Former Molynes United FC head coach, Alex Thomas, is set to kick off his campaign with Guyana's Elite League Championship team, Slingerz FC, as they face Monedderlust FC in a much-anticipated grudge match on Sunday at the Guyana Training Centre, scheduled for 6:00 pm (5:00 pm Jamaica time).

Thomas, who took the reins after departing Jamaica Premier League unit Molynes FC in November 2023, faces a challenging start, aiming to avenge Slingerz FC's previous 1-0 upset defeat to Monedderlust FC in the Elite League playoff last January. Despite the setback, Slingerz secured their place in the championship by defeating Victoria FC a week later.

With just one week to prepare, Thomas has hit the ground running, emphasizing the mental and physical aspects of the game to his new squad. In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, Thomas expressed satisfaction with the warm welcome and effort from the players.

“I have had to do things fast. I’ve been trying to get to know the players, trying to get them to understand what I want, how I want them to play mentally and physically. It’s a lot of work but they have given me a warm welcome and they’re putting in the work.

“In the future, you’re going to need more players to complete the squad but this is the squad that I am working with for Sunday.”

Notwithstanding, he believes the team will be ready to begin a successful campaign against the team that upset them in early January.

“Definitely, I have prepared the players to the best of my ability so the players can execute well on Sunday. They understand that Monedderlust FC is the team that beat Slingerz FC in the playoff for promotion and Slingerz finished second so it’s going to be a big grudge match, so it’s going to be more of a mental game, get them up to speed, get them vibing, energetic but they’re doing what they do best.

“At any given time you want to put your best foot forward, especially in a new job, a new challenge, a new environment because coming from Jamaica you have to understand everything going on around you, the culture, the people, everything; so it’s a learning process not only for football but the whole general aspect of things but you always want to put your best foot forward to win.”

 

 

 

Harry Maguire called for a “big reaction” after Manchester United were stunned by a late Fulham winner at Old Trafford.

Alex Iwobi netted in the seventh minute of stoppage time as Fulham snatched a 2-1 Premier League victory on Saturday after it seemed Maguire had salvaged a point for the hosts.

Fulham dominated most of the contest and deservedly led through Calvin Bassey’s 65th-minute strike, but United produced a strong finish.

Maguire equalised when he pounced on a rebound in the 89th minute and Erik Ten Hag’s men were pushing for a late clincher themselves when they were caught on the break and Iwobi finished them off.

The defeat ended United’s four-game winning run in the league and dented their hopes of reaching the top four.

United are back in action when they travel to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Wednesday before taking on rivals Manchester City next weekend.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game in midweek,” defender Maguire told MUTV. “Our full focus is on that one. We’ve got to bounce back.

“A big reaction is needed. It’s going to be a tough game but we’ve got to go there and produce a performance like we did there last year.”

Maguire admitted United were caught out in the end but said pushing for the win seemed the right approach at the time.

He said: “This season we’ve scored numerous late goals, numerous late winners. So we had great belief that we were going to go on to win the game.

“Obviously in hindsight, now we can all sit here and say that we should have been more cautious. We were far too naive.

“We can look back and I’m sure we’ll assess it in terms of areas that we can improve on but, ultimately, over the 90 minutes we didn’t do enough to win the game.”

Mid-table Fulham have been inconsistent throughout the season and the victory was only their second in their last six league games.

Yet Iwobi believes the manner of the performance and the way they obtained the result should give them a big confidence boost.

The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder, who recently returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty, told the club’s website, fulhamfc.com: “I’m over the moon right now.

“To come back into the team and get a win now at Old Trafford, big stadium like this – no better feeling and fully deserved as well.

“We feel like we’ve been performing well recently and it’s just about getting the results.

“To do it at Old Trafford – hopefully we can kick on from this. This will give us a world of confidence.

“Everyone’s emotion is going to be high but we have to dust down now and go again.”

Jorginho insists he is happy for Arsenal to be “in the shadows” of the Premier League title race and fight as underdogs against Liverpool and Manchester City.

The Gunners are just two points off the top of the table after easing to a 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday night.

A Sven Botman own-goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Mikel Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

City won the treble last season and remain the favourites to secure a record fourth consecutive Premier League crown – while Liverpool will be aiming to end Jurgen Klopp’s reign in style by winning a second title under the German.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are aiming to go one better than last year when they topped the division for 248 days before ultimately missing out to City.

