Fulham, Bolton boost survival hopes; Everton held

April 13th, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 13 (DPA) Fulham and Bolton Wanderers boosted their hopes of survival with crucial wins in the English Premiership, while another relegation-threatened side, Birmingham City, dented Everton’s hopes of claiming the last Champions League berth. Goals from Brian McBride and Eric Nevland gave Fulham a 2-0 win at fellow strugglers Reading - their first away from home since September 2006 - while a tap-in from Kevin Davies was enough to give Bolton a 1-0 win over West Ham United Saturday.

With four games to go, Fulham are still second-from-bottom, but they now have 27 points, while Bolton have 29, two points behind Birmingham City, who drew 1-1 at home with Everton.

“It was a good victory because we played well enough to deserve it and we hit the woodwork three times,” Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said.

“We defended more solidly than last week and we kept them at bay.

“We would have a far better chance of staying up if there were eight or so games left. We have 12 points to fight for and this performance has given me hope that we might get some miraculous escape.”

Reading manager Steve Coppell had no excuses for his side’s defeat, a scoreline that could have been even worse after Fulham hit the woodwork on three occasions.

“We can’t complain that they didn’t deserve it,” Coppell said. “I am at a loss to explain why we played so badly.

“They had the initiative once they scored the first goal. They looked solid and we never got near them. Not too many of my players have been in a relegation battle and we looked nervous.

“If we had got a good result then we would have been in a good position for the last four games.”

Joleon Lescott put Everton ahead on 78 minutes but a brilliant free kick from Mauro Zarate (82) gave Birmingham a vital point and put them just one point behind Reading.

Aston Villa moved to within a point of sixth-placed Portsmouth with a crushing 6-0 win at already-relegated Derby County, but the FA Cup finalists extended that to a two-point lead after holding Newcastle to a 0-0 draw at home in the later game.

Sunderland are not quite safe yet after they lost 2-1 at home to Manchester City, leaving them stuck on 36 points.

Tottenham Hotspur shared a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in the other match.

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