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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Prem wrap: A draw for Bruce, defeat for Jewell

Paul Scharner spared Titus Bramble's blushes as Barclays Premier League strugglers Wigan held high-flying Manchester City to a draw in Steve Bruce's first game in charge.

Bruce's reign got off to the worst possible start at the JJB Stadium as Bramble's clanger inside the first minute allowed a grateful Geovanni to score the top flight's quickest goal this season.

The Latics bounced back after 25 minutes, though, as Austrian Paul Scharner met Jason Koumas' lofted cross with a diving header.

But any hopes Wigan had of snatching all three points were dealt a blow two minutes from full-time when Mario Melchiot was dismissed for a wild two-footed lunge on Stephen Ireland.

Joe Cole's late winner allowed Chelsea to climb above City into second place with a 1-0 win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge.

Cole, who began his career with the Hammers, finished a 75th-minute move to deny Alan Curbishley's stubborn side a point.

David Bentley's brilliant brace helped Blackburn to an impressive 3-1 win over Newcastle at Ewood Park.

The visitors went ahead a minute after the break as Obafemi Martins' glancing header from Geremi's teasing free-kick flew into the corner of Brad Friedel's net.

But Blackburn pulled level seven minutes later in majestic fashion.

Charles N'Zogbia fouled Roque Santa Cruz 25 yards from goal and Bentley stepped up to whip the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Martins missed a gilt-edged opportunity to restore Newcastle's lead as he headed over from close range and he was made to pay the ultimate price for his profligacy as Bentley netted his second after 67 minutes.

Santa Cruz made a swashbuckling burst and his lay-off fell invitingly into the path of Bentley, whose crisp drive from 25 yards crashed against the post and into the net.

Tugay added a third in stoppage time to heap the pressure on Magpies' boss Sam Allardyce.

Anthony Stokes' first Premier League goal two minutes into stoppage time secured a dramatic 1-0 win for Sunderland against basement side Derby at the Stadium of Light.

The Republic of Ireland international hooked home from two yards after an almighty goalmouth scramble to ensure maximum points and lift the Black Cats out of the bottom three.

Roy Keane's side threatened in the first half through full debutant Andy Cole, Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards but they were unable to sufficiently test Rams stopper Stephen Bywater.

Jones had the best opportunity for the hosts but his close range effort crashed against the post in first-half stoppage time.

But Sunderland's missed chances mattered little as substitute Stokes struck at the death to deny new Rams boss Paul Jewell a point from his first game.

Tuncay Sanli headed home with seven minutes remaining to salvage a point for Middlesbrough against Reading at the Madjeski Stadium.

After an insipid first half the hosts made the breakthrough nine minutes after the break.

Dave Kitson latched onto Marcus Hahnemann's long ball and coolly lobbed the onrushing Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the penalty area.

But just as it looked like Reading would claim all three points Tuncay popped up to claim a point for Gareth Southgate's side.

Portsmouth stretched their unbeaten run to nine games as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw with Everton at Fratton Park.

Harry Redknapp's side were the better side for long periods but they failed to create too many clear openings in front of Tim Howard's goal.

In the first half top scorer Benjani Mwaruwari produced a bit of magic to go past Joseph Yobo but the Everton defender recovered sufficiently to restrict the Zimbabwean to a snatched shot that slipped wide.