Manchester United FC lost their place at the summit of the FA Premiership for a few hours but regained it in style, as they responded to Liverpool FC's away victory at Middlesbrough FC with a remarkable 5-3 win at West Ham United FC.
United trail twice
West Ham twice led in the first half, through goals on eight and 20 minutes from Steve Lomas and Frédéric Kanouté. Yet both times United replied swiftly, through David Beckham and Nicky Butt, the latter a 22-minute header.
United took charge in the second half, goals from Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer making it 4-2 and although Jermain Defoe's 78th-minute effort gave the home side hope of a late comeback, Beckham's second goal of the game - via the penalty spot - sealed United's win.
Liverpool had moved to the top of the table after beating Middlesbrough 2-1 in the day's early kick-off at the Riverside stadium. England striker Emile Heskey put the visitors ahead from close range in the 33rd minute and John Arne Riise added a second four minutes from time. Gareth Southgate headed a goal back for Middlesbrough in the 89th minute.
Arsenal play tomorrow
United now have 64 points from 31 matches and Liverpool 62. Arsenal FC, who have played two games fewer, have 60 points but can overtake Liverpool by beating Aston Villa FC tomorrow.
Moyes makes winning start
At the other end of the table, David Moyes enjoyed a winning start as Everton FC's new manager, with a 2-1 home victory over Fulham FC. Moyes replaced the sacked Walter Smith on Thursday and saw his new side take the lead after just 31 seconds through a fierce strike from David Unsworth.
Gravesen sent off
A poor clearance from Edwin van der Sar let in Duncan Ferguson for the second on 13 minutes, but Everton then lost Thomas Gravesen to a second yellow card shortly before the half-hour. Steed Malbranque's 52nd-minute finish ensured a nervy second half for the Merseysiders.
Derby County FC took the honours in the day's relegation six-pointer with Bolton Wanderers FC at the Reebok stadium. The visitors opened the scoring after 22 minutes through Malcolm Christie and although Ricardo Gardner fired Bolton level just 30 seconds into the second half, Fabrizio Ravanelli restored Derby's lead six minutes later. Danny Higginbotham's late penalty made it 3-1 after goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had been sent off for deliberate handball. Second-bottom Derby are now just a point behind Bolton, who occupy the third relegation place.
Chelsea FC climbed to within three points of fourth-placed Newcastle United FC - and a UEFA Champions League place - with a 4-0 home win over Sunderland AFC. William Gallas gave the Londoners a half-time lead, and goals in the final 20 minutes from Eidur Gudjohnsen, Mikael Forssell and Sam dalla Bonna secured a handsome victory.
Shearer misses penalty
Newcastle United FC captain Alan Shearer missed a last-minute penalty as Ipswich Town FC earned a crucial point with a 2-2 draw at St James' Park. Marcus Bent twice put Ipswich in front - on 50 and 63 minutes - but first Laurent Robert's free-kick on the hour and then Shearer's header after 88 minutes restored parity. However, Shearer then failed from the spot after Clarence Acuña had been fouled.
Pahars rescues point
The bottom club, Leicester City FC, let slip a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Southampton FC. Brian Deane struck twice in five minutes for Leicester midway through the first half but Marian Pahars headed Southampton back into the match on 29 minutes his 87th-minute penalty rescued a point for the home side.
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