12.04.2014 19:40 h

Football: Everton eye Champions League as England remembers Hillsborough

Everton leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win at bottom of the table Sunderland on Saturday as English football marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Fresh from their 3-0 victory over the Gunners last weekend, Roberto Martinez's side had to wait until the 75th minute to score at the Stadium of Light when former Manchester United defender Wes Brown put Gerard Deulofeu's cross into his own net.

Victory moved Everton into the Champions League places, two points ahead of Arsenal, who were in FA Cup semi-final action against Wigan at Wembley, with both clubs having five league games remaining this season.

"From our point of view, to keep a clean sheet in those circumstances was very pleasing and it was also important to take one of our chances too," Everton manager Roberto Martinez told the BBC.

It was Everton's seventh successive league victory, matching a similar run from their 1987 title-winning season.

Before kick-off, a minute's silence was observed at all major English matches as a tribute to the looming 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The tragedy saw 96 Liverpool fans effectively crushed to death while standing on a terrace at Sheffield Wednesday's ground during the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

The match, which took place on April 15, 1989, was abandoned in the sixth minute as fans scrambled onto the pitch in a desperate bid to escape the horror behind them.

In memory of that match, all senior fixtures in England kicked off seven minutes late on Saturday.

At the Hawthorns, West Brom squandered a 3-0 lead in a 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

Matej Vydra gave West Brom a first-minute lead from close range when Spurs and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris palmed a Morgan Amalfitano cross into his path.

Three minutes later, Chris Brunt volleyed home after Spurs failed to clear a Steven Reid cross.

And after Amalfitano brought down Danny Rose, Emmanuel Adebayor's weak penalty was saved by England goalkeeper Ben Foster.

West Brom then made it 3-0 in the 31st minute through Stephane Sessegnon.

Spurs, however, did pull a goal back three minutes later when Jonas Olsson deflected Aaron Lennon's ball across the box into his own net.

The visitors made it 3-2 with 20 minutes left when Harry Kane headed in a Lennon cross and sixth-placed Spurs' comeback was complete in stoppage time when Christian Eriksen smashed in an equaliser.

Under-fire Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, widely tipped to leave White Hart Lane at the end of the season, said: "Perversely I am loving it. I like the stick. I am proud to be the manager of this great football club and long may it continue."

Meanwhile things tightened up at the foot of the table as relegation-threatened Fulham and second-bottom Cardiff won to close the gap on the teams immediately above them.

Norwich may have sacked manager Chris Hughton in a bid to preserve their Premier League status but the Canaries first match under former youth coach Neil Adams left them even closer to relegation after a 1-0 defeat at Fulham, Hugo Rodallega scoring the only goal of the match at Craven Cottage.

Victory left Fulham still in the bottom three but saw the London club close the gap between themselves and Norwich to just two points with four games remaining.

Cardiff climbed to within three points of safety with a shock 1-0 win away to Southampton, with Juan Cala's 65th-minute goal proving decisive at St Mary's.

"I was proud of the effort everyone put in," said Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"Another few clean sheets and we are right in it. We won't give in until it is over," the former Manchester United striker added.

Jason Puncheon's 76th minute-goal saw Crystal Palace win 1-0 away to Aston Villa, a result that took the Eagles closer to survival and left Villa just four points above the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0 courtesy of Erik Pieters's 42nd minute-goal.

Sunday could have a key bearing on the destiny of the Premier League title when leaders Liverpool face third-placed Manchester City and Chelsea, currently second, travel to Swansea.

Liverpool will kick-off four points in front of City, and two ahead of Chelsea, at what is sure to be a highly-charged Anfield.

City, however, have two games in hand on both their title rivals.