Villa fight back to claim points
Second-half show from Villa secures points
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 29/12/07 9:13pm
Davies: Grabbed equaliser
Aston Villa had to come from behind to claim a 2-1 victory over Wigan at a rain-soaked JJB.
Both sides struggled with the conditions at the start, with swirling wind and driving rain making it difficult to knock the ball around.
It was Wigan though who adapted first and they took the lead on 28 minutes through Titus Bramble. Ryan Taylor sent over a corner and the former Newcastle defender powered his header past Scott Carson.
Villa, who had struggled to create any clear openings in the first half, were transformed in the second period and equalised 10 minutes after the break. Gareth Barry this time with a well delivered corner and Curtis Davies' header beat both Chris Kirkland and Denny Landzaat on the Wigan line.
With 20 minutes to go Villa wrapped up the win when good work down the left by Young saw his chipped cross flicked in off the far post by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
From the off, Martin O'Neill's side appeared drained by their efforts on Boxing Day because in the first period they were a far cry from the team that had drawn 4-4 at Stamford Bridge in one of the games of the season to date.
There was still pace aplenty from Agbonlahor, Young and Luke Moore, although the latter's introduction in the 11th minute came at the expense of the towering presence that is John Carew.
The striker hobbled off after an earlier challenge from centre-back Paul Scharner, and it soon became apparent that without the Norwegian as a target man, Villa would struggle to find their way.
Instead, it was Wigan who mastered the conditions the better in the opening half, putting the visitors under pressure at times, and forcing them into the odd mistake.
There were half-chances for Marcus Bent and Antoine Sibierski, but the first caught the striker unawares, while the second was a mis-kick from the Latics' other forward.
Then in the 28th minute came a moment of clinical precision that was in stark contrast to anything else that had unfolded in the opening period.
Olof Mellberg was initially brave in blocking at point-blank range a drive from Taylor that was destined for the top right-hand corner but for the Swedish defender's intervention.
But from the ensuing corner delivered into the heart of the area by Taylor, Bramble rose unchallenged to power a bullet-header over Carson from just six yards.
Villa dominated the closing 15 minutes of the half, with their pace continuing to cause problems, but not once did they find their way past a resilient Latics defence.
It appeared as if Villa would continue to struggle to find their feet on the increasingly slippery surface, and as with Wigan, it was likely a set-piece would be their only way of drawing level.
So it proved in the 55th minute, and it was remarkably reminiscent of Wigan's goal as a corner stemmed from Kevin Kilbane blocking a drive from Young.
From the dead-ball inswinger from captain Barry, Davies was on hand to head home from six yards - despite the intervention of Landzaat on the goal-line - ending a 21-month goal drought.
It was a landmark moment for the centre-back, in the side in the absence of Zat Knight who was sent off against Chelsea.
His equaliser set the platform for Villa to then go on and win the game courtesy of Agbonlahor's seventh goal of the season.
Nigel Reo-Coker sprayed a raking pass into the left corner where Moore seized on the ball before finding Young.
Young then made his way to the deadball line and turned in a cross to the near post where Agbonlahor headed home off the underside of the crossbar past Kirkland.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|13||West Ham United||4||4|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||4||3|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||4||2|