The Premier League champions looked to have missed the opportunity to close the gap on league leaders Manchester United as they had a frustrating afternoon at the Etihad. The home side dominated possession and unsurprisingly created several goalscoring opportunities. But they were continually frustrated by a well organised and determined Reading side who made it their aim to defend in numbers.
The Royals soaked up the pressure but as the second half progressed they grew in belief and started to create chances of their own. However, the bottom of the table side were to be denied when the ball was played into the penalty area and Barry rose to head in powerfully.
Everton earned a comeback victory at Upton Park as they won 2-1 against West Ham in an eventful match. The Toffees felt they had scored when Leon Osman headed in but the goal was disallowed as Victor Anichebe was deemed to be fouling goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Just a minute later Carlton Cole gave the Hammers the lead with a powerful strike beyond Toffees keeper Tim Howard. The visitors should have been on level terms when Nikica Jelavic had a great opportunity but directed his effort straight at Jaaskelainen. But Everton were not to be denied and restored parity when Anichebe’s great header gave the keeper no chance. Almost immediately goalscorer Cole was controversially sent off for a challenge on Leighton Baines. Steven Pienaar then saw his strike ricochet into the net to put Everton ahead. The referee brandished another straight red card as the Toffees finished the match when Darron Gibson was given his marching orders late on.
Norwich's 10-game unbeaten run ended as West Brom claimed a 2-1 victory. The Canaries broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Robert Snodgrass struck a free-kick from 25 yards which flew in despite Ben Foster managing to get a hand to the ball. West Brom equalised when Zoltan Gera scored from close range. Norwich started the second period brightly but were unable to find a way past the Baggies’ defence. The home side took control when Romelu Lukaku’s header put them ahead and despite some late pressure from the visitors they held on for the win.
Newcastle took all three points with a 1-0 home victory over struggling QPR. A game which seemed to be meandering to a goalless draw was brought to life by a strike of real quality as Shola Ameobi’s powerful left-foot strike separated the two sides.