Today's football headlines
• Reading claim the result of the day, coming back from 0-2 down to beat West Brom 3-2 at home.
• Chelsea smash Stoke 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium, where Jonathan Walters scored two own goals and missed a penalty.
• Aston Villa are in the bottom three, after losing at home to Southampton.
• Sunderland are the only other team to win, easing past West Ham 3-0. Three of today's eight top-flight games, including the early kick-off, finish goalless, while Wigan drew 1-1 at Norwich.
• Port Vale beat Gillingham to leapfrog their opponents and rise to top of League Two.
• Elsewhere in the Football League, Chris Wood scores a first-half hat-trick as Leicester beat Bristol City 4-0, and Colchester lose their ninth match on the spin, and their 12th in 13 games, 2-1 at home to Scunthorpe.
• It's been great. Well, above average. Thanks, and bye!
Final score: Fulham 1-1 Wigan
And that's yer lot for today. Of the other games I was keeping half an eye on, Cardiff and Ipswich drew 0-0, Watford beat Middlesbrough 2-1, and Port Vale beat Gillingham 2-1 to go top of League Two.
Final score: Everton 0-0 Swansea; Sunderland 3-0 West Ham
Meanwhile at Craven Cottage, where they are in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Figueroa excellently heads Ruiz's shot off the line.
Final scores: Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton; Stoke 0-4 Chelsea
Two big away wins, though big in different ways. The first, of massive importance at the bottom of the table. The second, just plain massive.
Final score: Reading 3-2 West Brom
The question is: Reading or Chelsea for first game on Match of the Day? Anyway, ruddy marvelous result for the Royals. Mazel tov.
Final score: Norwich 0-0 Newcastle
By all accounts a dismal game, but the last action brought a chance for Norwich to win it, but Pilkington headed over at the far post.
Yes they can! Reading 3-2 West Brom (Pogrebnyak)
Just 20 minutes ago this looked like an afternoon with very few redeeming features, a night to give Match of the Day a miss. Not any more – Reading have redeemed the Premier League's reputation for dramatic storylines, with an eight-minute, three-goal turnaround. Thanks!
GOAL! Reading 2-2 West Brom (Le Fondre, penalty)
Le Fondre completes Reading's comeback. Could they win this?
Penalty to Reading!
Favourite football phrases
I'm a big fan of "…and the referee's blown up!". Tony Cottee with a brilliant example on Soccer Saturday, as he reports on a bit of argy-bargy at Villa Park. Never fails to make me smile.
GOAL! Reading 1-2 West Brom (Kebe)
Reading are back in it, Kebe heading in McCleary's cross after Le Fondre missed/dummied it. And Del Bosque must have known something nobody else did – within 120 seconds of his departure Michu's game is over, as Graham replaces him.
John Terry is back! Chelsea bring him on, his first appearance since November, to replace Mata. And Watford miss a brilliant chance to extend their 1-0 lead at Middlesbrough.
Vincente Del Bosque has obviously seen all he needs to see of Michu – he's left Goodison Park, with the scores still tied at 0-0.
"On the coverage I'm watching in Canada, the colour commentator suggested that Chelsea let Walters take the penalty," reports Reid Finlayson. Now that I'd love to see.
GOAL! Sunderland 3-0 West Ham (McClean)
Sessegnon attempts one of those shots that's so bad it turns into an assist, and McClean slides it in.
GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Wigan (Di Santo)
That's a lovely goal. Di Santo picks up the ball on the left flank, cuts inside a couple of useless challenges, gets inside the penalty area and, from 16 yards or so, shoots in at the far post.
GOAL! Stoke 0-4 Chelsea (Hazard)
"An absolute worldy," according to Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday.
"Has there ever been an own hat trick?" asks Kristian Brock, with Jon Walters very much on one. Not that I know of, though he's not the first to score two. Walters is still some way off the all-time greatest solo scoring performance, by Chris Nicholl for Aston Villa at Leicester in the 70s, when he scored all four in a 2-2 draw.
GOAL! Stoke 0-3 Chelsea (Lampard pen)
And that is game very much over. Mata wins the penalty – contact very much uncertain, apparently – and Lampard converts.