“I like to be underdogs,” Jorginho said after returning to the starting line-up to put in a man of the match performance against Newcastle.

“Let people speak, we just need to stay humble and keep working hard in the shadows, keep pushing and keep believing.

“That is what we need to do, just keep pushing, pushing and then we will see where we are going to get but we are on the right path.

“We need to keep the momentum going and we can do that. Just working hard the way we are doing and keep believing, keep enjoying this journey together and I think that’s the way that we need to go.”

Arsenal have turned their form around since a mid-season break in Dubai and Jorginho is enjoying his football.

“I think we were creating before but we were not finishing and now it feels that the calls are coming more,” he added.

“It’s a pleasure to see the boys scoring more and they can have fun with the team working hard as well so we are enjoying this moment and we need to just stay humble.

“I’m really happy, not just with my performance but with the team because the team performed very well and that doesn’t happen with everyone.

“It is just a pleasure to be out there enjoying this moment with an incredible team.”

Fit-again Willock came off the bench against his former club to head in a consolation for Newcastle late on in north London.

The 24-year-old is now keen to move on from the defeat and not let it affect the build-up to Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Blackburn.

“I think it was a difficult game, they’re a great side, there’s no denying that,” Willock told the club’s official website.

“I think, for us, we just have to stay positive, find those good things to take from the game and we have to take that on Tuesday, it is a big game for us and for our season and let’s put this game behind us.”

John Stones has insisted Manchester City believe another treble is a possibility this season.

City tasted Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup success last year and remain in each of those competitions.

A hard-fought 1-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday helped Pep Guardiola’s team close the gap to divisional leaders Liverpool to one point before they turn their attention to Tuesday’s trip to Luton in the FA Cup fifth round.

“That’s what we’re all here for and what everyone wants us to do. We want to try recreate what we did last season and that’s still possible,” Stones said.

“Games like this are one of the reasons why we made that possible last season.

“So, we go to the next game and have the same focus, try to do the same thing, get another win and move on to the next stage. The team we’ve got, the squad we’ve got, I’m sure we can do it.”

England defender Stones was at his versatile best against Bournemouth, regularly stepping into midfield and dominant in possession.

Phil Foden’s first-half tap-in earned the champions a 15th win from their last 17 matches.

It was also City’s third clean sheet from their last four league fixtures, but it only came after Marcus Tavernier squandered two fine chances, Ederson thwarted Dominic Solanke and Enes Unal headed a golden opportunity wide in stoppage-time.

Stones told the official club website: “I thought Phil was incredible.

“To come away with the three points is just what we wanted.

“It was something we’re so pleased with, you know how we dug in right until the end. It is never easy to come here and think you will dominate for 95 minutes.

“We came through the tough times, which is so important and while you’ll in it, it is not nice but when you come through it, we’re really proud of ourselves and pleased to keep another clean sheet against a team that threw everything at it.”

Bournemouth’s efforts after the break arguably warranted a point, but their winless league run now sits at seven matches.

 

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The Cherries have won twice in 2024 – both in the FA Cup – and they turn their focus back to that competition when Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester visit Vitality Stadium on Tuesday.

Defender Lloyd Kelly (hip) is set to be absent and while boss Andoni Iraola was delighted with their display on Saturday, he warned a repeat is not guaranteed.

“I think the only thing is probably it gives more hope for the next games if we can keep this level, but it is not a guarantee,” Iraola pointed out.

“There is no guarantee that we will play next week the same we did here.

“Different games, different approaches. We have to see how we recover because we have a very demanding game in the cup against Leicester.

“They have one day more for rest and I think it is a big advantage. For us, it is also a very important game.”

Mikel Arteta insists there is no secret to Arsenal’s recent success as he praised his side following victory over Newcastle.

The Gunners eased to a 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night to move two points off the top of the Premier League summit.

A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

Arsenal may have laboured to a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Porto on Wednesday – but their domestic form has been imperious.

Asked what has clicked in a run that included 6-0 and 5-0 away wins at West Ham and Burnley, respectively, before beating Newcastle, Arteta said: “We’re in a good moment. Players are performing individually, it is not any secret.

“Things are flowing. We’re scoring goals in different ways and especially we want more. When we score one, we want two, or three, or four. I love that mentality from the team.

