Barclays Premier League

Reds thwarted by Norwich

2011-10-22 21:00
Luis Suarez (AP)

London - Liverpool lost ground in the race for a top-four Premier League finish on Saturday after being held to a 1-1 draw by promoted Norwich at Anfield.

The Merseysiders looked to be on course for a comfortable victory after a one-sided first half which saw them hit the woodwork twice before a Craig Bellamy goal on half-time put them 1-0 up.

But a superb goal on the counter-attack from Grant Holt in the 60th minute stunned Liverpool.

Liverpool could have snatched victory in the fourth minute of injury time but Luis Suarez was denied by a magnificent John Ruddy save and Paul Lambert's Canaries held on for a deserved share of the points.

The draw left Liverpool four points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle, who cemented their place in the top four after a late goal from Yohan Cabaye handed them a 1-0 victory over struggling Wigan at St James' Park.

With Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all playing on Sunday, the unbeaten Magpies had the opportunity to keep the pressure on the top clubs against lowly Wigan.

For long periods Alan Pardew's men were frustrated by a disciplined Wigan side until Cabaye struck in the 81st minute to the delight of the Toon Army.

"Yohan is a really class player and he brings an elegance to us that everybody really appreciates," Pardew said. "He's hit a real cracker to get up and running."

The win left Newcastle level on points with Chelsea but trailing the Londoners on goal difference ahead of their derby with QPR on Sunday.

The defeat saw Wigan slump to the foot of the table with only five points from nine matches this season.

Elsewhere Saturday, Sunderland eased the pressure on manager Steve Bruce with a hard-fought 2-0 win at relegation-threatened Bolton.

Sunderland's victory at the Reebok Stadium came courtesy of goals in the final eight minutes from Stephane Sessegnon and on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

At Villa Park, West Brom came from behind to down 10-man Aston Villa 2-1 for a win which lifted Roy Hodgson's side into the top half of the table.

Darren Bent fired Villa ahead on 23 minutes with a penalty after Baggies keeper Ben Foster tripped Gabriel Agbonlahor.

But Villa were reduced to 10 men when Chris Herd was sent off for a straight red card offence in an off-the-ball tangle with Jonas Olsson which also saw West Brom awarded a penalty.

Northern Ireland international Chris Brunt missed the resulting spot-kick but atoned for his howler on the stroke of half-time, when his corner was headed in by Olsson for 1-1.

Austrian international Paul Scharner put West Brom 2-1 up on 57 minutes when he hooked in past Shay Given.

In the early kick-off Wolves staged a dramatic late fightback to deny Swansea their first away win of the season, scoring twice in the final six minutes to snatch a 2-2 draw at Molineux.

Swansea appeared to be cruising to victory after outplaying Wolves for much of an entertaining contest and opening up a 2-0 lead through first-half goals from Danny Graham and Joe Allen.

But with Wolves' sixth straight defeat looming, Mick McCarthy's men somehow dragged themselves back into the contest with a goal from Kevin Doyle on 84 minutes before Jamie O'Hara grabbed an 86th-minute leveller.

The result came as a relief to the beleaguered McCarthy, who had seen his players booed after Swansea's second goal and was subjected to angry taunts from home fans during the second half.

McCarthy later declined to comment on the home fans booing of his team.

"It's not for me to discuss," he told Sky Sports. "Let's just emphasise all the positives. All the nonsense that goes on, we'll deal with that another time."

Swansea boss Brendan Rogers was left frustrated after watching victory slip away from his team in the final 10 minutes.

"For 80 minutes we were outstanding," he said.

"Maybe we just went backwards with our passing too much. We need to manage the game better but I have to give massive credit to the players."

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