Relegation-threatened Aston Villa survived a late onslaught from Norwich City to run out 2-0 winners at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
- Aston Villa 2 Norwich City 0
- Lescott heads in the opener just before half-time
- Agbonlahor doubles the lead in the 51st minute
- Villa’s Okore makes some outstanding late blocks
- Garde’s side remain at the foot of the table
Played on a rainy afternoon in the Midlands, Villa show they won’t be going down without a fight as they scrap out a hard-fought victory from a game which produced very little noteworthy football.
Joleon Lescott opened the scoring in the latter stages of the first half, before Gabby Agbonlahor added his name to the scoresheet after the break.
The first half was for the most part lacking in quality, a typical scrappy affair between two sides in dire need of points.
The opening minutes saw both teams unable to hold on to possession for any length of time on a slippery pitch, the first effort on goal coming in the 12th minute, but Gabriel Agbonlahor’s shot was miscued and posed no threat.
Norwich’s first shot on goal arrived in the 22nd minute, but Dieumerci Mbokani fired straight at Villa keeper Mark Bunn. Seven minutes later the visitors were almost ahead when Sebastien Bassong’s header bounced over the bar.
Despite the poor play from both teams, there was to be a goal before half time, Joleon Lescott getting a feint touch on a header after a well-flighted free-kick by Carles Gil.
It was 2-0 just six minutes after the restart, Agbonlahor putting the ball into an empty net after Declan Rudd had made a complete hash of trying to catch Jordan Veretout’s cross from the left wing.
Norwich had the chance to pull one back in the 65th minute when Steven Naismith played in Gary O’Neil, but the Canaries midfielder could only prod his effort wide, Patrick Bamford also not far off for the visiting side a minute later.
More pressure was to come from the Carrow Road team, Russell Martin looking sure to score on 82 minutes, only for his header to be cleared off the line by Jores Okore.
Okore also made a fantastic block in added time to deny Patrick Bamford as Villa held on bravely for the win, only their third of the season.