Spector scores again, helps West Ham blank Barnsley 2-0 in FA Cup.
By Robert Wagman
(in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, January 10, 2011) -- American Jonathan Spector made it three goals in his last two cup appearances, scoring for West Ham United in its 2-0 victory over visiting Barnsley Saturday in an English FA Cup third-round match at Upton Park.
Out of favor with West Ham United manager Avram Grant, Spector's playing time has generally been limited to cup matches for a club that stands last in the Premier League. That was the case Saturday when Grant played Spector, normally a central defender, in the central midfield.
In the 22nd minute, Spector took a pass from midfielder Mark Noble and slotted a ball under goalkeeper Luke Steele with a low, angled drive which nestled inside the far post. West Ham added a stoppage time goal from reserve striker Frederic Piquionne to put the match out of reach.
On November 30, Spector's two goals, his first in the previous three years, sent host West Ham into the Carling Cup semifinals with a stunning 4-0 upset triumph over Manchester United.
After the hectic holiday schedule in English soccer, things slowed down this weekend with third-round FA Cup matches, including six in which Premier League teams traveled to face teams from the second-tier League Championship.
One such match featured struggling Aston Villa, which went to Sheffield United, a battered team with 11 players sidelined with various injuries. Villa has struggled on the road, winning only twice in 11 away matches. With reserve Brad Guzan, normally the starter in cup matches, loaned to Hull City of the League Championship, fellow American Brad Friedel was in his accustomed place in the Villa's net for a 3-1 win.
Holding on to a one-goals lead and playing with 10 men after Ashley Young was sent off with a red card in the 77th minute, things got tight for Villa before a stoppage time goal by Stiliyan Petrov sealed the result.
Friedel was not busy, but came up big when he had to, stopping Jamie Ward point-blank in the 22nd minute, and later laid out full-length to push a well-taken overhead kick by Johnny Ertl wide near the end. Friedel finished with three saves.
American defender Eric Lichaj did not dress for Villa.
Guzan was less successful for Hull City, which was eliminated from the FA Cup third round for the second year in a row by thre Premier League's Wigan Athletic 3-2. Guzan ended up with seven saves in the wide-open match, but he gave up goals to Mohamed Diame and Callum McManaman.
American Marcus Hahnemann was back in goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers, who required a late goal to force a 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers and set up a replay.
In a tight match, Wolves played a man down for the final 13 minutes after defender George Elokobi, who was sent off with a red card. Hahnemann played well and ended with three saves.
Fulham had an easy time defeating Peterborough United of the third-division League One 6-2 behind three goals by Diomansy Kamaram, his first hat trick in English soccer.
United States midfielder Clint Dempsey and most of Fulham regulars started the match with Dempsey coming out in the 61st minute of a game in which Fulham outshot the visitors 22-8.
U.S. forward Eddie Johnson dressed, but did not play amid rumors he will be sold or loaned out during this month's transfer window.
In something of a surprise, normal starter Tim Howard was also used in the FA Cup by Everton, which easily dispatched Scunthorpe United of the League Championship 5-1. Howard made four saves.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden remains out with a thigh injury for Bolton Wanderers, who used mostly reserves and received two late goals to slip past York City of the fifth-tier Nationwide Conference 2-0.
American Frank Simek went the distance for Carlisle United which came up short 1-0 and was eliminated by Torquay United in a battle of third-division League One clubs.
Simek was issued a yellow card moments before half time. American forward Mike Grella did not dress for Carlisle.
Zak Whitbread went the distance as his Norwich City was eliminated 1-0 by Leyton Orient.
American attacker Robbie Findley did not dress for Nottingham Forest, which defeated Preston North End 2-1.
In a regular League One match, American midfielder Anton Peterlin remained on the bench for Plymouth Argyle, a 3-0 loser to AFC Bournemouth 3-0.
American forward Jemal Johnson did not dress for Milton Keynes Dons, who played to a 1-1 draw with Exeter City.
U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra started, but was replaced by Argentine striker Gonzalo Bergesio in the 64th minute for Saint Étienne of Ligue 1, which started the second half of the season by being unceremoniously ousted from the Coupe de France (French Cup) 2-0 by Clermont Foot Auvergne 63 of Ligue 2.
Saint Étienne went a man down in the 75th minute and Clermont then coasted to close out the upset.
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was on the bench, but did not play for Villarreal, which fell 4-2 to Real Madrid 4-2 on Sunday.
U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu, who has been out for almost a month after taking a sharp hit on his surgically-repaired left knee, returned to action, coming off the bench in the 67th minute of a 3-0 defeat of Kilmarnock in the Scottish FA Cup on Monday.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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