GOAL! Stoke 0-2 Chelsea (Walters og)
That's a brace of own goals from Walters, this a header from a corner as he competed with Lampard for the cross. Their unbeaten home record looks a little shaky at this point.
Wigan hit the bar! It's Maloney, who carries the ball across the penalty area and then shoots with his left foot, back across goal. Schwarzer touches the ball on its way onto the bar!
Great shot! N'Zonzi, for Stoke, has the ball 20-odd yards from goal and with few options ahead of him, so has a shy on goal. Very nice it is too, and would have flown in just under the bar had Cech not tipped it over. Regulation save, to be fair, but a pretty shot all the same.
Villa miss a sitter!
A low, hard shot from about 20 yards bounces off Boruc and loops to Benteke, who heads high of the empty net.
The two faces of Tony Pulis
Here are two lovely pictures of Tony Pulis, the first taken before kick-off, the second at half-time. Looks like he didn't enjoy those opening 45 minutes much.
GOAL! Sunderland 2-0 West Ham (Johnson)
West Ham engage in some ludicrous comedy defending, decide it's actually not such a great idea to clear the ball, and Johnson nips in toput Sunderland two up. McClean had taken the original shot, which was saved.
Peeeeeeep! They're off! Well, they are at Norwich. The rest will follow shortly.
Incidentally, Tony Pulis was absolutely apoplectic about something at half-time, though there didn't seem to be anything particularly controversial about Chelsea's goal. I'm sure we'll hear more about whatever's bothering him in due course.
It's now half time everywhere. Deep breath, long drink. More imminently.
Southampton are still pressing at Villa Park, this time cutting in from the right and, in pretty much a mirror image of their last attack, carrying the ball to the byline at the edge of the six-yard box, and then pulling it low across goal. This time it gets past Guzan, but is cleared by a defender at the near post.
GOAL! Stoke 0-1 Chelsea (Walters og)
A 47th-minute own-goal gives Chelsea the lead at Stoke. Azpilicueta crosses from the right, and just as Mata looks set to score with a header, of all things, Walters dives in and nods it home himself.
"West Ham's inconsistent season continues," complains David Heffernan. "We can't seem to get a hold of the ball at the Stadium of Light. We have conceded seven fouls and have had one shot. The only consistent thing about this performance is that we have conceded an early goal. I really thought we might be able to give Sunderland a scare."
Half-time at Norwich, where so little has happened that the referee doesn't bother with stoppage time.
Good chance for Southampton! Shaw cuts in from the left wing, and runs fairly unmolested until he's just seven yards from goal. He tries to cut the ball across goal, but it's too close to the keeper and comes off Guzan and just the right side of the post, for a corner.
Chris Wood has now scored a hat-trick for Leicester at Bristol City. That's 17 goals this season, and nine in his last five games, for the big Kiwi. Leicester are 3-0 up.
Chelsea are now dominant at Stoke, but it's 2-2 on shots on target, and remains 0-0 on goals. And as I write that, Whelan's half-volley is caught by Cech, making it 3-2 on shots.
"As an Evertonian I have always found it hard to reconcile myself with the fact that so many fellow fans were ready to even consider leaving Goodison," writes Peter Dickinson. "Our stadium is not just a massive part of Everton's identity – it is also an important monument in terms of world football history. After all, it was the original top-flight, purpose-built English home ground. In an age of corporate clubs when it is increasingly hard for the common man to love the beautiful game, all football fans should cherish the old school romance of Goodison Park." Lovely sentiments, Peter. Huzzah!
GOAL! Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton (Lambert)
A perfect penalty from Lambert, who sends the keeper the wrong way. The penalty was however awarded for a ludicrous penalty-area dive.
GOAL! Fulham 1-0 Wigan (Karagounis)
I turn to my right, where four matches are running on a second screen. One of them has frozen. While I reload, Chris Kamara pops up on Soccer Saturday to inform me that I'm too late – I've missed another ruddy goal. I sort it out just in time to see the end of the last replay, and can confirm that the ball did indeed make contact with net, and that Karagounis looked very happy about it.
