Phillips goal ends hoodoo
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 16/10/05 1:54pm
Aston Villa's dreadful Premiership record against local rivals Birmingham City came to end after Kevin Phillips' goal gave them a 1-0 win at St Andrews.
Villa had not won any of their six previous Premiership meetings, but claimed all three points on Sunday thanks to Phillips' cool finish after 19 minutes.
The win is just Villa's second of the season and moves them clear of the drop zone while Steve Bruce's side remain just outside the bottom three.
The first chance of the game fell to Julian Gray at the back post but he squandered the chance lashing the ball wide of Thomas Sorensen's goal.
The former Crystal Palace man arrived on time to connect with Emile Heskey's near post flick from Jermaine Pennant's cross but his finish was poor.
Heskey thought he was away shortly after down the right, but Liam Ridgewell checked the striker's run and earned himself a booking from referee Graham Poll.
Villa then stunned the home crowd when summer signing Phillips opened the scoring with a neat finish from just inside the penalty area.
The former Southampton ace was perfectly placed to latch onto Gareth Barry's back-heel to stroke the ball home past Maik Taylor's outstretched hand.
Out of sorts Walter Pandiani should have done better after breaking into the box, but after getting past Olof Mellberg his effort was tame and comfortably saved by Sorensen.
Blues boss Bruce was forced to change his side before the break when Stephen Clemence hobbled off and he was replaced by on loan Chelsea man Jiri Jarosik.
Blues took their time to settle in the second half and had to wait until just before the hour mark for Matthew Upson to test Sorensen with a downward header from Pennant's corner.
The home side thought they had won a penalty shortly after when Heskey's effort struck Wilfred Bouma's arm in the box, but Poll waved away their appeals.
David Dunn made his long-awaited return to action and nearly had an immediate impact when his left-footed effort was superbly palmed away by Sorensen with 20 minutes to go.
The visitors rarely threatened after the break although Juan Pablo Angel should really have done better following good work through the middle from Steven Davis.
Dunn was looking lively following his prolonged period on the sidelines through injury, however his long-range drive rolled just wide of Sorensen's goal.
Former Blackburn midfielder Dunn thought he had won his side a penalty after going down under a challenge from Bouma in the area, but again Poll failed to point to the spot.
Despite heavy pressure from Bruce's side late on they were unable to equalise leaving Villa with West Midlands bragging rights.
Click here for Birmingham v Aston Villa player ratings.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||9||16|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||9||10|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||8||4|