LONDON: West Ham finally gave their long-suffering fans something to cheer about with a 2-0 win over London rivals Tottenham in a huge boost to the club's Premiership survival hopes.
Former Spurs favourite Les Ferdinand put the Hammers on course for only their second home win of the season with his first goal for his new club after 31 minutes yesterday.
England midfielder Michael Carrick made the points sure two minutes after the break, capitalising on a fumble by Tottenham's American goalkeeper Kasey Keller to fire home.
It was West Ham's second straight win after Sunday's precious victory at West Brom.
Although it was not enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, Glenn Roeder's side are now level with Bolton on points and within three points of Birmingham and will have taken great heart from the quality of their performance.
Beneath them, West Brom and Sunderland look to be running out of time to escape the drop after both succumbed to 1-0 defeats.
Southampton striker James Beattie's 18th Premiership goal of the season condemned West Brom to their 18th defeat of the season.
Sunderland dominated Fulham for long periods of their clash at Loftus Road but Louis Saha's late winner for Fulham left Howard Wilkinson's men anchored to the bottom, seven points away from safety with only nine games left.
At the other end of the table, £9 million England defender Jonathan Woodgate celebrated his Newcastle debut with a solid display in a 2-1 win over Chelsea.
The victory lifts the Magpies to within five points of leaders Arsenal, who play Charlton at Highbury today, and level with Manchester United.
French defender Olivier Bernard was Newcastle's hero with a deftly-taken second-half winner after Frank Lampard's sweet volley had cancelled out a spectacular own goal by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Everton failed to take full advantage of Chelsea's second successive defeat but a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough was enough to move them above the London club into fourth place, the final qualifying spot for the Champions League.
Defender Steve Watson's 23rd-minute shot had put the visitors ahead.
But Juninho delighted the home crowd by coming on as a second half substitute to equalise a quarter of an hour from the end.
It was the Brazilian midfielder's first appearance since he suffered a serious knee injury in August, just weeks after rejoining the club after helping Brazil win the World Cup.
Former England under-21 star David Dunn scored his third goal in two games as Blackburn beat Manchester City 1-0 at Ewood Park.
n GLASGOW: Dundee piled the pressure onto Hibs with a 3-1 win over Partick Thistle yesterday that lifts them into the top six at the Edinburgh club's expense.
Hibs will now travel to Celtic today knowing that defeat by the champions will be a major blow to their hopes of ensuring they are on the right side of the Premier League's end-of-season split.
Under the system, the top six teams on April 5 play their last five matches against each other while the bottom teams do likewise.
The scheme ensures maximum end-of-season drama but a place in the bottom half would be financially disastrous for Hibs because they would miss out on matches against Celtic, Rangers and Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
Bottom side Dundee United raised their hopes of getting out of the relegation spot with an impressive 3-0 win over fifth-placed Dunfermline.
The Tannadice outfit are now level on points with Motherwell, who went down to a 2-1 defeat at Hearts, but remain bottom on goal difference.
Kilmarnock consolidated their fourth place with a 2-0 win at home to Aberdeen. AFP