Aston Villa climbed out of the Premier League drop zone with victory against Reading thanks to Christian Benteke's winner
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza. Last Updated: 28/11/12 8:08am
Christian Benteke fired Aston Villa out of the relegation zone with a late winning goal in a 1-0 Villa Park victory over Reading.
The striker rose highest with 10 minutes remaining to power his fifth goal for the club and secure a much-needed three points in the basement battle at Villa Park.
Up until that point Reading had produced a hard working performance and looked on course for a point in a game void of any quality in front of Villa's lowest home league gate - 28,692 - for six years.
Best of the game.
- Man of the match: Benteke will get the headlines, but Bannan was constantly involved in starting Villa attacks
- Attempt of the match: Tabb made a scintillating run late in the game and only a timely tackle from Clark prevented him.
- Save of the match: Guzan was called into action from a Roberts shot at the near post, and the American reacted superbly, his right leg forcing the ball away from goal.
- Moment of the match: Benteke's goal produced a roar of euphoric relief from the home fans that spared Paul Lambert's side what may well have been a chorus of boos at full time.
- Talking point: Villa pick up a much need win to escape the drop zone for the time being. For Reading, a defeat from a late goal will surely haunt Brian McDermott's players
Benteke and Andreas Weimann failed to take the hosts' best opportunities while Adam Le Fondre should have scored for the Royals.
Villa started the game on the front foot, keeping hold of the ball without really penetrating the Reading backline.
They were very nearly punished when Mikele Leigertwood's teasing cross from the right was deflected up into the air, but Le Fondre was unable to find the back of the net with his acrobatic overhead kick attempt.
The hosts were next to go close as Brett Holman's daisy cutter of a cross was well controlled by Benteke, but his effort towards goal was tame, allowing Adam Federici to make an easy save.
Soon after Villa should have taken the lead as Benteke's clever pull-back was smashed over the crossbar from Weimann.
Nathan Baker then headed over the crossbar from Barry Bannan's corner and Benteke's curler was easily held by the busy Federici as the sides went into the interval with the game finely balanced.
Following a scrappy opening to the second period the Royals should have broken the deadlock just before the hour mark as Le Fondre somehow managed to head over the bar from Nicky Shorey's corner.
At the other end, Villa squandered another opportunity from a corner of their own as Ciaran Clark headed inches wide.
The hard working Jason Roberts then cut inside before his shot was cleared to safety by the right-boot of Brad Guzan.
Just as the game was heading for a dull goalless draw, Villa broke the deadlock with 10 minutes remaining.
And it was Benteke who found the target as he climbed above Sean Morrison to meet Ashley Westwood's corner to send the ball into the far corner to seal the three points for Paul Lambert's side.
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Reading|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|6||Shots off Target||6|
|60.3||1st Half Poss.||39.7|
|51.4||2nd Half Poss.||48.6|
Barclays Premier League
|14||West Ham United||4||4|
|15||Queens Park Rangers||5||4|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||4||2|
Aston Villa v Reading
Paul Lambert has hailed Christian Benteke as a 'special' player with a bright future.
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Reading boss Brian McDermott was left fuming after his side once again conceded a late goal to lose a game.