The Sports Matrix: Thursday 3 May 2012


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The Independent Online

Newcastle and Spurs move towards fourth

Away victories for Newcastle United, 2-0 at Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur, 4-1 at Bolton Wanderers, made them the two favourites for fourth place in the Premier League.

Newcastle were playing rivals Chelsea, who, three days before the FA Cup final, rotated their team. But Papiss Cisse put Newcastle ahead in the first half before scoring a remarkable curling second from distance in added time. They are four points ahead of Chelsea in fifth, and have league leaders Manchester City at home on Sunday.

Tottenham, though, remain the current occupiers of fourth place, ahead of Newcastle on goal difference, after winning 4-1 at the Reebok Stadium. Luka Modric put Spurs ahead with a brilliant volley in the first half but Bolton then equalised early in the second half through Nigel Reo-Coker. Rafael van der Vaart put Spurs back in front from a Gareth Bale cross before Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice from close range to secure the club's first away league win since December. Bolton's Fabrice Muamba attended the game and walked on the pitch beforehand. MORE

Hodgson to hold Ferdinand talks

New England manager Roy Hodgson is to speak with Rio Ferdinand within the next week to discuss the Manchester United defender's feelings about partnering John Terry at Euro 2012 next month. Ferdinand has not played for his country since last June. MORE

Gerrard: Cup win will equal success

Steven Gerrard feels Liverpool's season will be deemed a success should they win the FA Cup, despite indifferent league form. "Silverware is success," he said. "That's why we play the game. [These] are the days you look back on with fond memories." MORE

Mackay confident in play-off lottery

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay believes his side's experience of the play-offs could swing the visit of West Ham. "I know what mentality it takes to get promoted this way," he said. "And so do my players. You can't buy experience. It gives us a strong mentality." MORE

Pulis promises to stand by Pennant

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has pledged to "look after" Jermaine Pennant after the midfielder's arrest on driving charges. "I ain't going to hang the kiddie before we know what [the facts are]," he said. "We will deal with it in-house when and if." MORE

Broad rages in Old Trafford match

Stuart Broad risked a disciplinary issue yesterday, seemingly voicing his displeasure with umpire Stephen Gale when given out caught for Nottinghamshire against Lancashire, for whom James Anderson bowled 17 wicketless overs. MORE

Catt keen to take England chance

England's interim backs coach Mike Catt knows that he has the chance for a full-time role. "This is a massive opportunity," he said. "Chances like this don't come along too often. We saw in the Six Nations that Stuart Lancaster has created the right culture." MORE

O'Sullivan sets up Stevens semi

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Neil Robertson 13-10 last night in the World Championship quarter-final, surging from 5-3 down to 9-5 up before closing out the win. Three-time champion O'Sullivan will meet Matthew Stevens in the semi-finals. MORE

UK Athletics wants stadium trials

Charles van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, is holding talks to ensure all Team GB track-and-field athletes can train in the Olympic Stadium before the games. The plan is for small groups of athletes to try the stadium in mornings. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

The FA, in choosing their new England manager, should have asked which Englishman has produced the most exhilarating football, and has the best understanding of players. On those terms Harry Redknapp wins. MORE