Spirited Villa overcome Toffees
Luke Young scored his first goal for nearly two years to earn Aston Villa a 1-0 victory over Everton and boost caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald's chances of becoming Martin O'Neill's successor.
The former England defender, who rejected a move to Liverpool earlier this month, dealt a blow to the other side of Merseyside with his ninth-minute winner.
It was Villa's second league win under MacDonald as they bounced back from their Europa League exit at the hands of Rapid Vienna.
Villa had leaked nine goals in their previous two matches, including a 6-0 mauling by Newcastle at St James' Park. But they managed to hold on for a clean sheet despite being on the defensive for lengthy periods.
Everton dominated for lengthy spells in terms of possession with Mikel Arteta pulling the strings in the middle of the park. But they lacked a cutting edge until Louis Saha was brought on early in the second period.
It means Everton are still searching for their first win of the campaign and have collected only one point from a possible nine.
But after nine minutes Villa took the lead through Luke Young's second goal for the club since his move from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2008.
John Carew headed the ball into the path of Ashley Young who held the ball up before releasing Luke Young. He kept his nerve before driving a left-footed shot wide of Tim Howard.
Mark Albrighton should have made it 2-0 but shot over with the goal at his mercy after Tim Howard had parried Ashley Young's shot.
Phil Jagielka headed over from Arteta's corner as Villa held on desperately in the closing stages.