“We train every day the best possible way and look after ourselves. First of all though, belief. Belief in yourself that you can improve and always get better. Also getting players back.

“The more players we have back, the more competition there will be in the team, the more alternatives to impact the game. Especially we have to make sure we believe we can do it.”

Jorginho returned to the Arsenal side for the game against the Magpies and put in a man-of-the-match display.

The Italy midfielder has impressed in most outings this season, but was only on the bench in Portugal.

“He’s a top player,” added Arteta. “Especially when opponents have certain behaviours and set-ups, the way I imagine the game, he was going to have a big impact.

“After, you have to do it at this level. When he’s not playing consistently, credit to him because he was magnificent again.”

Newcastle were not at the races and have now shipped 23 goals in their past eight league games.

“It is a concern,” manager Eddie Howe conceded when asked about the recent defensive record.

“Of course, we are working on things behind the scenes, but that probably was not evident in today’s performance.

“It is a combination of things, we didn’t do well from corners, knew how good they are in those situations and the third goal as well.

“We were the dominant team and we’d have been right back in the game if we’d got that goal, so difficult moments defensively.

“I don’t think we truly got going in the first half, they put us under pressure, I thought that would be just the start of the game, but at no stage did we really come out of that moment.

“We did not compete well enough which is not like us. It is something to learn from.”

Mauricio Pochettino insisted there is nothing personal between him and Jurgen Klopp ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final meeting with Liverpool on Sunday. (The final of the Carabao Cup between Chelsea and Liverpool will be aired live at 10:00/11:00 EST)

The pair faced off in the 2019 Champions League final when the Argentinian was in charge of Tottenham, losing 2-0 in Madrid to hand his opposite number a first trophy at Anfield.

The game is remembered for controversy after Spurs’ Moussa Sissoko was penalised for a contentious handball inside the opening minute, resulting in Mohamed Salah giving Liverpool the lead from the spot.

More recently the Reds were 4-1 winners against Chelsea in the Premier League at the end of January, when Pochettino’s side were outclassed by their hosts and fell well short of expectations set by the more than £1billion it cost to assemble their squad.

Since then there has been a notable upturn in performances, with three impressive away results including a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium a week ago.

As he seeks his first silverware in England, the 51-year-old said neither he nor his players are motivated by revenge against their Wembley opponents.

“It’s nothing against Jurgen Klopp or Liverpool,” he said. “We love to compete with the best teams and Liverpool as a club, and Klopp with his coaching staff and the players, I think they are amazing. You love to compete with this type of organisation.

“It’s not personal against Klopp or against Liverpool to have revenge. It’s a challenge for us to say ‘we have the possibility to write history, winning a trophy’. That is our biggest motivation. That is my motivation.”

Chelsea followed the loss on Merseyside with a dismal 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves that saw sections of the home support boo the team off.

Since then, the atmosphere around the club has improved significantly, with the draw at City preceded by consecutive 3-1 wins at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace that have injected renewed hope into the team’s season.

“We didn’t compete (at Anfield),” said Pochettino. “If you see the first two minutes, we didn’t match them in the capacity to compete. We created some chances and there (should have been) a penalty after five minutes with (Conor) Gallagher that may change the situation.

“But the most important thing now in this process is to challenge ourselves to be better. If you want to challenge another person, but you are not ready… You need to put your body and your mind in the best condition. If we are in the best condition, we are going to challenge.”

Pochettino rejected the suggestion that victory on Sunday would prompt critics to move on from the huge transfer outlay expended by co-owner Todd Boehly since he took control in May 2022.

“It’s not easy in football,” he said. “It’s not an ordinary business. People know that it’s not only about spending money. It helps, but it’s not only.

“You need time if you want to build something. That is the process that we are involved in now.

“You cannot buy victories. You cannot buy trophies. Money helps, but it doesn’t give trophies.”

Barcelona moved up to second in LaLiga as they cruised past Getafe with a convincing 4-0 win at the Nou Camp.

Raphinha opened the scoring before Joao Felix, Frenkie de Jong and Fermin Lopez got in on the act in the second half.

Mallorca held Alaves to a 1-1 draw after Matija Nastasic’s close-range strike in the 88th minute drew the visitors level.

Almeria frustrated Atletico Madrid with a 2-2 draw.