"Anyone who still maintains that it's only the foreigners who dive really should be watching this Stoke game," writes Brendan Large. "Charlie Adam has been sprawled on the floor three times already with minimal contact each time. Andre Mariner is obviously a believer as each has resulted in a free-kick."
Crikey. And here's a stat.
GOAL! Gillingham 1-2 Port Vale (Kedwell)
That'll learn me.
GOAL! Gillingham 0-2 Port Vale (Hughes)
Lee Hughes puts Port Vale two up at Gillingham, and it looks like they may well end the day at the top of League Two.
GOAL! Reading 0-1 West Bromwich Albion (Lukaku)
The second Premier League goal of the afternoon, and it's come in another match I'm not monitoring. I'm seriously failing pretty badly at English roulette. At Villa, the fans are rapturously applauding, which can only mean that it's the 19th minute (when they show their support for Stiliyan Petrov).
Capital One Cup hero Nahki Wells has put Bradford 1-0 up at home to Oxford. And that's a wonderful saving tackle from Watford's Ekstrand to deny Middlesbrough an apparently certain goal.
Chris Wood has scored again for Leicester. Is he not in line for the PFA Player of the Year award? What a season he's having. They're 1-0 up at Bristol City.
GOAL! Sunderland 1-0 West Ham (Larsson)
Inevitably, the goal arrives in a match I'm not watching. Matt Le Tissier, though, is extraordinarily excited about it. Apparently something of a screamer from the Scandinavian scuttler.
"The last week of the BPL I chose to watch West Ham, as that is who I support from afar," writes Richard Johnson. "The game had one goal scored very early on while elsewhere goals were flying in left, right and centre. Should I support my team or go for an entertaining game?" Now that's my kind of gambling – the kind that involves no personal financial risk, just a couple of hours of my totally free time. Close your eyes and point at the fixture list, and go with the fates. English roulette, if you like.
I've already given up on Sunderland as I couldn't find a decent dodgy internet feed, and switched to Fulham, plus I've added Middlesbrough v Watford to my list of live matches. Phrases including the words "bite", "chew" and "more" spring to mind.
Chance for Stoke! The ball breaks to Kenwyne Jones, on the left side of the penalty area but just a yard or so wide of goal, but he slides his shot across goal and wide.
Today I'll be miserably failing to simultaneously watch the matches at Stoke, Norwich, Villa and Sunderland, while monitoring Twitter, my emails and Soccer Saturday and writing very occasional updates for the reading world. So I would like to say, at this early stage: sorry.
Peeeeeep! They're off!
Let me know if you're actually at a football match and fancy contributing occasional very brief updates. This just in from Everton fan Gary Naylor: "My first time at Goodison for a couple of years. I was all for the new stadium, but it's a privilege to look around the grand old ground and 'see myself' standing there in 1977 when Andy King scored and sitting there in 1994 when Barry Horne scored. And lots and lots more memories. It's not an exaggeration to say that this ground is the most fixed point of my life. Perhaps we should stay – always."
I'm all for that. I definitely feel a link to the geography of my club, not just a succession of players and managers, a name and some colours.
The players are out across the country, action is imminent. Gird those loins!
"Just wondering why you're typing everything in the past tense – 'Swansea made four changes' etc. Have you been sent from the future to cover Clockwatch?" asks Mark Gilles. "If so, can you tip me off regarding final scores before I place some bets?" Sadly, I am not from the future. Surely, now the team-sheets have been handed in, the changes have been made and thus the past is the appropriate tense? Also, I just copied and pasted all of those bits from the Press Association.
Early entry for Stat of the Day competition…
Ba in Chelsea team, Torres on the bench
Fernando Torres made way for Demba Ba as the January signing made his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon. Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand also came in from the side beaten by Swansea in the Capital One Cup in midweek while defender Gary Cahill was absent to be at the birth of his son. John Terry joined Torres among the substitutes for the first time since suffering knee ligament damage two months ago while Stoke boss Tony Pulis made only one change from their last Premier League game, Matthew Etherington replacing Cameron Jerome.
