By Ronan Murphy
Everton recorded a 2-0 defeat over title holders Manchester City to help Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United move 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Republic of Ireland full-back Seamus Coleman was crucial to the Toffess' success, preventing City's dangermen getting into good positions. The former Sligo Rovers wideman was also instrumental in Everton's opener, getting down the wing to put the ball in for Darron Gibson's midfield partner, Leon Osman.
There was plenty of controversy as Norwich City and Sunderland played out a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road on Sunday. The visitors took the lead on 26 minutes when Wes Hoolahan headed home, but found themselves down to 10 men before half-time as Mark Bunn was sent off for handling outside the area. That was also the end of Hoolahan's afternoon, as Chris Hughton replaced him with susbstitute goalkeeper Lee Camp.
Wolverhampton Wanderers came from behind against Bristol City to record their first win under new manager Dean Saunders. Ireland striker Kevin Doyle struck late to give Wolves a 2-1 victory after Stephen Hunt had crossed for Sylvian Ebanks-Blake's equaliser. The win puts Wolves just one point from safety, and sees Sean O'Driscoll's Bristol City remain at the bottom of the table.
Leeds United's playoff hopes suffered a setback as they were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield in the Yorkshire Derby. Ireland under-21 left-back Aidy White equalised after being introduced from the bench, but neither he nor goalkeeper Paddy Kenny could stop James Vaughan's winner.
Kane Ferdinand scored the only goal as Peterborough United beat Blackpool, moving them to within a point of safety. Ferdinand's 45th minute strike was his first for the club since moving from Southend United in August.
Derby County climbed six points above relegation with a 2-1 win over Leicester City. Captain Richard Keogh headed in from a corner to put the Rams ahead after 16 minutes.
Colchester United moved seven points clear of relegation with a 2-1 win over Bury thanks to two goals in two minutes. Former Ireland international striker Clinton Morrison curled in the winner for the U's, helping them to a first win in four games.
Milton Keynes Dons recorded a 3-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the top half of the table with Irish duo Stephen Gleeson and Darren Potter getting their names on the scoresheet. Ireland under-21 goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin also did well for MK Dons, putting in some good saves to keep a clean sheet.
A 4-1 win for Exeter City over Bradford City helps keep their promotion hopes alive while also hindering Bradford's chances of making the playoffs. John O'Flynn scored a late tap-in for Exeter's fourth to help the Grecians move to within three points of automatic promotion.
Celtic recorded a thrilling 4-3 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League to move 15 points clear of Motherwell at the top of the table. The Bhoys were ahead after just 13 seconds when Anthony Stokes threaded through a fine pass to Kris Commons.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle overtook Ross County in the table with a 2-1 win to move to third. Richie Foran was involved in ICT's opener, with goalkeeper Michael Fraser failing to hold onto his header allowing Andrew Shinnie to pounce on the rebound.
The 2013 Norwegian Tippeligaen season kicked off at the weekend, with Ireland under-21 goalkeeper Sean McDermott keeping his spot between the posts for Sandnes Ulf. They started the campaign with a 2-0 away loss to Stromsgodset. However, the score could have been much higher as the hosts dominated for most of the second-half.
Following his Champions League goal in midweek, Robbie Keane could not help LA Galaxy overcome Chivas USA in the MLS. Despite being down to 10 men, Chivas struck a late equaliser to see the game end 1-1. After the match Keane admitted his disappointment at the performance, telling the club's official website "We didn't play well today, it was one of our worst performances for a long time I'd say."
|IRISH XI OF THE WEEKEND
Goalkeeper: Ian McLoughlin (MK Dons)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Keogh (Derby), Aidy White (Leeds)
Midfielders: Kane Ferdinand (Peterborough), Darren Potter (MK Dons) Stephen Gleeson (MK Dons), Stephen Hunt (Wolves)
Forwards: Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Clinton Morrison (Colchester), John O'Flynn (Exeter)