Luka Romero’s brace put the hosts in front following Angel Correa’s opener. Rodrigo De Paul snatched an equaliser but Diego Simeone’s side could not find a winner late on.

Harry Kane scored a brace to help Bayern Munich back to winning ways as they beat RB Leipzig 2-1 in the Bundesliga.

Kane opened the scoring in the 56th minute and after Benjamin Sesko equalised, the England captain fired home a half-volley in the first minute of stoppage time to snatch a dramatic victory.

The double takes Kane’s league tally to 27 for the season.

Borussia Monchengladbach eased past Bochum 5-2 at Borussia-Park.

Gerardo Seoane’s side did not look back after Nathan Ngoumou’s opener, with five different scorers making up their impressive tally.

Stuttgart were held to a 1-1 draw by Koln after Eric Martel’s 62nd-minute leveller, while Union Berlin drew 2-2 with Heidenheim and Werder Bremen held Darmstadt 1-1.

In Serie A, Daniel Maldini and Matteo Pessina earned Monza a 2-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Salernitana.

Simone Bastoni netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner to give Empoli a 3-2 victory over Sassuolo.

The left-back scored a header from a set-piece in the closing stages to boost his side’s survival bid.

Genoa scored two first-half goals to secure a 2-0 win over 10-man Udinese.

Thomas Thiesson Kristensen was shown a red card for the visitors.

In Ligue 1, Mahdi Camara’s hat-trick helped Brest end a winless run of three games with a 3-0 win over Strasbourg at Stade de la Meinau.

Camara struck twice in the first half before rounding off a terrific display from the penalty spot after an hour.

Jean-Charles Castelletto scored the only goal as Nantes were 1-0 winners at Lorient.

Arsenal doled out another devastating Premier League defeat as they cruised past Newcastle to move two points off the top of the table.

Having thrashed West Ham and Burnley away from home, the Gunners returned to the Emirates Stadium where they easily dispatched of Eddie Howe’s side, winning 4-1 in Saturday’s late kick-off.

A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Mikel Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

The win, coming on the back of a galling late loss in their Champions League last-16 clash with Porto on Wednesday, moves them to within two points of leaders Liverpool and just a point shy of Manchester City in second place.

Their recent run of free-scoring performances, winning their last three games at an aggregate of 15-1, also means Arsenal boast the best goal difference in the division.

After a light show and pre-match tifo, Arsenal set the pace from the off with Declan Rice, playing in a higher role in midfield with Jorginho restored to the side, stinging the palms of Loris Karius.

They would hit the front through another set-piece, but this time in fortuitous circumstances as Karius made a great save from Gabriel Magalhaes’ powerful header, only for Tino Livramento to turn the ball home off the prone Botman in his attempts to clear off the line.

The lead was doubled soon afterwards, this time from a free-flowing move as Jorginho – in a man-of-the-match display – picked out an inch-perfect pass to Gabriel Martinelli, who crossed for Havertz to turn home unmarked from six yards out.

Arsenal should have struck again moments later as Martin Odegaard pressed and won the ball off Fabian Schar inside the Newcastle box, only for his pass into Havertz to be cleared behind for a corner.

Still Arsenal pressed and Newcastle strained, Saka coming close only for Karius to make another smart stop as the hosts went in comfortably ahead at the break.

Havertz should have grabbed his second of the night having been slipped in by Martinelli early in the second half, but he rolled his finish wide of the post.

Newcastle had failed to have a shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time in nearly a decade.

Anthony Gordon finally tested David Raya in the 49th minute before Alekander Isak fired just over the bar on another rare foray forward for the visitors.

Any hopes of a rousing comeback were soon shattered, however, as Arsenal’s third goal duly came just after the hour.

Saka was played in on the right and hit a curling shot that somehow evaded two attempts at clearances from the Newcastle defence to nestle into the corner of the net.

Things got even better for Arsenal as Kiwior’s header from a Rice corner deflected in off the unfortunate Lewis Miley.

Both sides made a host of changes but it was Newcastle who got on the scoresheet with five minutes remaining, former Arsenal youngster Willock brilliantly heading home a Dan Burn cross.

Emile Smith Rowe almost added a fifth for Arsenal late on, but Burn was in the right place to clear off the line with Karius beaten.

It was of little consequence, however, as the home side eased through the remainder of stoppage time to seal an impressive victory.

