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Barclays Premier League

Molineux Stadium (ATT 27,084) 21st January 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Oliver

Wolves Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Aston Villa A Villa

Wolves 2

M Kightly (21)
D Edwards (31)
K Henry (S/O 75)

ft

A Villa 3

D Bent (pen 11)
R Keane (51, 84)

Keane returns to haunt Wolves

Irishman strikes twice to deliver knockout blow against 10-man Wolves

By Razwan Mirza.   Last Updated: 21/01/12 5:49pm

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Robbie Keane: The Aston Villa striker wins the game against his former club with a sensational strike

Robbie Keane: The Aston Villa striker wins the game against his former club with a sensational strike

Robbie Keane proved to be the hero as his second-half brace for Aston Villa helped them secure a sensational 3-2 victory against his former club Wolves at Molineux.

Man of the match: Who else but the retuning Robbie Keane as the striker returned to Molineux to haunt his former club with an outstanding brace. Goal of the match: Keane's winner was simply stunning. He picked up Roger Johnson's poor clearance to lash his right-footed effort home from 25 yards. Moment of the match: Karl Henry was given a straight red card for a 'Beckham-esque' type kick-out on Marc Albrighton. Talking point: Where does Mick McCarthy go with his Wolves side now after going eight games without a win? Can Villa now aim for a top half finish with the prolific Keane in their side. Stat of the match: Robbie Keane has now scored 125 goals in 345 Premier League appearances.

Keane made his debut for Wolves more than 14 years ago and he returned to score twice and make sure manager Alex McLeish celebrated his 53rd birthday in style.

In a first half of unrelenting drama, Darren Bent opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just 11 minutes.

The striker was brought crashing down following a clumsy tackle by Christophe Berra and he picked himself up and dusted himself down to coolly slide home from 12 yards for his eighth goal of the season and his 99th top-flight goal.

However, Wolves showed plenty of bite and hit back ten minutes later as Michael Kightly teased and tormented Ciaran Clark before curling his left-foot shot into the far corner past Shay Given.

And the hosts soon took the lead in this see-saw encounter as Kightly's corner from the right was headed towards goal by big defender Roger Johnson and David Edwards was on hand to nod the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Six minutes into the second half, Villa restored parity and it was Keane on hand to turn home Ciaran Clark's neat header despite Wayne Hennessey's best efforts.

Wolves were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining as referee Michael Oliver issued a straight red card as Karl Henry kicked out needlessly at Marc Albrighton.

And Villa took full advantage of the extra man with six minutes remaining as the on-loan Los Angeles Galaxy striker bagged his 125th Premier League goal with a stunning winner.

Keane made defender Johnson pay for a poor headed clearance by lashing his long-range strike in off the crossbar from 25 yards out.

Villa have now taken 11 points from their last five away matches while Wolves remain embroiled in a relegation battle and are in the bottom three after their sequence without a league win was extended to eight games.

Promising

Villa started promisingly and should have gone ahead in the first minute.

Clark delivered a telling cross from the left of the Wolves box and Gary Gardner found himself unmarked at the far post but headed wide.

Villa keeper Shay Given had to be alert to cling on to a low drive from Steve Fletcher after Wolves' nine-goal top scorer had seized on a low cross from Edwards.

But after 10 minutes Bent scored from the penalty spot to put Villa ahead.

Wolves could have no complaints as the England striker was chopped down inside the box by Berra. Up stepped Bent to send Hennessey the wrong way from the spot.

Villa were looking the more threatening and Johnson blocked a fierce drive from Gardner at the expense of a corner.

But after 21 minutes the lively Kightly brought Wolves level. Emmanuel Frimpong showed some neat skill before finding Kightly on the right and he cut inside before beating Given with a low drive into the far corner.

Wolves were now in the ascendancy and Albrighton was forced to head a shot from Henry off the line.

Matt Jarvis then teed up Edwards in plenty of space near the Villa penalty spot but he powered his low drive straight at Given.

It came as no surprise when Wolves went ahead after 31 minutes through Edwards with Villa again vulnerable at a set-piece.

Kightly's corner was met by Johnson's powerful header and Edwards got in front of Given to head the ball into the roof of the net.

McLeish made a half-time substitution with Gabriel Agbonlahor making way for Stephen Warnock who slotted in at left-back which allowed Clark to move into midfield.

Parity

After 52 minutes Keane brought Villa level. Jarvis' clearance fell straight to Clark who headed the ball down for Keane who swivelled and drilled a low shot past Hennessey into the corner of the net.

Wolves were forced into a change when Frimpong was accidentally caught in the face by Petrov when attacking a Kightly corner.

There was a lengthy delay before the on-loan Arsenal midfielder was stretchered off with his neck in a brace and replaced by Nenad Milijas.

Villa were galvanised by their equaliser and Hennessey had to save from his own defender when Stephen Ward connected with a Bent cross.

Albrighton made a 50-yard run and was only just too high with a 20-yard effort, while at the other end a Jarvis cross was just too high for Kightly who could not control his header.

Wolves were reduced to 10 men after 75 minutes when Henry kicked out at Albrighton when on the ground and was given a straight red card.

The former captain will miss the games with QPR, Liverpool and West Brom while serving a three-game ban.

Villa made their numerical advantage count when Keane scored a superb winner in the 84th minute.

Alan Hutton's cross was only half cleared to Keane, whose fierce 20-yard drive flew past Hennessey into the top corner of the net.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 16 39
2 Manchester City 17 39
3 Manchester United 17 32
4 West Ham United 17 31
5 Southampton 17 29
6 Tottenham Hotspur 17 27
7 Arsenal 16 26
8 Swansea City 17 25
9 Newcastle United 16 23
10 Everton 17 21
11 Liverpool 16 21
12 Aston Villa 17 20
13 Stoke City 16 19
14 West Bromwich Albion 17 17
15 Queens Park Rangers 17 17
16 Sunderland 16 16
17 Crystal Palace 17 15
18 Burnley 17 15
19 Hull City 17 13
20 Leicester City 17 10

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