LONDON (AP) — U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden scored his first Bolton goal Saturday to clinch a 3-2 victory over Wolverhampton in the Premier League on Saturday, while compatriot Brad Friedel conceded twice in four minutes as Aston Villa threw away a two-goal lead for a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Bolton is turning out to be this season's surprise, closing the gap on fourth-place Manchester City in the final Champions League qualification spot to three points with a third of the season gone.
Bolton went ahead at Wolves after just 45 seconds, with defender Richard Stearman heading into his own net.
Holden setup Johan Elmander for Bolton's second in the 62nd minute, with the Sweden striker dribbling through four defenders before slotting into the bottom corner.
Holden, who joined Bolton in January from the Houston Dynamo, finally got his name on the scoresheet five minutes later, slotting Lee Chung-yong's pass into the net.
"What a great feeling to get first goal and even better feeling for the win and 3 pts," Holden tweeted after the match.
But it was a nervy end to the match, with Kevin Foley pulling one back for the home side two minutes after Holden's strike and Stephen Fletcher finding time for a Wolves second.
Bolton is fifth in the standings, one place behind Man City, which was held to a 0-0 draw by Birmingham, and a spot ahead of Tottenham on goal difference. Spurs beat Blackburn 4-2 with Gareth Bale scoring twice.
Friedel's Villa looked set to inflict United's first loss of the season after Ashley Young scored from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute, and Marc Albrighton completed a swift counterattack four minutes later by slipping Stewart Downing's cross into the net.
But after giving away the ball that led to Villa's second, Federico Macheda pulled one back with a powerful shot past Friedel in the 81st. United captain Nemanja Vidic completed United's rally in the 85th when he met Nani's cross with a diving header at the far post.
Having been kept quiet until the last 10 minutes, Friedel blocked Gabriel Obertan's effort in stoppage time to preserve the point for Villa.
"We came back well but it was too late and we shouldn't have been in that position," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "Our passing was poor. Normally we can control the match. We didn't control it."
After 13 matches, second-place United is three points behind leader Chelsea, which hosts Sunderland on Sunday.
At St. James' Park, Fulham's U.S. forward Clint Dempsey kept Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul busy but couldn't find the net in a 0-0 draw.
West Ham remains rooted to the bottom of the standings after being held to a 0-0 draw by Blackpool — its third consecutive league draw.
Wigan is a point clear of the drop zone after Victor Moses clinched a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich. ___
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi's double lifted Barcelona to a provisional lead over Real Madrid in the Spanish league with its 3-1 win against third-place Villarreal on Saturday.
In other matches, nine-man Athletic Bilbao bettered Almeria 1-0 and Diego Forlan scored twice in Atletico Madrid's 3-0 win over Osasuna.
David Villa scored Barcelona's 22nd-minute opener with a low strike from the left side of the penalty area after deftly avoiding a diving tackle by defender Carlos Marchena.
Four minutes later, Nilmar slalomed through the left side of the Barcelona defense and beat Victor Valdes with a left-foot crossing shot that ricocheted off the right post and into the net.
Messi regained the lead by chipping Diego Lopez from the right in the 59th after a precision combination with Pedro Rodriguez surrounded by the Villarreal defense, and the Argentina forward recorded his 10th goal of the season — just one behind league leader Cristiano Ronaldo — by deflecting Rodriguez' cross in the 83rd.
Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola said he was "very satisfied with the win" over a Villarreal that had "impressed" him.
Barcelona's 28 points lifted it two ahead of Real Madrid, which visits Sporting Gijon on Sunday. Villarreal, which had not lost since the first round, remained third with 23 points. ___
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley scored as Borussia Moenchengladbach climbed out of last place in the Bundesliga with a 4-0 victory over Cologne on Saturday.
Bradley fired Gladbach's second into the bottom of the net from the edge of the area in the 70th minute.
Raul Bobadilla opened and closed the scoring for Gladbach on a drenched pitch in Cologne, while Igor de Camargo netted the third goal to send Colgone to the bottom of the standings.
Also Saturday, Bayer Leverkusen kept pace with leader Borussia Dortmund with a hard-fought 1-0 win at St. Pauli, while Eintracht Frankfurt lost ground by drawing 0-0 with Werder Bremen.
Renato Augusto scored the winner in the 81st minute for third-place Leverkusen, which moved to 24 points from 12 games to remain seven behind Dortmund.
Second-place Mainz has 24 points ahead of playing Hannover later Saturday. Frankfurt remained fourth with 20 points after extending its undefeated streak to seven games.
Ten-man Wolfsburg wasted a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw at home against Schalke, and Kaiserslautern rallied from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Stuttgart. ___
MILAN (AP) — Francesco Totti's first-half injury time penalty gave AS Roma a share of the Serie A points with Juventus in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Totti held his nerve for his first league goal of the season after Vincenzo Iaquinta opened the scoring 10 minutes earlier.
Juventus enjoyed the better of the chances and only an acrobatic save from Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio denied the home side the win after Fabio Quagliarella fired in a volley with four minutes remaining.
"There were two teams that wanted to win tonight," Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said. "We just needed to create a couple more chances in the first half.
"We had enough possession and we caused Juventus enough problems, but we couldn't find the finish. We needed to be more incisive."
Also, Fiorentina kept up its improved form with a 1-0 win at home to Cesena.