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Bale rescues Tottenham against Southampton

London, England (Sports Network) - As has been the case for much of the season, Tottenham relied on the heroics of Gareth Bale to claim three points against Southampton on Saturday as the Welshman scored in the 86th minute of a 1-0 Spurs victory at White Hart Lane.

The result keeps Tottenham's Champions League hopes alive ahead of a pivotal game on Wednesday against Chelsea, while Southampton can't quite rest comfortably as the Saints sit four points above the drop zone.

Bale was off his game for much of the contest and Southampton looked to be the more dangerous side, especially in the first half when Nathaniel Clyne spurned a great chance in the 10th minute by firing wide with just goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to beat.

Southampton forward Rickie Lambert went even closer before the break when his low free kick was tipped onto the post by Lloris.

The home side was offering little in attack and it looked like another frustrating late-season result for Tottenham was in the cards.

But that is when Bale struck as he collected a ball from Lewis Holtby on the right wing and cut into the middle of the field on his left foot, where he unleashed a brilliant shot that eluded outstretched goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

The shot was the only one of the match for Tottenham that was on target, but it was enough to keep Spurs within two points of third-place Arsenal, while the club is level on points with Chelsea, which faces Manchester United on Sunday.

Arsenal 1, QPR 0

London, England - It wasn't a vintage Arsenal performance, but Theo Walcott's goal in the opening minute was enough for a 1-0 Gunners victory at relegated QPR that lifts the club into third place.

Walcott scored the quickest goal of the season after only 20 seconds when he was played into the area by Mikel Arteta and was able to beat goalkeeper Robert Green with a shot inside the far post despite Green getting a piece of the ball.

Arsenal appeared to take its foot off the pedal a bit after the early goal, and needed a fine diving stop from goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to keep out a curling effort from Loic Remy in the 83rd minute.

It was as close as the home side would come to snatching a point, and the result drops Harry Redknapp's men to the bottom of the league with just two games to play.

Reading 4, Fulham 2

London, England - There wasn't a lot on the line when Fulham and Reading kicked off at Craven Cottage on Saturday, but the two teams put together a free-flowing display that saw the Royals emerge as 4-2 winners.

Reading's fate was sealed last weekend after a 0-0 draw with QPR which sent both teams down, while Fulham appears to be safe from relegation having collected 40 points.

Hal Robson-Kanu put Reading up 2-0 with a pair of goals in the opening 62 minutes before Bryan Ruiz netted Fulham's first goal with 20 minutes to play.

Adam Le Fondre restored Reading's two-goal advantage in the 75th, while Ruiz found the net once more for the hosts a few minutes later.

But Jem Karacan secured the first win for Reading boss Nigel Adkins as he netted his first goal of the season seven minutes from time.

Aston Villa 2, Norwich City 1

Norwich, England - Gabriel Agbonlahor struck a late winner for Aston Villa on Saturday in a 2-1 Villa victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road which could prove crucial in the fight against relegation.

A 6-1 thrashing of Sunderland on Monday moved Villa to within touching distance of safety, and the late heroics of Agbonlahor have jumped the club all the way up to 13th place, five points clear of the drop zone, while Norwich is just three points above 18th-place Wigan.

Agbonlahor broke a scoreless deadlock in the 55th minute with a fine 25-yard strike, but Norwich got back to level terms with 15 minutes to play as Robert Snodgrass was fouled inside the penalty area, allowing Grant Holt to send goalkeeper Brad Guzan the wrong way from the spot.

However, Agbonlahor struck a vital winner in the 89th minute when he got behind Sebastien Bassong and latched on to a nice ball from Ashley Westwood before firing a low shot inside the far post.

Swansea City 0, Manchester City 0

Swansea, Wales - Swansea City and Manchester City played out a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday in a match that had little consequence for either team.

Swansea is secure in its place in the middle of the table, while City just needs a few points to lock up second place after losing its title to Manchester United.

The Citizens will meet Wigan in the FA Cup final next weekend, and neither side seemed particularly interested in the opening stages of the match.

Michu squandered a good chance for the home side when he volleyed wide from six yards after a cross from Nathan Dyer, while City should have won the match in the final minutes as substitute Edin Dzeko missed the net from four yards and David Silva failed to hit the target from inside the box as well.

Wigan 3, West Bromwich 2

West Bromwich, England - Wigan's hopes making another late escape from relegation were lifted on Saturday by an 80th-minute goal from Callum McManaman, which helped the Latics to a 3-2 victory at West Bromwich.

Around Kone netted his 11th goal of the season for Wigan to cancel out the opening from West Brom's Shane Long.

The Baggies took the lead in the 50th minute through Gareth McAuley, but James McArthur had an answer for the visitors eight minutes later.

Shaun Maloney was instrumental in the winning goal as he got to the endline on the left and pulled the ball back for a simple finish from McManaman, although the win wasn't safe until Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles produced a fine stop to keep out a long-range effort from Graham Dorrans.

West Ham 0, Newcastle 0

London, England - Newcastle's safety in the Premier League remains unsure after the Magpies were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday.

With both Aston Villa and Wigan picking up away wins on Saturday, Alan Pardew's team sits just three points above the drop zone with the Latics having a game in hand.

In a match that saw few clear-cut opportunities, Newcastle's Papiss Cisse had the best chance when his first-half effort was cleared off the goal line by West Ham defender Winston Reid.

Andy Carroll was the most threatening player for the home side, but his best chance was kept out by a nice save from Newcastle goalkeeper Robert Elliot at his near post.

05/04 14:48:10 ET


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