AMSTERDAM – Fulham ace Clint Dempsey scored against US teammate Tim Howard for the first time, but it was mere consolation as Everton held on for a 2-1 home win on Saturday afternoon.
Dempsey fired home a lefty shot from the top of the 18 just past the hour to get his side on the board and bag his career-high 10th league goal of the season. He becomes the first American to score double-digits in the Premiership. Cottagers legend Brian McBride, Dempsey’s former teammate in both West London and the US, twice scored nine in a season.
Howard, meanwhile, needed just one save to backstop the Toffees up to eighth place.
Elsewhere, Stuart Holden was carried off 14 minutes from time with an as-yet undetermined knee injury before Bolton suffered again near the death in a 1-0 loss at Manchester United. Jonny Evans put a gash in Holden's left knee with a two-footed, studs-up lunge that drew straight red.
Aston Villa keeper Brad Friedel made two fine saves, but they went for naught in a 1-0 derby loss to Wolverhampton. Villans midfielder Michael Bradley and Wolves back-up netminder Marcus Hahnemann each watched from their respective dugout.
Jermaine Jones worked a solid full shift as Blackburn rescued a 2-2 draw against visiting rivals Blackpool.
[inline_node:315795]Down a flight in the Championship, Zak Whitbread nodded home a first half restart for his first Norwich City goal, but the second place visitors were eventually forced to settle for a 1-1 share of the spoils at Hull City.
Brad Guzan made seven saves, most notably on a Wes Hoolahan rocket at the hour mark, to help the Tigers pull off the comeback.
Leeds United defender Eric Lichaj was unlucky to turn a cross into his own cage early in the second half as the guests fell 2-0 at Sheffield United.
Eddie Johnson worked 76 active minutes as Preston North End posted consecutive victories for the first time since September with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Coventry City.
Over in the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo and third place Hannover 96 climbed to within two points of a Champions League group-phase pass with a 2-0 home win over Hoffenheim.
Timothy Chandler was shown the gate after 72 minutes for a dubious second yellow card in FC Nürnberg’s 3-1 home loss to Werder Bremen. The fresh USMNT call-up was whistled after Tim Borowski spun to ground from booting a clearance, but replays showed that the young American pulled up from his challenge without clattering into the Bremen veteran.
Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Ricardo Clark went into the book during his 61 minutes as the hosts move three points clear of the danger zone with a 2-1 victory over St. Pauli.
Finally, in France's Ligue 1, Carlos Bocanegra was removed on 55 minutes with a leg injury in Saint-Étienne's 0-0 draw at Lorient.