Pep Guardiola hailed his Manchester City “supermen” after they closed the gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool to one point with an unconvincing 1-0 win at Bournemouth.

The champions had to contend with local fireworks, a misfiring Erling Haaland and a second-half onslaught from the hosts before they left the south coast with a 15th victory from their last 17 matches.

Phil Foden’s first-half tap-in proved enough for City, who took advantage of Liverpool being in Carabao Cup final action this weekend, but were again not at their fluent best after a narrow 1-0 win over Brentford in midweek.

“They are supermen,” Guardiola insisted.

“What can I say? The demands for the calendar, for everything, for the expectations, they are so high. What they have done many, many years with a lot of games, many things and always you believe they will fall down, not continue to do it and they surprise me every time.

“I tell them so that is not normal. For many, many years every three days and Bournemouth have seven days to prepare for one game.

“Seven days dreaming every second of their one week to beat the best team in the world and we have three days to prepare for that.

“It is a lot of competitions, but still we are there and I love it, I love it, I like it. Still we are there.

“I don’t know how much longer we arrive in all competitions but still, we are there. Knowing where we come from, it’s unbelievable.”

City started brightly at Vitality Stadium and Haaland fired wide in the ninth minute, the first of a succession of squandered opportunities from the division’s current leading marksmen.

Haaland’s next opportunity was saved by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto after Mateo Kovacic’s lofted pass, but Foden was on hand to stroke home from close range for his 16th goal of the season.

The visitors failed to kick on afterwards and it was the Cherries who finished the half strongly with Ryan Christie’s stinging effort parried by Ederson.

Andoni Iraola’s men remained in the ascendancy and should have levelled with 55 minutes played when Antoine Semenyo’s cross picked out Marcus Tavernier, but he scuffed his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the ball away for good measure.

Taverner screwed another shot off target minutes later before Ederson clawed away Dominic Solanke’s close-range header with 23 minutes left.

Bournemouth continued to push for a leveller and – after Dango Ouattara arrowed a shot wide – their final opportunity went to January recruit Enes Unal in stoppage-time, but he headed Semenyo’s cross past the post to extend their winless league run to seven matches.

Iraola praised his own players and also doffed his hat to champions City, who remain firmly in the hunt to clinch a sixth Premier League title in seven seasons.

“I am happy because we showed today we are able to compete with one of the best teams in the world, if not the best,” Iraola admitted.

“Obviously you cannot ask much more of the players, effort wise.

“I think it is really difficult what they (City) do. It is really difficult. It is really demanding for the players to play every three games, very competitive games but they are used (to it) and have the experience.

“They can use different players and the level is more or less the same. They also, I think, have learned when to peak during the season.

“You know they know when they have some level and then when they need the top level, they will be there. They will be at the top level because they have learned during the seasons, learned when winning.”

Though disappointed by their hefty defeat to Chile in their opening friendly contest, interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert maintain that his youthful senior Reggae Girlz outfit will learn from the setback, as he anticipates an improved performance in the second encounter on Tuesday.

In fact, Gilbert is confident that the more his new-look team plays, the better the performances will be, as they continue to introduce and expose players to the senior programme, mainly due to the current standoff between the World Cup players and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

The Chileans through goals from Michelle Olivares (12th), Maria Jose Urrutia (22nd), Yestin Jimenez (61st), Yenny Acuna (70th) and Paloma Duarte (88th), outclassed their Jamaican counterparts at the Juan Pinto Duran Stadium in Chile on Friday. Chinyelu Asher (77th) with her seventh international goal, pulled one back for the Jamaicans.

“I don’t think we were good enough to be honest, we started off really shaky and allowed them too much space to play despite what we said we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to approach the game. We were a little bit tentative on the back foot and they exploited those areas that we left opened,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“We were much better in the second half, so we will look to build on that because it is a learning process, and so we will see how best we can carry that momentum over into the next game,” he added.

Along with the lack of preparation heading into the games, Gilbert pointed out that niggling injuries also marred their performance, as a number of the college players are just getting back into season, while former Liverpool midfielder Jade Bailey is still gradually working her way back from a knee surgery.

“It was difficult because some players are recovering from injury and some college players are just heading back into season, but it is what we have to work with, and we just have to put a better showing in the next game. The more we play oppositions like these, the better we will get. As I said before, this is new for a lot of them on the international stage, so the more we play, the more competitive we will be,” Gilbert reasoned.

