Wolves stun Man Utd on day of drama

LONDON, Feb 5, 2011 (AFP) - Manchester United crashed to their first defeat of the season in a shock 2-1 loss at bottom club Wolves on Saturday after a day of drama and record goal-scoring across the Premier League.

League leaders United, who had started to entertain dreams of emulating Arsenal and Preston North End as the only clubs to go through a whole season unbeaten, saw their run end abruptly at Molineux.

A superb individual goal by winger Nani had fired United ahead on three minutes but Wolves equalised with a fine header by fullback George Elokobi.

Five minutes before half-time Kevin Doyle was deemed to have got the final touch on a Nenad Milijas free-kick to put Mick McCarthy's side 2-1 up.

Despite furious late pressure from Sir Alex Ferguson's side, Wolves held on to record a victory which gives the rest of United's title rivals hope.

"We are disappointed obviously. It's been a long run for us. The players have done us all proud but today in the second half we didn't really get going," Ferguson told ESPN afterwards.

"We are not looking at the people below us, we are looking at ourselves.

"It was an opportunity for us to continue the great run we are on. The consistency we have shown in the last two months has been terrific so this was a great disappointment."

The result reduced United's lead over second-placed Arsenal to four points with both sides having played 25 games each. Wolves however remain bottom, behind West Ham on goals scored.

The Gunners would have narrowed the deficit even further had they not squandered a 4-0 lead in an extraordinary game against Newcastle at St James Park which finished 4-4.

Arsenal looked to be cruising after goals from Robin Van Persie (2), Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou put them 4-0 up after 26 minutes.

However the sending off of Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby gave Newcastle a way back into the game and the Magpies produced a stunning fightback to draw courtesy of two Joey Barton penalties, a Leon Best strike and a rasping volley from Cheik Tiote on 87 minutes.

A total of 41 goals were scored across Saturday's eight games, shattering the previous record of 36 scored in a single day of the Premier League.

Third-placed Manchester City swept to a comfortable win over West Bromwich Albion at Eastlands, birthday boy Carlos Tevez netting a first-half hat-trick in a 3-0 victory.

Tevez's treble included two from the penalty spot as the Argentinian took his goals tally for the season to 18.

In a dramatic match at White Hart Lane, Niko Kranjcar struck a 90th-minute winner for Tottenham in a 2-1 victory over Bolton.

Rafael Van der Vaart put Spurs ahead from the penalty spot on six minutes, and looked to have doubled his tally moments later when he buried a second spot-kick only for the kick to be retaken for encroachment. Van der Vaart shot the same way but his effort went wide.

Bolton looked to have done enough to earn a share of the points courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge equaliser but Kranjcar's strike settled it for Spurs.

Elsewhere, Fulham twice came from behind to grab a share of the points in a 2-2 draw away to Aston Villa.

An own-goal from John Pantsil gave Villa the lead on 13 minutes before Fulham hit back through Andrew Johnson on 52 minutes. Kyle Walker put Villa 2-1 up but Fulham's US international midfielder Clint Dempsey equalised.

At Goodison Park, Louis Saha struck four goals as Everton came from behind to score a dramatic 5-3 win over Blackpool.

The Toffees twice took the lead through Saha only for the Seasiders to level through Alex Baptiste and Jason Puncheon.

Charlie Adam put Blackpool 3-2 up but Saha grabbed his third on 76 minutes before Jermaine Beckford struck a superb volley 10 minutes from time to make it 4-3. Saha then grabbed his fourth to complete the scoring.

At the DW Stadium, relegation-threatened Wigan scored a vital 4-3 victory over Blackburn in a see-saw battle.

Jason Roberts fired Blackburn into the lead before the struggling Latics drew level through James McCarthy.

Hugo Rodallega and McCarthy's second put Wigan 3-1 up, and although Blackburn pulled one back through Chris Samba, Ben Watson restored the home side's two-goal cushion from the penalty spot.

Yet David Dunn ensured a tense finale with a spot-kick on 81 minutes for Rovers as the goals continued but Wigan held on.

In the early kick-off, Robert Huth scored two goals in the final 10 minutes as Stoke City came from behind to defeat Sunderland 3-2.

German defender Huth struck the winning goal in injury time after earlier equalising on 83 minutes to cancel out an Asamoah Gyan strike that had given Sunderland a 2-1 lead.

Sunderland had taken the lead through Kieran Richardson after two minutes before Stoke's new loan signing John Carew hit back on 32 minutes.

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