Premier League round-up: Andros Townsend winner takes Newcastle out of bottom three, Sunderland only draw AND MORE
Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
Andros Townsend’s second-half free-kick was enough for Newcastle to move out of the bottom three, with Karl Darlow also helping his team to three vital points.
The former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper saved a penalty from ex-Magpie Yohan Cabaye, as the hosts fought hard for a much-needed victory.
Newcastle had the better of the game, managing more attempts on goal than a Palace side who looked far from their best – not for the first time in 2016.
However, it was not until the second period that they took the lead, when Townsend’s long-range free-kick flew past a flailing Wayne Hennessey at his far post.
The keeper could do little, and he was further shown up by his opposite number Darlow, when the latter saved a penalty.
Moussa Sissoko appeared to handle in the area, with Cabaye stepping up to take the spot-kick. However, the Frenchman’s attempt was not far enough in the corner, and Darlow did well to push the shot wide.
Rafa Benitez has brought a renewed defensive structure to the Tyneside club, and they never really looked likely to concede in the final stages, as Ayoze Perez, Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey all messed up chances to double the lead as the game drew to a close.
Jermain Defoe converted a late penalty to resuce a point at the Britannia Stadium, after Marko Arnautovic had taken the lead for the hosts.
Mark Hughes made a whole host of changes as he looked to halt Stoke’s recent poor run of form, and they put in a performance which was much improved over recent weeks.
Arnautovic grabbed the opening goal just after half-time, bullying Lamine Kone off the ball and firing past Vito Mannone.
Giannelli Imbula had the chance to double the lead, breaking down the middle of the pitch, but his attempt from the edge of the box curled just wide of the left post.
The missed chance came back to haunt Stoke, who let their lead slip moments before the final whistle.
Defoe looked to turn Geoff Cameron just inside the box, and the USA international only managed to clumsily bring the striker down.
There were no doubts it was a penalty, and Defoe, after taking an age to set himself up, converted the spotkick to pull the Black Cats level.
The draw leaves Sunderland in the bottom three, one point behind the victorious Newcastle with a game in hand over their local rivals.
Watford 3-2 Aston Villa
Troy Deeney bagged two injury time goals for Watford to secure a 3-2 win over Aston Villa at Vicarage Road.
The Birmingham fan hit as the game drew to a close, papering over the cracks of a poor performance from the Hornets.
Watford started strong, racking up a number of corners in the early stages, although they rarely posed a real threat to Mark Bunn in the Villa goal.
Continued misses allowed Villa to grow into the game, and it was the already-relegated side who took the lead just before the half-hour mark.
Ashley Westwood curled a corner in from the left, and Ciaran Clark was there to head low past Heurelho Gomes, courtesy of some poor defending from the hosts.
Watford were being outplayed by Villa after the goal, and Jordan Ayew struck the post with a header as they looked for a second.
However, Abdi curled a free-kick into the back of the net on the brink of injury time, pulling the scores level.
The goal should have brought renewed vigour to Watford, but Villa retook the lead minutes into the second half.
Ayew played a one-two with Rudy Gestede, and breaking through the centre of the pitch, he hit a low shot past Gomes which nestled in the back of the net.
Watford layed siege to the Villa goal for much of the second period, aided by the arrival of Steven Berghuis after 57 minutes.
The Dutch winger was a constant menace to the visitor’s defence, and he curled a cross from the right wing which Deeney headed in to the back of the net to draw level as the game moved into injury time.
However, the action was not over, and Deeney bagged his second – and the winner – after an Ighalo knockdown two minutes later, resigning Villa to another defeat.
West Brom 0-3 West Ham
Mark Noble scored twice for a dominant West Ham side, who cruised to victory over a West Brom team who offered little threat.
Despite some early pressure from the hosts, with Craig Gardner having an attempted cleared off the line in the opening stages, it was the Hammers who took the lead.
Diafra Sakho came close to converting a cross from the left, the ball just out of reach of his sliding foot, but the wings were a frequent attacking option for the Hammers, and the opening goal came from the right side of the pitch.
Winston Reid won the ball in midfield, and he played it out to Dimitri Payet on the right wing. The Frenchman dribbled into the box, crossing to the far post for Kouyate to powerfully head past Ben Foster.
Slaven Bilic’s team did not let up, and Kouyate turned provider on the cusp of half-time, setting up Noble to poke the ball into the bottom corner, placing the Hammers fully in control.
Salomon Rondon had a rare chance for the Baggies in the second half which went for a corner, but the visitors were dominating play.
It was Noble who rounded off the victory with 10 minutes remaining, with Payet once again playing a key part in the attacking move.
He dribbled through the centre of the pitch, beating two West Brom men with ease, before playing the ball out to Andy Carroll. The powerful striker chipped a pass into the centre of the box, and the in-form midfielder smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range, sealing a well deserved win for the Hammers.
Everton 2-1 Bournemouth
Everton edged a close encounter against Bournemouth, thanks to Leighton Baines’ winning goal midway through the second half.
The Toffees took an early lead, Tom Cleverley breaking the dealock inside the opening minutes. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, the midfielder knocked it onto his left foot, and he drove a low shot past Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth were not downhearted, and they got back on level terms moments later.
Marc Pugh converted from close range after being presented the ball from some shocking defending by the hosts.
Callum Wilson broke into the box from the right wing, and his cut back found it’s way to Pugh, who finished into the back of the net.
It was an open game, but neither team could grab the lead, despite both teams racking up a number of shots.
The second half continued in the same manner, but Everton showed their dominance as the period drew on.
And they grabbed a deserved second goal, Baines finishing Lennon’s cut-back to take the lead, which they held onto for the remainder of the game.