Wolverhampton Wanderers improved their chances of staying in the Premier League when they beat local rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in a keenly fought derby to pull out of the relegation zone yesterday.
Wolves capitalized on poor defending by their neighbors to score twice in 13 minutes during the first half through Stephen Fletcher and Adlene Guedioura, before Fletcher added a third goal after another defensive mistake by Abdoulaye Meite two minutes after halftime.
West Brom, who have climbed to safety after a run of good results since Roy Hodgson took over as coach in February, replied when Peter Odemwingie scored for the fifth successive league match with a penalty in the 55th minute after Guedioura tripped Jerome Thomas in the box.
Thomas then smashed a shot against Wolves’ post to keep Mick McCarthy’s side under pressure, but Wolves held on for three precious points and only their second win against their neighbors in 11 matches in all competitions during the past decade.
In Saturday’s action, Tottenham Hotspur failed to take advantage of a slip-up by Champions League rivals Manchester City as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Premier League strugglers Blackpool.
Jermain Defoe equalized for Spurs a minute from time at White Hart Lane after Blackpool’s Charlie Adam had missed and then scored from the penalty spot in the space of 70 seconds.
Tottenham are now six points behind City, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League place.
However, victory would have seen them move closer ahead of their midweek trip to Eastlands following City’s 2-1 defeat at Everton.
Heurelho Gomes produced a fine save to deny Adam after Spurs defender Michael Dawson was penalized for handball in the box.
However, the erratic Brazilian goalkeeper went from hero to zero when he fumbled a corner and was ruled by referee Lee Probert to have brought down Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
This time Adam, who could have been red-carded minutes earlier for a challenge on Gareth Bale that saw the Spurs star carried off on a stretcher, blasted the ball to Gomes’s right to give the Tangerines the lead with 14 minutes left.
The draw saw Blackpool stay above the relegation zone on goal difference alone with two games of the season left.
West Ham United remained rooted to the bottom of the table despite a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn Rovers and are three points shy of safety, while Wigan Athletic also stayed in the bottom three following their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
At St James’ Park, Newcastle United piled on more misery for Birmingham City with a 2-1 win.
At the Reebok, Bolo Zenden put Sunderland ahead before halftime against Bolton Wanderers.
The hosts drew level three minutes from time when striker Ivan Klasnic headed in Rodrigo Moreno’s cross, but Sunderland snatched a late winner to win 2-1 when Bolton defender Zat Knight turned Sulley Muntari’s shot into his own net.