between the two, and kept Tim Sherwood's men in the hunt for the European places.

Stoke, who had Ryan Shawcross sent off just after half-time for two bookings, had won their last four home matches and were unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium since January. But Rose's first Barclays Premier League goal of the season settled matters, as he headed the visitors in front following good work from Emmanuel Adebayor. The win for Tim Sherwood’s side reduced the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal to four points, while defeat leaves Stoke, in 10th place, still with work to do to secure a first top-half finish in the Barclays Premier League.

Remember you can follow all the Barclays Premier League action in our Carlsberg Live Match Centre at The Carlsberg Live Match Centre brings you match facts and stats, manager press conference videos, action images, as well as the latest Fantasy Premier League points for your team.

Saturday 26 April

Southampton 2-0 Everton | #SOUEVE | More on the Live Match Centre >>

Fulham 2-2 Hull City  | #FULHUL |  More on the Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

Stoke City 0-1 Spurs  | #STKTOT |  More on Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

Swansea City 4-1 Aston Villa  | #SWAAVL  |  More on Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

West Brom 1-0 West Ham | #WBAWHU  |  More on Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

Man Utd 4-0 Norwich City  | #MUNNOR  |  More on Carlsberg Live Match Centre >>

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