AMSTERDAM – Tim Howard and Everton grabbed control of fifth place in the English Premier League on Saturday afternoon by posting a 3-2 home win over Swansea City.
The US netminder logged five saves to run his career record against the Swans to 5-0-1. Howard was at his best with a pair of second-half stops to protect the lead, one on a Wilfried Bony header and another to deny Pablo Hernandez late.
Howard & Co. have now won three straight EPL matches and five in a row at home. They stand a point above sixth-place Tottenham and to within eight of fourth-place Arsenal with a game still in hand on both.
Around the EPL, Jozy Altidore worked a decent but fruitless shift up top as Sunderland meekly fell 2-0 at Norwich City.
The No. 17 shirt saw both of his shot attempts blocked on the day, but won a game-high five aerial challenges and four free kicks. Altidore also set up his side's first chance of the game with a slip pass in the box near halftime. On the down side, he made four turnovers in the hold-up game, all coming in the first half.
Down a flight in the Championship, Tim Ream was solid in the middle as Bolton rallied for a 2-2 share at Yeovil Town.
In addition to ringing up six clearances and five interceptions, the Wanderers central defender also provided some incisive passing to help the team forward throughout the match. The point kept Bolton in 17th place and nudged them nine points clear of the danger zone.
Elsewhere, Oguchi Onyewu played well in Sheffield Wednesday's tough 1-0 loss at Doncaster.
The Owls center back notched a game-best eight clearances, five pass interceptions and a saving tackle. The loss, Wednesday's third straight on the road, dipped them a spot to 15th place.
Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector each went the distance as Birmingham City suffered a hard-luck 2-1 defeat to visiting Reading.
Brums center back Packwood joint-lead his side with 12 clearances and nearly earned an early assist when Federico Macheda nodded his flick-on off the bar. Spector, who moved into midfield for this contest, pitched in with a lukewarm performance as the 20th-place hosts saw their win drought reach five.
Over in the Bundesliga, John Anthony Brooks returned to the Hertha Berlin line-up for a 3-0 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Though the youngster passed extremely well and piled up five interceptions, he was also most culpable in Hertha allowing Raffael's 40th minute capper. Now winless in four, the ninth place visitors fell five points adrift of a Europa League invite.
Next door in France, Alejandro Bedoya was an impact sub as Nantes snapped a nine-game Ligue 1 winless streak by hanging on for a 2-1 win over nine-man guests Montpellier.
The US attacker was tripped up while racing into the area on a through ball in the 85th minute, but Itay Shechter would have his resulting penalty try saved. Bedoya also made several defensive plays tracking back, including a saving tackle in the area during stoppage time. The 13th place Canaries pulled eights points clear of the relegation mire with the win.
Finally, Terrence Boyd pitched in with 90 solid minutes to help Rapid Vienna stroll 3-0 to their first ever win over RZ Pellets WAC. The result allowed the Green-Whites to leapfrog over city rivals Austria Vienna on goal differential to grab third place and control of the final Europa League position.