West Ham United FC picked up three crucial points in their campaign to avoid relegation from the English Premiership with a 2-1 win at fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion FC.
The east London club began the game second from bottom and a point behind their hosts, but gave themselves hope of victory when English international Trevor Sinclair put them ahead on the stroke of half-time, having earlier missed from four metres. Daniele Dichio equalised for West Brom, but Sinclair headed in a rebound after Les Ferdinand hit the bar with 23 minutes to go, and thanks to a string of fine saves from visiting goalkeeper David James, West Ham held on to win on move to within three points of 17th-placed Bolton Wanderers FC.
After the match, James admitted: "No other result would have done us any good. That was one of our must-win games. It's the first win of the six we feel we need." West Brom manager Gary Megson, whose side are now 19th, six points away from safety, said: "It has been the story of our season - that we create chances and we do not take them."
Strugglers defeated Liverpool
Birmingham City FC also boosted their hopes of survival as they beat Liverpool FC 2-1. Visiting manager Gérard Houllier had said this week that seventh-placed Liverpool could not afford to lose again this season if they were to return to the UEFA Champions League. But those hopes were disappointed when Stephen Clemence put Birmingham ahead just after the half-hour and Clinton Morrison doubled the lead 22 minutes from the end.
Although Michael Owen pulled one back in the 77th minute, Liverpool could not secure an equaliser, and remain five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea FC. Birmingham, who secured their first victory in ten Premiership games, are up to 16th, six points away from the relegation zone.
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