Winning start for Sam Allardyce

LONDON: Sam Allardyce got off to a flying start as manager of Blackburn Rovers when the Premier League struggler beat Stoke City 3-0 on Saturday to claim only its second home victory of the season.

Allardyce, who replaced Paul Ince in midweek after the Lancashire club had managed only three wins in 17 league games, must have been pinching himself as two goals by Benni McCarthy and one for Jason Roberts settled it inside the first half-hour.

Quick strikes

Bolton Wanderers was even quicker out of the blocks as it scored twice in the first three minutes en route to a 2-1 home win over Portsmouth while Fulham beat Middlesbrough 3-0 and Sunderland triumphed 4-1 at Hull City.

None of the top three were in action on Saturday.

Leader Liverpool goes in search of its first victory at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Sunday while Newcastle and Tottenham, both on the fringes of the relegation zone, meet at St. James’ Park.

Manchester City, now in the bottom three after Sunderland’s victory, travels to basement club West Bromwich Albion. Second-placed Chelsea is away to Everton on Monday.

The results: Blackburn 3 (McCarthy 9-pen, 27, Roberts 18) bt Stoke 0; Bolton 2 (Taylor 1, Gardner 3) bt Portsmouth 1 (Crouch 20); Fulham 3 (Bullard 41, Murphy 54-pen, Dempsey 59) bt Middlesbrough 0; Hull 1 (Barmby 19) lost to Sunderland 4 (Malbranque 10, Zayatte 78-og, Jones 84, Cisse 90). — Agencies