Chelsea loss lets United move level

Lee Bowyer’s first-half strike proved the difference at St Andrew’s
as the champions lost for the third time in four games. Patrice
Evra and Javier Hernandez grabbed the goals in Manchester United’s
2-0 win over nine-man Wigan at Old Trafford, as Wayne Rooney made
his comeback off the bench. Bolton thrashed 10-man Newcastle 5-1,
Blackpool beat Wolves 2-1 at Bloomfield Road, while Stoke triumphed
3-0 at West Brom. At Birmingham, Bowyer latched onto a header from
Cameron Jerome to slide the ball home from eight yards in the 17th
minute to hand Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues their second successive
loss. Bowyer’s goal came against the run of play and Chelsea were
denied an equaliser when Ben Foster produced a fine save to deny
Didier Drogba, who also hit the woodwork. Foster then pulled off a
string of fine saves in the second-half to keep Chelsea at bay. The
Blues now lead at the top only on goal difference over Manchester
United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side took advantage of Chelsea’s slip
by recording a 2-0 victory over Wigan. Patrice Evra’s first goal in
three-and-a-half years in first-half injury time and a 77th-minute
header from Javier Hernandez earned United all three points to move
them level on points at the top with Chelsea. Wigan’s task was made
worse by red cards for Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega in the
space of three minutes in the second-half. First Alcaraz went for a
second bookable offence and he was followed by Rodallega, who
received a straight for two-footed lunge at Rafael da Silva.
Bolton’s recent run of rich form continued at home to Newcastle as
goals from Kevin Davies (two penalties), Lee Chung-yong and a brace
from Johan Elmander gave them an emphatic 5-1 win over 10-man
Newcastle. The victory moved Bolton up to fourth in the table.
Davies tucked home an 18th-minute penalty after Kevin Nolan was
penalised for handball and Lee made it two in the 39th minute after
United failed to clear a Matt Taylor shot that had hit the
woodwork. Elmander scored his seventh of the season in the 50th
minute but newly-capped England international Andy Carroll reduced
the arrears two minutes later. However, Elmander grabbed his second
of the game in the 72nd minute before Fabricio Coloccini was
red-carded for elbowing Elmander. Davies completed the rout by
scoring his second penalty in added time. Blackpool beat Wolves 2-1
thanks to first-half goals from Luke Varney and Marlon Harewood at
Bloomfield Road. Varney slammed a volley into the top corner for a
stunning opening goal in the 3rd minute and then Wolves goalkeeper
Marcus Hahnemann flapped at a corner to allow Harewood to bundle
home a minute before the break. Kevin Doyle scored an 86th-minute
consolation goal for Wolves. Three second-half goals, two from the
penalty spot, saw Stoke earn their third win in a row with a 3-0
success over West Brom at The Hawthorns. West Brom goalkeeper Scott
Carson brought down Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones inside the box and
Matthew Etherington coolly converted the first spot-kick in the
55th minute. Albion’s Simon Cox then fouled Dean Whitehead and
substitute Jon Walters fired home the second penalty five minutes
from time. Walters then grabbed his second of the game to complete
the scoring in added time.