Latics pay the penalty
Barry spot-kick sends Villa en route to 4-0 away win
Last Updated: 26/10/08 5:20pm
Agbonlahor: A goal and two assists
Aston Villa's fine form continued on Sunday with a comfortable 4-0 success over Wigan Athletic at The JJB.
The visitors went in front on 22 minutes when Gareth Barry found the back of the net from the penalty spot after Titus Bramble brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor in full flight.
Villa lost Barry to injury in the second half, although the introduction of John Carew from the substitutes' bench helped clinch the win for Martin O'Neill's side.
Firstly, Carew flicked on a corner for Agbonlahor to stab home from close range before the Norwegian striker headed home shortly after to complete the win.
The visitors added the icing on the cake shortly before the full-time whistle when substitute Steve Sidwell sent a shot into the top corner from James Milner's clever inside pass.
Emile Heskey looked lively in the opening exchanges but, almost typically, he failed to convert a gilt-edged opportunity presented to him in the ninth minute.
A corner from the right flank was flicked on by Amr Zaki and reached Heskey at the far post, but the England striker was unable to silence the large and vocal army of travelling supporters behind Brad Friedel's goal as he sliced a weak volley wide.
Continued to probe
Yet Wigan continued to probe and Olivier Kapo found the space to strike a powerful, rising left-foot shot which flew over Friedel's crossbar in the 15th minute.
Three minutes later, Daniel De Ridder whipped in a vicious cross from the right flank which Heskey just failed to connect with.
Villa had showed little in attack but they opened the scoring in controversial circumstances in the 22nd minute.
Barry sent Agbonlahor racing clear down the left-hand channel and Latics defender Bramble, desperate not to be outpaced by the striker, made a lunging tackle and looked to have played the ball clear.
Referee Mike Jones had other ideas, pointing straight to the spot for a penalty kick which Barry dispatched with aplomb past Chris Kirkland's despairing right hand.
The penalty award infuriated Wigan players and supporters alike but their response was encouraging and they almost fashioned an equaliser in the 25th minute.
An inswinging corner from the left by De Ridder was greeted by Paul Scharner's head at the far post. Friedel parried the defender's close-range header and then produced another smart stop five minutes later to deny Wilson Palacios' long-range strike.
Kapo then blazed an effort over the crossbar from 12 yards but Villa posed Wigan problems on the counter-attack with the pace of Agbonlahor and Ashley Young a looming threat.
Carew came on for the injured Barry eight minutes into the second half and the towering Norway striker received a rapturous reception from the contingent of Villa supporters.
He did not take long to make his mark as it was his deft flicked header from a right-wing corner which gave Agbonlahor the easiest of tasks to scuff the ball almost apologetically into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.
Five minutes later, Agbonlahor returned the favour by reaching the left-hand byline and teeing up a fine cross which Carew needed no second invitation to head home at the far post for the easiest of goals.
Wigan's response was encouraging but they spurned a series of half chances and it was fairly obvious the game was now over as a contest.
Villa should have had a fourth nine minutes from time when skipper Martin Laursen strode out of defence and carried the ball deep into Wigan territory but his pass to Agbonlahor should have come sooner and the home defence regrouped.However, a fourth goal did arrive in the last minute when Sidwell- an 84th-minute replacement for Stiliyan Petrov - found the space to place a curling right-foot shot past Kirkland and into the top corner.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||7|
|11||Shots off Target||3|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||35||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||34||33|