Tim Howard smells something in the distance
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American Exports: Jermaine Jones leads Schalke, Tim Howard misses out for Everton

AMSTERDAM – Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones notched an assist for the second round in a row on Saturday, setting up the winner in a 4-1 cruise through Wolfsburg.

With the game tied at a goal a side in the 63rd minute, the US international collected a weak clearance and squared for Julian Draxler to fire home from the top of the area. In addition to his fifth assist of the season, Jones also picked up his fifth booking, which will see him suspended for the next league match.

The victory started Schalke's first Bundesliga win streak since October, while also lifting them into Germany's final Europa league slot.

One flight down, John Anthony Brooks worked a trying full shift and Alfredo Morales the last 13 minutes as Hertha Berlin fell 1-0 at Dynamo Dresden. The defeat, their first in any competition since August, left the visitors susceptible to being knocked out of the penthouse by Sunday combatants Braunschweig.

Turning to England's Premier League, a back injury ended Tim Howard's streak of consecutive EPL starts two shy of the Everton record as the home side topped Reading 3-1. With their first win in four games, the sixth-place Toffees remained within six points of a Champions League invite.

Meanwhile, Brek Shea pitched in 24 positive minutes to no avail as Stoke City dropped a 1-0 home result to West Ham United. 

The winter arrival saw a stoppage-time penalty gripe ignored after his cross caromed off the hand of Hammers defender Guy Demel. Geoff Cameron went unused by the Potters, who slipped one rung to 11th place with their third loss in four.

One league below in the Championship, Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City had a rough day at the office in a 5-2 loss at Hull City. The Brums' first defeat in six away matches pushed the club down a spot to 17th place.

Elsewhere, Stuart Holden watched from the dugout as Bolton scored a 3-2 win at Barnsley and Zak Whitbread did likewise in Leicester City's 1-0 loss at Ipswich Town. 

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