Belfast Telegraph

Villa win again

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young maintained the Aston Villa resurgence with the second-half goals that saw off battling Wigan 2-1.

Gerard Houllier's side pulled themselves further away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone as they followed up last weekend's uplifting win over Manchester City in impressive fashion at the DW Stadium.

James McCarthy marked his return from injury by pulling one back as Villa finished in nervous fashion, but the visitors hung on to leave Wigan, with just one win in nine, in trouble in the bottom three.

Wigan had the first opportunity when Franco Di Santo headed wide from a Charles N'Zogbia cross.

Villa then began to assert themselves and Darren Bent brilliantly controlled a long ball and cut back inside Steven Caldwell only to scuff his shot.

Ali Al Habsi then produced two fine point-blank saves in quick succession to deny Stewart Downing and Bent after a pass from Agbonlahor had opened up the defence.

In a lively opening Wigan responded with N'Zogbia setting up Hugo Rodallega but the Colombian's shot was deflected and Brad Friedel parried.

At the start of the second half as Young raced into the area and forced Al Habsi to palm over a fierce drive. The visitors grabbed the lead from the resulting corner. Again Al Habsi did well to keep out Carlos Cuellar's firm header but the ball ballooned into the air and Agbonlahor reacted quickest to nod it over the line.

Young doubled Villa's lead from the penalty spot after being brought down by Hendry Thomas. The Villa captain made no mistake as he sent Al Habsi the wrong way.

Wigan did not give up the fight and pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time. There seemed little danger as McCarthy lined up a shot from 30 yards but the ball took a huge deflection off James Collins and wrong-footed Friedel to end up in the bottom corner.


From Belfast Telegraph