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  • Aston Villa 0-1 Wolverhampton: Jarvis superb-strike

    A thunderbolt from Matt Jarvis gave Wolves a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park, only their second away win of the season, on Saturday 19/03/2011.
    Jarvis struck in the 38th-minute with crisp volley, after Wolves had twice had goals disallowed as they hunted a first victory over Aston Villa in over 30 years.

    Ashley Young hit the underside of the crossbar in the second half for Villa, on an afternoon of wasted chances and defensive ineptitude for the hosts.

    Gerard Houllier was forced to call on Chris Herd to solve Villa’s mounting defensive crisis, handing the 21-year-old Australian his first Premier League start as four first-choice defenders were unavailable for the derby through injury and suspension.

    Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, on the other hand, made just one change from the side that earned a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spurs in their last outing – bringing Jamie O’Hara into the squad.

    The visitors hadn’t beaten Villa since March 1980, but they had the ball in the back of the net three times in the first half alone on a dreary afternoon for the hosts.

    Christophe Berra thought he’d given Wolves the lead in the 21st-minute with a pin-point diving header, only for the linesman to correctly chalk the goal off for offside.

    Doyle then nodded in at the far post nine minutes later, but the Irish striker was denied the game’s opening goal on his 200th league appearance after Matt Jarvis’s looping ball in from the left wing was judged to have swung out of play.

    With Villa’s makeshift defence crumbling under constant balls into the box from the wings, Houllier shook things up in the 34th-minute, hauling off 19-year-old left-back Nathan Baker – making only his fourth appearance for the hosts – and bringing on Fabian Delph in his stead.

    The substitution didn’t quite have the impact Houllier was hoping for, however, as Wolves finally made the breakthrough just four minutes later.

    Carlos Cuellar’s limp attempt to head a long ball clear fell to Jarvis just inside the penalty area, and the 24-year-old winger smashed a sensational volley past the helpless Brad Friedel and into the bottom-right corner of the net.

    The goal sparked something of a grandstand finish to the half, as Villa finally moved up a gear after a largely tepid 45 minutes.

    January signing Jean Makoun should have restored parity on the stroke of half time, but headed Stewart Downing’s teasing cross a yard wide of Wayne Hennessey’s goal from five yards out.

    Villa were unfortunate not to win a free kick eight minutes into the second half, as the home side emerged from a half-time dressing-down with renewed urgency.

    Darren Bent was bundled over just inside the Wolves penalty area, but referee Phil Dowd decided to award a free kick on the edge of the area instead.

    Young was then denied by the width of the crossbar in the 79th-minute - slamming a right-foot effort past Hennessey from the left channel which clipped the underside of the bar and cannoned clear off the turf.

    Three minutes passed before Villa's next gilt-edged chance to draw level, but Carlos Cuellar hacked a volley horribly over the crossbar from inside the box, after a delicate header across goal from substitute Robert Pires.

    It proved to be the last real chance of the match for Villa, who were roundly booed off the pitch by a half-full stadium at the final whistle.

    The priceless derby win lifts Wolves out of the relegation zone, and leaves Houllier's men looking nervously over their shoulders as Villa slip ever-closer to the drop.
    John Stead / Eurosport

    Team Line-up:

    ASTON VILLA: Friedel, Walker, Cuellar, Baker, Herd, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Makoun, Downing, Ashley Young, Bent. Subs: Marshall, Pires, Agbonlahor, Bradley, Delph, Heskey, Petrov
    Wolverhampton Wanderers : Hennessey, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Hammill, Henry, Milijas, O'Hara, Jarvis, Doyle. Subs: Hahnemann, Craddock, Kightly, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Ward, David Jones


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