Still, with the next game scheduled for Tuesday, the veteran tactician is keen on using the remaining time in Chile to work on certain aspects of the team’s game, with hopes of conducting more intensive work when they next assemble for the April window.

“But for now we are just going to recover and assess the game, look at where we went wrong and improve some things that we could have done better. There are some areas that needs more work than what we will be able to fix here, but we are going to ensure we have good defensive organisation,” Gilbert declared.

“So, we are going to give a few other players some minutes to get back into fold and we are going to continue to work to make sure that defensively we are solid, and also tighten up on how we match up against opponents like these, so we should give a better account of ourselves in the next game,” he ended.

Stanley Bowles raised his arms into the air and took the acclaim of the Loftus Road crowd.

It was a familiar sight throughout the 1970s, but this was August 2015 and was to be the last time Bowles graced the pitch he once ruled.

Bowles, the former QPR, Brentford and England inside-forward, has died aged 75 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

He looked in good physical shape as he was presented to the crowd on ‘Stan Bowles Day’, QPR’s home fixture against Rotherham, but his condition had already taken its toll.

Nevertheless Don Shanks, Bowles’ best friend and former Rangers team-mate who accompanied him out on to the pitch, told the Guardian: “When Stan walked out at Loftus Road he knew exactly where he was, for some reason. A moment of knowing who he was.”

The epitome of the 1970’s football maverick, there was a time when pretty much everyone knew who Bowles was.

Born in Collyhurst, Manchester, on Christmas Eve 1948, Bowles began his career as an apprentice at Manchester City.

A brief stint at Bury followed before Bowles joined Fourth Division Crewe, whose manager Ernie Tagg came up with the immortal line: “If Stan could pass a betting shop like he can pass a football, he’d be a rich man.” Without the benefit of hindsight, it would go on to sum up an entire career.

Bowles moved up two divisions to join Carlise and then, in September 1972, signed for QPR for a fee of £110,000.

Over the next seven years, Bowles made 315 league appearances for Rangers and scored 97 goals.

Yet those figures barely scratch the surface of Bowles’ talent – think Lionel Messi playing with a cigarette in one hand, a lager top in the other and a copy of the Racing Post sticking out of his back pocket.

A snake-hipped bag of bones, often wearing a kit that seemed to look two sizes too big, Bowles jinked, feinted, dribbled and darted past the poor, unsuspecting full-backs of the day.

A trademark goal would see Bowles drop his shoulder, cut inside on to his right foot and effortlessly accelerate, leaving a right-back floundering in a blur of quick feet and long hair, before driving the ball in at the near post.

The trouble was – as Tagg alluded to – that Bowles knew his way around the watering holes and betting shops around Loftus Road almost as well as he knew his way around the pitch.

So naturally talented was Bowles that he felt he did not have to try, an attitude which ultimately limited him to only five England caps, his one international goal coming against Wales at Ninian Park in 1974.

In 1979, a move to Nottingham Forest and a relationship made in hell with Brian Clough was predictably unsuccessful and a year later Bowles joined Second Division Leyton Orient.

He wound down his playing career back in west London with Brentford, enjoying an Indian summer which saw him named the club’s player of the year in 1982. Bowles is fondly remembered for his time at Griffin Park and in a recent poll was voted the best player in their history by fans of both QPR and Brentford.

Less auspicious was an appearance on TV’s Superstars, where athletes competed against each other at different sports. A hungover Bowles scored seven points, the lowest in the show’s history.

A chaotic lifestyle was characterised by Bowles agreeing sponsorship deals with two different boot companies for the same match and wearing one of each.

Upon his retirement, in 1984, Bowles moved into after-dinner speaking, worked as a pundit for Sky Sports and had his own betting column. His 1996 autobiography revealed the extent of his drinking, womanising and gambling during his playing days.

In his later years, Bowles could be spotted flitting between the pubs and the bookies of Shepherd’s Bush, now without the inconvenience of having to fit a football match in between.

Upon being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Bowles moved back to Manchester to be cared for by his eldest daughter, Andria. He is survived by Andria, his second daughter, Tracy, and son Carl.

Harry Kane struck a stoppage-time winner as Bayern Munich beat RB Leipzig 2-1 to lift the gloom around the Allianz Arena.

