Puncheon leaves Sunderland looking over their shoulder

Black Cats drop to 17th place after Stadium of Light draw

Sun, May 12, 2013, 17:41

Premier League round-up: Jason Puncheon came off the bench to grab a point for Southampton in a 1-1 draw and all but secure their safety, just as it looked as though Sunderland had saved themselves in their Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light.

The midfielder struck with 14 minutes remaining after fellow substitute James Ward-Prowse provided the ammunition to cancel out Phil Bardsley’s opener, and in the process left the home side still looking over their shoulders.

A point will still prove enough if Wigan lose at Arsenal on Tuesday evening for Paolo Di Canio’s men and only a heavy defeat on the final day coupled with other results going against them will see Mauricio Pochettino’s side go down.

Puncheon’s strike came as a hammer blow to the Black Cats, who looked to be on the road to a precious victory after Bardsley, only recalled to the starting line-up because of Craig Gardner’s suspension, drilled a superb 68th-minute shot past Artur Boruc.

But the cheers among a crowd of 41,988 turned to groans within eight minutes as Puncheon prolonged the agony.

Newcastle ensured Premier League survival with a game to spare as they beat already-relegated QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road.

Sitting just a place above the drop zone heading into the penultimate game of the season, Alan Pardew’s side were in real danger of a second relegation in four years.

However, Hatem Ben Arfa’s penalty and a Yoan Gouffran strike helped the Magpies come from behind to secure a victory that ensured another season in the top flight.

It had not always looked so plain sailing, though, with Loic Remy’s early spot-kick putting Harry Redknapp’s side ahead and ending a 376-minute wait for a goal.

Rather tellingly, though, the fans were announced as QPR’s players’ player of the year earlier in the day.

Jose Bosingwa was one of those to have come under particular scrutiny having refused to sit on the bench earlier in the campaign and further harmed his popularity this afternoon.

First Ben Arfa netted from the spot after being tugged back by the Portuguese, who then played a major part in the visitors’ second.

The right back’s weak back-pass was met by an equally poor attempt at a clearance by Robert Green, with Gouffran duly slotting home.

Bosingwa did not return for what was a tense second half and, despite goalkeeper Rob Elliott’s late sending off, Newcastle held out for a vital three points.

Norwich confirmed their survival with an emphatic 4-0 victory over West Brom at Carrow Road.

Robert Snodgrass gave the Canaries a half-time lead before a Ben Foster howler gifted Grant Holt the second and former Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley’s own goal prompted Delia Smith to dance with delight.

The Baggies were woeful and Jonny Howson scored a spectacular late fourth as Chris Hughton’s men claimed a third win in 20 Premier League games to make certain of their top-flight status ahead of next week’s final day trip to Manchester City.

FA Cup winners Wigan, who play Arsenal on Tuesday, meet Aston Villa on the final day of the season, meaning at least one of the sides below Norwich will drop points .

Striker Kevin Mirallas ensured David Moyes departed Goodison Park for the final time as Everton manager in perfect circumstances as they beat West Ham 2-0.

The Belgium striker scored both goals to provide a fitting send-off for the Toffees boss — heading for Manchester United in the summer — after he has stood on the touchline in the blue corner of Merseyside for 11 years.

The sixth successive home league victory against a West Ham side who seemed to have no intention of spoiling the party also guaranteed Everton finished above Liverpool for the second successive season in and the first time in the top flight since 1937.

After the final whistle the squad formed a guard of honour for the departing Phil Neville and then Moyes, who received the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

The manager walked to the centre-circle waving to the crowd but looked like he did not know quite how to react as chairman Bill Kenwright watched on from the directors’ box with a tear in his eye.

Daniel Sturridge wreaked havoc on his return to west London, firing Liverpool to an easy 3-1 win at Fulham with a superb hat-trick at Craven Cottage.

Sturridge had not scored against the Cottagers during his time at the club’s local rivals Chelsea or while he was at Manchester City, but he took Martin Jol’s team apart today with three well-taken strikes.

Three minutes after Dimitar Berbatov had nodded Fulham ahead, the England striker turned Aaron Hughes inside-out before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.

The 23-year-old latched on to Philippe Coutinho’s deflected pass before beating Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to make it 2-1 and he rounded off the win at the death with a clever chip over the Australian stopper, who was playing possibly his last match for the club.