The Sports Matrix: Monday 7 March 2011

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The Independent Online

Fletcher secures point in thriller

Steven Fletcher headed a late equaliser at Molineux as Wolves drew 3-3 with Tottenham. Kevin Doyle and Jermain Defoe traded two first-half goals apiece before a fine Roman Pavlyuchenko effort appeared to have won the match for the London side. MORE

England win in dramatic fashion

England kept their campaign on track with an astonishing turnaround to beat South Africa by six runs. Andrew Strauss’s side were bowled out for just 171, only for South Africa, at one stage 124-3, to collapse to 165 all out and hand England victory. MORE

Players must take doping seriously

When are certain footballers going to take responsibility for their actions? What stops them making a bit of time to educate themselves about doping, an issue as germane to their profession as ladder maintenance to window cleaners? MORE

Hosts overcome Irish challenge

Ireland’s cricketers returned to earth yesterday as they went down by five wickets to hosts India in Bangalore. After last week’s fine victory over England, Ireland were bowled out for 207, before making India toil to 210-5 with four overs left. MORE

‘It’s not been good’ admits Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti, whose Chelsea side visit Blackpool tonight, has admitted he misled people regarding the mood of his players during their recent poor run. “A lot of times I’ve said the atmosphere is good,” he said. “But sometimes it wasn’t really good.” MORE

Third win in a row takes Tigers top

Castleford moved to the top of the Super League table with a third straight victory, overcoming Hull KR 27-14. Kirk Dixon scored 14 points for the hosts, including a try, as they overturned a 14-12 halftime deficit to move to the summit with a game in hand.

Opinion: James Lawton

This was devastating exposure of the weaknesses that, until the last few days, have lurked not so far below the surface of Manchester United’s resilient but often unconvincing challenge for their 12th Premier League title. MORE

Treble tops as Kuyt goals sink United

Manchester United slumped to a second successive league defeat after three close-range finishes from Dirk Kuyt helped Liverpool beat the League leaders 3-1. A fine run from Luis Suarez presented the Dutchman with a tap-in for his first before Nani’s poor back header enabled him to double his tally five minutes later. Kuyt scored his third when capitalising on Edwin van der Sar’s parry from Suarez’s free-kick midway through the second half. Javier Hernandez added a consolation, but it was too late to prevent United losing consecutive League games for the first time in 76 matches. MORE

Rangers victory keeps up pressure

A first-half goal from on-loan Kyle Bartley helped Rangers maintain the pace at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a 1-0 win at St Mirren. Walter Smith’s side remain five points behind leaders Celtic, having played two games less than their city rivals. MORE

Exeter win extends Saints’ misery

A stirring second-half showing enabled Exeter to record their largest Premiership victory as they eased past Northampton 30-9 at Sandy Park yesterday. Saints led 9-3 at the break but capitulated to go down to a sixth successive league defeat. MORE