Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Stoke stun Villa as City slackers slump

AFP , LONDON

Aston Villa handed Arsenal a lifeline in their bid to bag a Champions League place as free-spending Manchester City’s away day blues worsened in the English Premier League on Sunday.

Villa blew their chance to open an eight-point gap over the Gunners as lowly visitors Stoke scored two last-gasp goals in a shock 2-2 draw at Villa Park.

Villa could have moved one point behind Chelsea and Liverpool, whose hopes of catching leaders Manchester United have all but faded.

But Stoke’s heroics left Martin O’Neill’s team three points off second and third place and only six points clear of Arsenal.

Inconsistent Manchester City were sunk 1-0 at West Ham, who moved up to seventh.

Meanwhile, Blackburn claimed a 2-1 win in a relegation battle at Hull City and Bolton beat visitors Newcastle 1-0.

Stiliyan Petrov and John Carew scored for Villa but Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross scored in the 88th minute before Glenn Whelan blasted in a superb equalizer.

The Potters remain second-bottom in the table.

Star striker Robinho had another off-key game as misfiring Manchester City lost to the Hammers, with Wales midfielder Jack Collison scoring the only goal, 71 minutes in.

“That is the beauty of football. Sometimes if you have passion and if you have belief you can be successful and I think Jack Collison is an example of all of that,” West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola said.

Blackburn gave their Premier League survival hopes a boost in a fiery game at the KC Stadium.

Stephen Warnock and Keith Andrews scored for Rovers in the first half.

Hull’s Dean Marney and Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen were sent off.

Ian Ashbee pulled a late goal back for Hull, who have just one of their last 18 league games.

Bolton boss Gary Megson saw Ricardo Gardner score the only goal of the game at home to Newcastle, having earlier agreed a new contract at the Reebok.

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