On a tense afternoon of Premier League football, Sunderland, Stoke and Portsmouth all won 1-0 but Middlesbrough had to settle for a point against Fulham.

Stoke City's fans celebrated as though they feel they are safe after a priceless 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. Liam Lawrence drilled the winner past Paul Robinson to spark wild scenes at The Britannia Stadium but Rovers remain in trouble in 17th place.

Sunderland scored just before half time through Djibril Cisse and it proved enough to drop Hull City to fifth from bottom. The Frenchman headed home to end his recent goal drought but it was a nervous finale after The Black Cats failed to extend their lead after the break.

Middlesbrough were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw with Fulham as former Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer was in inspired form. The Australia number one made a string of saves to keep another clean sheet and leave the Teessiders third from bottom.

Portsmouth finally broke Bolton Wanderers down with Kanu claiming the winner in a 1-0 triumph. Nadir Belhadj made a real difference after coming on as a substitute and his in-swinging corner led to fellow sub Kanu possibly getting the last touch. Glen Johnson had earlier gone close on a number of occasions.

Aston Villa still cannot get back to winning ways after West Ham secured a 1-1 draw at Villa Park. Emile Heskey opened the scoring and later hit the woodwork but Brad Friedel was kept on his toes at the other end. The American was finally beaten by Diego Tristan, who claimed his first Hammers goal.