Tough Boxing Day for Everton and Aston Villa

(Dec 27, 2013) US Soccer Players - Jozy Altidore's Sunderland got the better of Tim Howard's Everton, winning 1-0 at Goodison Park on Boxing Day. The referee red carded Howard in the 23rd minute, setting up Ki Sung-Yueng's successful penalty two minutes later. Altidore subbed on in the 87th minu`te. Everton are 5th in the table, two points behind Liverpool who fell from 1st after a loss to Manchester City. Sunderland are 20th, a point behind West Ham United and three points from safety.

"Obviously we made a bad decision that cost us a sending off and a goal," Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. "When a pass is on that’s a decision and when you receive the ball that’s another decision. We probably got both of those wrong but we will learn from it. My only disappointment is the law itself – you feel like you have been doubly punished because you get a red card and concede a goal. The referee was spot on."

Brad Guzan's Aston Villa were shutout 1-0 by Crystal Palace, with Palace scoring two minutes into stoppage time at Villa Park. Geoff Cameron's Stoke City lost 5-1 to Newcastle at St James' Park. Stoke took the lead in the 29th minute when Pussama Assaidi scored, but the referee sent off Glenn Whelan in the 34th and Steven Nzonzi in the 44th. 

“It is hugely disappointing to be here now with nothing to show for our performance against Newcastle, because I really thought that there was only one team that looked like winning that game when it was 11 v11 and that was us," Stoke manager Mark Hughes said. It does hurt and it isn’t a fair reflection of the game on our players, but we will use our frustrations to our advantage and look to get the result we want in London on Sunday.”

A league down, Tim Ream's Bolton shutout Barnsley 1-0 at Oakwell Stadium. Neil Danns scored the game's only goal in the 64th minute. Leicester City shutout Danny Williams's Reading 1-0 at The King Power Stadium on a 21st minute penalty. Eric Lichaj's Nottingham Forest shutout Queens Park Rangers 2-0 at The City Ground. Greg Halford opened the scoring in the 29th minute with Andy Reid doubling the lead in the 80th.

Did Not Play: Brek Shea and Maurice Edu (Stoke 1 - Newcastle 5), Brad Friedel (Spurs 1 - WBA 1), Oguchi Onyewu (QPR 0 - Forest 2)

Injured: Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City 0 - Wigan 0), Stuart Holden (Bolton 1 - Barnsley 0)

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