English Premiership

Aston Villa end losing run

2015-03-04 00:08
Christian Benteke (AFP)

Birmingham - Christian Benteke's penalty in time added on has ended a run of seven successive defeats for Aston Villa as they emerged 2-1 winners over West Brom in their Premier League clash on Tuesday.

Benteke -- who also scored the winner from the penalty spot in the corresponding fixture last term though that was a seven goal thriller -- restored the hosts one goal advantage after Saido Berahino had levelled for the visitors following Gabriel Agbonlahor's early strike.

Villa's win -- their first in 13 league matches -- is their first since beating bottom side Leicester three months ago and sees them climb out of the bottom three with a three point advantage over QPR and Burnley.

QPR, though have two games in hand on Villa while Burnley have one and both have slightly better goal difference.

Villa's lack of goals this season has become sonething of a running joke but they were nearly handed one early in the game through a terrible error by West Brom 'keeper Ben Foster.

The England international somehow scooped Gabriel Agbonlahor's shot through his legs and Foster only spared himself severe embarrassment by getting back to prevent the ball going over the line.

Agbonlahor, once such a bright hope for club and country, made no mistake second time round as the 28-year-old escaped the attentions of Joleon Lescott and slotted the ball past Foster.

This provoked a quite extraordinary release of tension from Villa manager Tim Sherwood who pumped his arms in the air and went on a 50 yard run of celebration.

Barely having got his breath back the former Spurs manager nearly had to repeat it minutes later as Agbonlahor had another goalbound effort cleared off the line by Lescott.

West Brom didn't appear to know how to cope with their opponents playing so out of character and nearly conceded a second goal on the stroke of half-time as former Leeds starlet Fabian Delph worked himself some space and curled a delightful effort round Foster only for it to cannon to safety off a post.

Finally the visitors produced a chance but it was spurned as Chris Brunt's superb cross was headed over by Craig Dawson as the hour mark approached.

However, it was a temporary let-off for the hosts as the pendulum of the nervy encounter swung West Brom's way when Saido Berahino turned in from close range with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Berahino showed he isn't just about putting the ball in the net as he produced a sublime ball into the box for James Morrison but he opted to pass and not shoot despite being one on one with Brad Guzan and the ball was cleared.

The drama lasted down to the wire as Foster showed the good and bad sides of his goalkeeping saving brilliantly from Delph but then was responsible for conceding the penalty as he brought down Matthew Lowton.

Benteke showed remarkable sang-froid given his total lack of form this term as he converted the penalty for perhaps the most important win of Villa's campaign so far.

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