Blackpool returns to English elite with 4-0 Premier League win at Wigan; Rangers start strong

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blackpool beats Wigan 4-0 on topflight return

LONDON — Blackpool returned to the top flight of English soccer for the first time in 39 years and won 4-0 at Wigan on Saturday’s opening day of the Premier League season.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher put the Tangerines ahead in the 16th minute and Marlon Harewood scored twice before halftime. Alex Baptiste then rounded off the scoring with 15 minutes left with a 30-yard shot.

Also Saturday, big-spending Manchester City escaped with a 0-0 draw after being dominated at Tottenham, Aston Villa beat West Ham 3-0, Blackburn beat Everton 1-0 and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Stoke 2-1.

Newcastle makes its Premier League return at Manchester United on Monday and the other promoted side, West Bromwich Albion, plays defending champion Chelsea in Saturday’s late match.

Manchester City has spent more than $156 million on players since Tottenham edged it to fourth place and a Champions League qualifying berth last season. But none of its newcomers made an impact at White Hart Lane and young goalkeeper Joe Hart won the man-of-the-match award for a string of saves.

“The young kid had a great day today,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. “I thought it was a great performance from us. We were fantastic but we just couldn’t get the two extra points.

“But if we play like this all season we will be right up there.”

England midfielder James Milner is close to joining City but started for Villa against visiting West Ham and scored his team’s third goal. Stewart Downing and Stiliyan Petrov put Villa 2-0 ahead before Milner’s low shot from the edge of the area in the 66th.

Villa had American defender Eric Lichaj among its replacements but kept him on the bench to leave the Illinois native waiting for his Premier League debut.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had predicted Everton could finish in the top four this season, but the Toffees lost to a 14th-minute goal by Nikola Kalinic at Blackburn.

Also Saturday, Sunderland lost Lee Cattermole to a 44th-minute red card but held on for a 2-2 draw with Birmingham, and Mark Hughes guided Fulham to a 0-0 draw at Bolton in his first game as manager.

American midfielder Stuart Holden hit the post in the 78th minute for Bolton, the closest either team came to a goal.

Arsenal is at Liverpool in Sunday’s match.

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Rangers opened their defense of the Scottish Premier League title with a 2-1 win over visiting Kilmarnock.

Kenny Miller and Steven Naismith put Rangers 2-0 ahead by the 57th minute with a close-range rebound and an angled shot into the bottom corner, but Jamie Hamill pulled a goal back for Kilmarnock from the penalty spot.

Celtic opened with a 1-0 win at Inverness, with Paddy McCourt scoring the only goal in the 56th.

Paul Hartley’s hat trick led Aberdeen to a 4-0 win over Hamilton and the biggest win of the day, while Hearts drew 1-1 with St. Johnstone, and Dundee United drew 1-1 at St. Mirren.

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