Blackburn Rovers 3 - 0 Stoke City

South Africa striker Benni McCarthy scored twice as Blackburn Rovers began life under new manager Sam Allardyce with a 3-0 win at home over Stoke City on Saturday.

The victory was only Rovers's fourth in 18 English Premier League matches and came three days after former Bolton and Newcastle boss Allardyce replaced the sacked Paul Ince. Despite a win, which ended a run of six straight defeats, Rovers remained in the relegation zone.

McCarthy put Rovers ahead at Ewood Park with a ninth-minute penalty after Ibrahima Sonko fouled Morten Gamst Pedersen. Jason Roberts added a second after Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross diverted a cross from Brett Emerton into the striker's path. McCarthy, on his 100th appearance for Rovers, made it 3-0 before the half-hour mark after being played in by forward Roberts.

West Ham United 0 - 1 Aston Villa

Aston Villa moved into the top three of the Barclays Premier League after a slice of good fortune for James Milner earned them victory over West Ham United.

The winner at Upton Park came in the 78th minute after Milner's cross deflected in off Lucas Neill, with three points allowing Martin O'Neill's men to overtake Manchester United in the table. It may be one for the dubious goals panel, but it mattered little to Milner in a week where Fabio Capello suggested he would be the next Villa youngster to get an England call-up. O'Neill's young English players have given Villa fans real hope of breaking into the top four - but an American veteran in goal is also playing his part. Brad Friedel produced a string of saves to keep the scores level when the Hammers threatened through Craig Bellamy and Carlton Cole.

West Ham remained fourth from bottom although the Londoners will drop into the relegation places if fellow strugglers Manchester City do not lose away to basement club West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola named an unchanged starting line-up following last week's 1-1 draw at the Italian's former club, Chelsea. Martin O'Neill, the Aston Villa manager, reverted to a more familiar line-up after seeing a shadow side lose 3-1 at Hamburg in midweek in a UEFA Cup game where nothing but pride had been at stake.

Fulham 3 - 0 Middlesbrough

Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard showed the west London club what they would be missing if he is allowed to leave by scoring the opening goal in his side's 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Bullard is trying to negotiate an extension to his current contract, which expires at the end of next season. But talks have reached a stalemate and Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson hinted on Friday that could lead to the player being sold before he loses value. But judging Bullard's inspirational performance at Craven Cottage, it would be a foolhardy move to let him leave.

Bullard opened the scoring just before half-time and goals after the break from Danny Murphy, who slotted home a penalty, and American midfielder Clint Dempsey secured a sixth home win of the season to move Fulham up to eighth in the Premier League. Middlesbrough have gone six matches without a win and the spectre of a relegation battle is hanging over Gareth Southgate's team.

Current results;

Blackburn Rovers 3 - 0 Stoke City
Bolton Wonderers 2 - 1 Portsmouth
Fulham 3 - 0 Middlesbrough
Hull City 1 - 4 Sunderland
West Ham United 0 - 1 Aston Villa
West Bromwich ? - ? Manchester C.
Newcastle United ? - ? Tottenham H.
Arsenal ? - ? Liverpool
Everton ? - ? Chelsea


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