It looked as though Benjamin Sesko’s deflected 70th-minute strike, cancelling out Kane’s first goal of the evening, would be enough to earn the visitors a point but the England captain popped up in the first minute of time added on to earn a much-needed victory.

The gap to Bayer Leverkusen remains a daunting eight points but, in the first match since Thomas Tuchel announced he would step down at the end of the season and coming off three straight defeats, Bayern needed this one, as was apparent by the relief shown in their celebrations.

Bayern could and perhaps should have been ahead in only the fifth minute. Raphael Guerrero dinked a cross in for Kane, but Janis Blaswich was down smartly, pushing his header against a post before gathering at the second attempt.

Bayern would come to rue that missed opportunity as creating others against a well-organised Leipzig side, defending in numbers and relying solely on counters to provide their own threat, proved difficult.

Just before the break, Thomas Muller headed down a free-kick for Kane, but his ambitious overhead kick lacked the power to worry Blaswich.

The contest improved in the second half as both sides stepped up their attacking intent.

Leipzig were the first to seriously threaten in the 53rd minute when Xavi Simons’ corner found Mohamed Simakan in space near the edge of the box, but his shot across goal went just the wrong side of the post.

Three minutes later, Bayern were ahead. Jamal Musiala slipped the ball through for Kane just inside the area and his first-time shot had the power to beat Blaswich.

Sesko soon had a chance to level as he broke into the box, but Manuel Neuer was quickly off his line to deny him.

However, there was nothing the Bayern goalkeeper could do soon after as the young Slovenia striker got the equaliser.

Neuer may well have had his shot from the edge of the box covered, but Leon Goretzka lunged in to try to block the ball, and a nick off the end of his boot sent it beyond the goalkeeper.

But there was a final twist to come in stoppage time as Eric Choupo-Moting lifted the ball into the box and Kane fired in his 27th goal of the season to earn the win.

Phil Foden’s 16th goal of the season helped Manchester City close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to one point with an unconvincing 1-0 win at Bournemouth.

Pep Guardiola’s side had to contend with local fireworks, a misfiring Erling Haaland and a second-half onslaught from the hosts before they left the south coast with a 15th victory from their last 17 matches.

This latest triumph was thanks to Foden’s 24th-minute tap-in, but it was the Cherries who did most of the running from there afterwards and were unlucky to lose with Marcus Tavernier squandering two fine chances.

Nevertheless, this win for the champions keeps them firmly in the hunt for another title ahead of a bumper month of March with league clashes to come with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

City had edged past Brentford on Tuesday night thanks to a goal from Haaland, but his shooting boots deserted him after nine minutes at Vitality Stadium.

Sent through after Foden had flicked on Bernardo Silva’s lofted pass, current Premier League top goalscorer Haaland curled the ball wide from 20 yards to spark big cheers from the home faithful.

The Bournemouth fans were almost on their feet celebrating 60 seconds later when Andoni Iraola watched his team create an opening for left-back Milos Kerkez, who tested Ederson with a dipping effort.

Chances remained at a premium with the main first-half flashpoint Adam Smith’s forceful tackle on Matheus Nunes until Foden continued his outstanding month with a 24th-minute opener.

It was more akin to route one than excellent football with Kovacic able to chip the ball into the path of Haaland, who brilliantly rolled Marcos Senesi before Neto saved his effort but Foden stroked home from close range for his sixth goal involvement of February.

Guardiola was on his haunches moments later when Silva failed to play through Haaland as City started to get into their stride with a Rodri effort also bravely blocked by Ryan Christie.

Bournemouth had spent most of the first half allowing their frustration with referee Jarred Gillett to get the better of them, but eventually posed City problems with Ederson called upon to parry Christie’s low effort in stoppage-time.

Whether Iraola’s team could keep it up was another question, but they fashioned a decent opening which was wasted by Kerkez early into the second period.

Justin Kluivert tried his luck soon after and, while Ederson saved his 25-yard strike – not for the first time – the City goalkeeper looked unconvincing.

The champions nearly highlighted their overwhelming power minutes later when Haaland bundled his way into the area, but Illia Zabarnyi got back well to block with his backside.

It failed to halt Bournemouth’s momentum and they should have levelled in the 55th minute.

