Everton leapfrog Liverpool

Victory gives David Moyes' men a chance to jump into the lucrative spot.

    Andy Johnson, right, added to his goal tally while Titus
    Bramble had another clanger [AFP] 
    Andy Johnson and Joleon Lescott scored a goal each to give Everton a 2-1 win at Wigan in the English Premier League as they look to push for Uefa Champions League qualifications.

    The win put Everton into fourth place for at least 24 hours, while Manchester City missed the chance to join the Toffess with 42 points after a 1-1 draw against visiting West Ham.

    The former Crystal Palace striker Johnson took advantage of a stumble from Wigan defender Titus Bramble to shoot through the legs of Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland in the 39th minute.

    Lescott doubled the lead in the 42nd by tapping in the ball from the far post after Phil Jagielka had played across a corner from Mikel Arteta.

    Wigan pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute with an own-goal.

    A long ball from Wigan striker Jason Koumas was poorly defended in the box and went into the net off Jagielka.

    "Wigan are a good team and this is a hard place to come and get a result," Johnson said.

    "Physically, this is one of the hardest games we'll play but the important thing is that we got the three points and we're sitting pretty in the league."

    Wigan remains in 17th place and manager Steve Bruce fears the poor field at the JJB Stadium could hurt its chances of avoiding relegation.

    The ground is also used by the local rugby league side who have already been involved in pre-season friendlies.

    "I've some good players here, and yet the pitch is giving us grave concerns," Bruce said.

    "If you are a Premier League team, the one thing you need is a decent pitch, and that could affect us."

    Honours even in Manchester

    Meanwhile, West Ham striker Carlton Cole put his side ahead in the eighth minute, with an acrobatic effort which saw him kick the ball over his shoulder and into the net.

    But the response was swift from Sven Goran Eriksson’s men as Darius Vassell equalised in the 16th from close range, although replays suggest he benefitted from some generous officiating.

    City, which eliminated West Ham from the FA Cup last week, now has 40 points for fifth place. West Ham remains in 10th.

    Manchester City have yet to lose at home this season, but manager Sven Goran-Eriksson said his team was close to losing that record.

    "Maybe we deserved to lose today," he said.

    "I think West Ham was the better team today so we should be thankful that we took one point at least."

    Manchester United leads the Premier League with 54 points.

    On Saturday, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a 2-0 win over Reading.

    Arsenal is second on goal difference after a 3-0 win at Fulham, while Chelsea remained four points behind the leaders with a 1-0 win at Birmingham.

    Everton is fourth with 42 points, followed by Manchester City with 40.

    Liverpool and Aston Villa, who play each other Monday, both have 39 points.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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