Shane Long misses out on Reading return
The Portuguese midfielder Daniel Carrico was given his Reading debut against West Brom after completing a £600,000 move from Sporting Lisbon. Reading were back at full strength following their FA Cup win against Crawley, with Caricco the only change from the side that lost at Tottenham on their last Barclays Premier League outing. West Brom's Jerome Thomas made his first league appearance of the season while Jonas Olsson, Ben Foster and Graham Dorrans all returned to the side after missing the FA Cup draw with QPR. Shane Long, having been the focus for much of the build-up, isn't even on the bench.
John O'Shea and Stephane Sessegnon returned from injury as Martin O'Neill's fortunes took a turn for the better ahead of Sunderland's home match against West Ham. The Republic of Ireland international resumed after a hamstring strain with Carlos Cuellar and Danny Rose missing out with similar problems, while Sessegnon replaced Phil Bardsley, and there was a seat on the bench for new signing Alfred N'Diaye. The Hammers manager, Sam Allardyce, welcomed back Winston Reid and Matt Jarvis as James Tomkins and Ricardo Vaz Te made way, and there was a place among the substitutes for loan signing Marouane Chamakh.
Final score: QPR 0-0 Tottenham
The day's first Premier League result, and though it was a fairly entertaining game the highlights won't make it look very good, I fear.
Vincente del Bosque is at Everton v Swansea
Leighton Baines proved his fitness to feature in Everton's match against Capital One Cup semi-finalists Swansea at Goodison Park. Steven Pienaar returned in place of Bryan Oviedo in the only change made by David Moyes following last weekend's FA Cup win at Cheltenham. Swansea made four changes after their dramatic midweek cup win at Chelsea with Michel Vorm, Nathan Dyer, Dwight Tiendalli and Kemy Agustien all coming in. The Spanish quartet of Michu, Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez and Angel Rangel were hoping to catch the eye of watching national team boss Vincente del Bosque.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert made four changes for the relegation encounter with Southampton. Brad Guzan, Enda Stevens, Brett Holman and Ashley Westwood replaced the injured Shay Given, the ill Joe Bennett, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Barry Bannan respectively. Saints' leading scorer, Rickie Lambert, who has eight goals this season, returned to the side after being rested for the FA Cup tie with Chelsea but the injured centre-back Jose Fonte made way for Jos Hooiveld.
Debuchy gets Newcastle debut
Alan Pardew named Fabricio Coloccini in Newcastle's starting line-up at Norwich despite the fact the defender has asked to leave the club. The Argentina centre-back, who has been linked with a move to San Lorenzo, lined up in a Newcastle side that also included debutant Mathieu Debuchy. Norwich captain Grant Holt was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench so Chris Hughton started with Simeon Jackson as the Canaries' lone striker.
Fulham and Wigan both made a number of changes for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League encounter at Craven Cottage, reports the Press Association. Mark Schwarzer, Mladen Petric, Damien Duff and Kieran Richardson all started for the Cottagers after missing last weekend's FA Cup third round draw with Blackpool. Only David Jones, Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa remained in the Wigan starting line-up after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bournemouth.
Premier League teams
I'll put all the Premier League teams here as soon as I get them. You may have to manually refresh in order to see the latest updates.
Aston Villa v Southampton
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Stevens, Holman, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Benteke, Weimann. Subs: Marshall, Vlaar, Ireland, Agbonlahor, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Rodriguez, Cork, Schneiderlin, Puncheon, Ramirez, Lambert. Subs: Kelvin Davis, Steven Davis, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Lee, Seaborne, De Ridder.
Referee: Mark Halsey.
Everton v Swansea
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Anichebe, Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Vellios, Kennedy, Duffy.
Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Agustien, Ki, Rangel, Dyer, Michu, Hernandez. Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Britton, Graham, Routledge, Monk, De Guzman.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Fulham v Wigan
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Richardson, Duff, Karagounis, Ruiz, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Petric. Subs: Stockdale, Riise, Senderos, Baird, Kasami, Rodallega, Dejagah.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Figueroa, Caldwell, Ramis, Beausejour, McArthur, Jones, Boyce, McCarthy, Maloney, Di Santo. Subs: Pollitt, Henriquez, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Stam, Golobart.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Norwich v Newcastle
Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Pilkington, Johnson, Tettey, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Jackson. Subs: Rudd, Holt, Fox, Elliott Bennett, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Kane.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Perch, Anita, Obertan, Marveaux, Gutierrez, Cisse. Subs: Harper, Cabaye, Amalfitano, Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi, Ranger, Tavernier.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Reading v West Brom
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte, Kebe, Karacan, Daniel Carrico, Guthrie, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Le Fondre, Hunt, McCleary, Morrison, Cummings, Akpan.
West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Thorne, Brunt, Dorrans, Morrison, Thomas, Lukaku. Subs: Myhill, Popov, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Dawson, Tamas, Nabi.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Stoke v Chelsea
Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington, Adam, Jones. Subs: Sorensen, Whitehead, Upson, Kightly, Crouch, Shotton, Jerome.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Hazard, Lampard, Ramires, Bertrand, Mata, Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Oscar, Ferreira, Marin, Terry, Ake.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Sunderland v West Ham
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback, Johnson, Vaughan, Larsson, McClean, Fletcher, Sessegnon. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, N'Diaye, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Kilgallon.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, Potts, Collison, Diarra, Joe Cole, Nolan, Jarvis, Carlton Cole. Subs: Spiegel, Tomkins, Vaz Te, Taylor, Diame, Chamakh, O'Neil.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
It must be said that the two sexiest Premier League matches have been snaffled to create a super Sunday, but there’s still seven 3pm kick-offs for us to revel in this afternoon, plus a whole host of goodies further down the divisions.
First to the Championship, where first against 19th might not sound like much of a match-up, but in fact it pits two of the division's form sides against each other, with league-leading Cardiff (W6 D1 L1 in their last eight) hosting Mick McCarthy’s resurgent Ipswich (W5 D1 L2). Two top-six sides meet at the Riverside, where Middlesbrough, with the division’s second-best home record (behind Cardiff) host Watford, with the division’s second-best away record (behind Hull).
League One features a minor coincidence, as the teams sitting first, second and third play the teams playing eighth, ninth and 10th, in that order. With Swindon (fifth) visiting Bournemouth (seventh), we were a single fixture away from witnessing the entire top 10 playing each other. I guess this is a roundabout way of admitting that there doesn’t seem to be a single stand-out fixture.
The same is emphatically not true in League Two, where the leaders, Gillingham, host second-place Port Vale knowing that defeat would see them knocked off the top for the first time since August. Elsewhere in the upper reaches, fifth-placed Exeter host sixth-placed Southend.
So here, for you fixture completists, are your Saturday afternoon fixtures in full! Before that, though, my song of the week, to keep you entertained while you peruse them. No real reason why a five-year-old instrumental should get the nod this week, except that I was listening to it the other day and it was good. It was famously ruined by Jay-Z, who I don't mind normally, but the less said about that the better.
The most premier of leagues
Aston Villa v Southampton
Everton v Swansea
Fulham v Wigan
Norwich v Newcastle
Reading v West Brom
Stoke v Chelsea
Sunderland v West Ham
The title-winning ship
Barnsley v Leeds
Bolton v Millwall
Brighton v Derby
Bristol City v Leicester
Burnley v Crystal Palace
Cardiff v Ipswich
Charlton v Blackpool
Huddersfield v Birmingham
Middlesbrough v Watford
Nottm Forest v Peterborough
The league of one
Bournemouth v Swindon
Colchester v Scunthorpe
Leyton Orient v Crewe
Milton Keynes Dons v Bury
Oldham v Brentford
Portsmouth v Notts County
Sheff Utd v Yeovil
Shrewsbury v Hartlepool
Stevenage v Doncaster
Tranmere v Crawley Town
The league of two
AFC Wimbledon v Wycombe
Aldershot v Accrington Stanley
Bradford v Oxford Utd
Burton Albion v Torquay
Cheltenham v York
Chesterfield v Northampton
Dag & Red v Rochdale
Exeter v Southend
Fleetwood Town v Bristol Rovers
Gillingham v Port Vale
Plymouth v Morecambe
Rotherham v Barnet