Antoine Semenyo again got the better of Nathan Ake and his cross found Marcus Tavernier, but the Cherries attacker fired his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the wayward shot clear for good measure.

Bournemouth were in the ascendancy now and another guilt-edged chance was squandered when in-form Dominic Solanke twisted away from Dias and set up Taverner, who dragged his 14-yard shot wide.

Guardiola had seen enough and Jeremy Doku was the first to get the call from a star-studded bench but it did not have the desired effect.

The latest chance for the hosts came and went with 67 minutes played when Taverner’s inswinging corner found Solanke, but his header was clawed away on the goaline by Ederson and Kerkez’s follow-up shot was blocked by Rodri.

Fireworks were let off close by to the stadium moments later before Haaland was substituted by an increasingly-agitated Guardiola, with 15 minutes left straight after Neto had denied the Norway international from close range.

Iraola’s team carried on taking the fight to the visitors and after Dango Ouattara arrowed an effort wide, the final opportunity of the night went to Bournemouth’s January recruit Enes Unal, but he headed Semenyo’s cross off target to ensure City claimed the points.

Scott Sinclair was the hero for Bristol Rovers as they came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over lowly Carlisle at the Memorial Ground.

The 34-year-old former Celtic forward rolled back the years with a superb second-half winner after the rock-bottom Cumbrians had stunned their hosts.

Carlisle started brightly and midfielder Josh Vela gave Paul Simpson’s side a deserved lead after 16 minutes when he volleyed past Jed Ward.

Striker Luke Armstrong went close before Taylor Charters almost doubled their lead but was left holding his head in his hands as his low, angled shot thudded against Ward’s near post.

Rovers forward Chris Martin levelled with a close-range finish in the 34th minute following a moment of magic from Jevani Brown, who beat his marker with an audacious flick before crossing for the veteran striker to score his 14th goal of the season.

Sinclair completed the comeback after 51 minutes as he turned on the style, cutting inside before unleashing a shot that crashed in off the underside of goalkeeper Harry Lewis’s crossbar.

Aston Villa strengthened their grip on a top-four position in the Premier League with a pulsating 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest.

Villa have their sights firmly set on Champions League qualification and a first home league win of 2024 saw them move five points clear of Tottenham in fifth.

Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz’s double saw them cruise into a 3-0 first-half lead only for Forest to scare them with goals either side of half-time through Moussa Niakhate and Morgan Gibbs-White.

But Leon Bailey struck on the hour to give Villa breathing space and they saw it out to give themselves a cushion over the chasing pack.

Forest were lucky still to be in the game at half-time after being overrun in the first 40 minutes but improved after the break and had enough chances to scrape a point, which would have been handy in their battle against relegation.

Villa needed less than four minutes to go in front as Watkins scored his 14th of the season.

This was one of his easiest finishes, though, thanks to the work of Bailey, who gave him a simple tap-in after being played in down the right and making light work of Murillo.

Watkins could have had his second six minutes later as Villa advanced down the other side, but the England striker’s shot from Jacob Ramsey’s cut-back was blocked on the line by Niakhate.

Villa’s second goal came just before the half-hour and again was built on the right as Cash passed to Ramsey, who teed up Luiz to sweep into the corner.

Forest skipper Gibbs-White summoned his team for a huddle after that went in and gave an impassioned speech, but it had little impact as Villa went three up in the 39th minute.

John McGinn sent in a delightful cross from a recycled corner for Luiz to plant a free header into the corner for his second of the match.

Forest gave themselves a lifeline in first-half injury time as Taiwo Awoniyi headed a corner back across goal and Niakhate chested the ball over the line from close range.

They made three changes at half-time and it had the perfect impact as they made it 3-2 shortly after the restart when substitute Divock Origi slipped Gibbs-White through and he clipped by Emiliano Martinez.

Moments later it should have been 3-3 as Anthony Elanga was sent clear by Origi but dragged his shot wide.

Villa had been like rabbits in the headlights but they began to reassert themselves and almost scored a fourth when Alex Moreno teed up Youri Tielemans, but the Belgian stroked his effort into the post.

The hosts did take control again on the hour as they made it 4-2, with Forest shooting themselves in the foot.

Playing out from the back, Andrew Omobamidele passed to Tielemans, who slipped in Watkins and when Matz Selz came out to block the loose ball it fell to Bailey who had a simple tap-in.

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