English Premiership

One goal enough for Villa win

2010-08-29 19:44
Kevin MacDonald (AFP)

Birmingham - Aston Villa boosted caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald's hopes of landing the job on a permanent basis as Luke Young's goal secured a 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday.

Villa have been without a full-time manager since Martin O'Neill quit just before the start of the season and MacDonald has been holding the fort with mixed results since then.

After an impressive opening day win over West Ham, Villa were thrashed 6-0 at Newcastle and then crashed out of the Europa League against Rapid Vienna in the play-off round on Thursday.

It remains uncertain whether Villa owner Randy Lerner regards former Liverpool midfielder MacDonald, who has worked for the club as a coach for 15 years, as a serious candidate for the job.

But Young's early goal at Villa Park and the determined performance that followed at least made his case.

"The boys respect Kevin. He's got great football knowledge and we all think he can do the job," said match-winner Young.

"It's up to Kevin whether he puts his name forward. We will have to see what happens in the coming week.

"We were disappointed to lose by six goals against Newcastle when we let ourselves down a bit and then we went out in Europe in midweek."

Wales international James Collins came in for young defender Ciaran Clark in the only change to the Villa side hammered at Newcastle in their last Premier League match.

Villa, who lost new signing Stephen Ireland to an injury in the warm-up, took the lead in the ninth minute when Ashley Young slipped a pass through to Luke Young and the defender rifled his shot past Tim Howard from the edge of the penalty area.

It was just Young's second goal in three years at Villa.

Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel was tested for the first time when Richard Dunne was booked for a crude block on Jermaine Beckford 25 yards from goal.

Mikel Arteta curled the free-kick over the Villa wall, but Friedel saved comfortably.

Steven Pienaar went much closer for Everton when the South African took Leighton Baines' pass and curled a superb effort from just inside the area which beat Friedel and crashed against the crossbar.

Villa appealed in vain for a penalty in first-half injury time after a challenge from behind on Marc Albrighton by Pienaar.

John Carew went close for the hosts with a glancing header from Ashley Young's right-wing cross early in the second half.

Everton substitute Louis Saha had a low deflected shot saved by Friedel as the game started to open up.

Howard made a fine double save to keep out Carew's cross shot and the follow-up attempt from Ashley Young.

Then at the other end Friedel pushed out Saha's volley, while Jack Rodwell's header flashed wide from a Arteta free-kick.

Albrighton squandered a golden chance to double Villa's lead. Howard finger-tipped away a curling attempt from Ashley Young straight to Albrighton, who was unmarked only eight yards out, but he lifted his shot into the Holte End.

Phil Jagielka headed over from Arteta's corner as Villa and Saha forced a good save from Friedel as Everton just failed to snatch an equaliser in a tense finish.

Read more on:    aston villa  |  everton  |  epl
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