Dempsey scores twice, adds assist to spark Fulham past Manchester City.
By Robert Wagman
| Clint Dempsey had much to celebrate after scoring twice for Fulham to help defeat Manchester City 3-1.
-- Fulham web site photo --
(in Washington, D.C.)
(Tuesday, April 14, 2009) -- Receiving a pair of goals and an assist from United States midfielder Clint Dempsey, visiting Fulham recorded a 3-1 English Premier League victory over Manchester City Sunday at City of Manchester Stadium.
After Stephen Ireland put City ahead 1-0 in the 28th minute, Dempsey notched the first of his two goals to start a second-half comeback. In the 50th minute, Dempsey gained possession of a loose ball and curled it home with an expertly placed shot.
Nine minutes later, both Dempsey and overlapping Fulham defender moved into the left side of the penalty area. When the defense shifted to meet them, Dempsey passed to midfielder Dickson Etuhu, who rifled a hard shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards out for a 2-1 advantage.
On a quick counterattack in the 83rd minute, Fulham striker Bobby Zamora raced free from the halfway line. As he reached the top of the box, he fed Dempsey, overlapping on the left side, produced another clinical finish, low to goalkeeper Shay Given's left, to make it 3-1.
On April 4, Fulham suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to surging Liverpool when Yossi Benayoun scored in stoppage time of a match which saw Dempsey play 90 minutes four days after representing the U.S. in World Cup qualifying in Nashville. .
Fulham has climbed to eighth place at 11-11-10 with 43 points but, with six games remaining, is nine points shy of sixth place which would bring a berth in the new Europa League, which will replace the UEFA Cup.
American defender Jonathan Spector sat out West Ham United's 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Saturday, the result of a scary concussion he suffered the week before in a 2-0 decision over host Sunderland at Boleyn Ground.
Things appeared worse than they turned out to be for Spector, who escaped serious injury when he was leveled during an aerial challenge during West Ham United's loss to Sunderland.
Spector collided with Sunderland central defender James Collins as they vied for a header in the 66th minute. Spector fell heavily to the ground unconscious, causing a length delay as he was attended to by the training staffs of both teams. Eventually, he was carried off on a stretcher and sent by ambulance to the hospital, where he spent the remainder of the weekend under observation before being released.
Spector, who has battled for the last six months to come back from a serious hip injury, was making his first appearance since February.
"He has got concussion. He lost a little a bit of consciousness and he lost his short-term memory," West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola told reporters. "He is fine and (doctors) are confident it is not going to be a big problem. He couldn't remember much of it, but he was fine. He doesn't remember me which is a good thing. But he is OK and shouldn't be too bad."
Tim Howard was in net for Everton and Brad Friedel for Aston Villa, but neither American had much of a day in a 3-3 draw Sunday in which host Aston Villa erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits.
Two minutes after midfielder Steve Pienaar put Everton ahead 3-1 in the 53rd minute, midfielder James Milner narrowed the margin for Villa, setting up midfielder Gareth Barry's equalizing penalty kick in the 67th minute.
Forward Marouane Fellaini beat Friedel in the 19th minute and midfielder Tim Cahill did the same four minutes later for a 2-0 advantage. Striker John Carew pulled Villa closer by beating Howard in the 33 rd minute.
Howard, who posted a shutout in the United States 3-0 decision over Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup qualifier in Nashville, came back with a clean sheet for Everton Sunday in a 4-0 victory April 5 over Wigan Athletic.
As in Nashville, Howard was not all that busy, but he had to be sharp to stop a 20-yard drive by striker Hossam Mido and later scoop up a clever back-heel from Wigan attacking midfielder Paul Scharner.
April 5 was also particularly frustrating for Friedel and Aston Villa. They traveled to Old Trafford to meet Manchester United, which is in a battle to hold first place.
Despite Friedel giving up a pair of tough goals to Cristiano Ronaldo in the 14th and 80th minutes, it looked like Villa might escape with a 2-2 draw, would escape with a hard earned point in a 2-2 draw, especially after Friedel after denied Danny Welbeck in the 88th minute.
Then, disaster struck. In his United debut, Federico Macheda scored deep in stoppage time when he turned onto Ryan Giggs' low pass and unleashed a stunning shot that curled past Friedel's outstretched hands for a 3-2 triumph, snapping a two-match losing streak..
Aston Villa (15-9-8, 53 points) and Everton (14-8-10, 52) are firmly entrenched in fifth and sixth places and seem headed for the new Europa League.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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