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27 November 2012
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 28692
C. Benteke 80'
Thanks for joining me for tonight's coverage on Goal.com. See you next time.
Reading will be disappointed not to take anything home with them, but in truth the hosts probably just edged this contest.
An entertaining first-half was followed by a pretty dull second, but Paul Lambert won't care one bit, after this potentially crucial win for his Aston Villa side.
So that's it. Christian Benteke's 80th minute header is good enough to take all three points and lift his side out of the relegation zone until tomorrow night at least.
90' + 3'
Full-time: Aston Villa 1-0 Reading.
90' + 2'
The ball reaches Le Fondre in the box, but before he can shape to try and shoot, he's adjudged to have handled, and that could be that.
90' + 1'
Guzan, understandably, is happy to let the clock run down here.
Morrison challenges in the six-yard box from a free-kick, but Guzan claims with confidence. Three minutes will be added to proceedings.
The fans are urging Villa to keep pressing forward, but it's not necessary. Simple keep-ball will suffice for Lambert's side - they just need to see this out.
Ireland gets away down the right, plays inside to Lowton, who inexplicably flicks the ball in a way that suggests Villa are 5-0 up. The fans aren't happy, Lambert certainly won't be.
It's fair to say the Villa faithful have found their voices again following the opening goal. Reading haven't thrown the towel in just yet though, with Noel Hunt heading straight at Guzan.
Villa tails are up, and goalscorer Benteke tries another from distance. Federici collects comfortably this time.
Assist Ashley Westwood
Goal Christian Benteke
Benteke breaks the deadlock for Villa!! The forward out-jumps Sean Morrison, heading powerfully downwards. The ball bounces over the defender on the line, giving the home side the lead.
Baker wins Villa another corner.
Villa break with pace, but Albrighton's cross is woeful. The fans voice their discontent with that shocking effort.
Roberts' experience is showing here, and he's drawing fouls from Clark. The defender has been booked, so must be careful now.
Federici is aware to a ball over the top, and leaves his area to head the ball clear.
Agbonlahor finds Bannan, who whips a cross into the area. Ireland meets it with a header, but he's too far out. It would've have to have been a pretty special header from that distance.
Albrighton's pace looks to trouble the Reading defence, leading to Ireland winning Villa another corner.
It's got a bit scrappy here, and it almost feels like both teams are scared to lose. Neither seem to want to really take a chance.
The introductions of Albrighton and Ireland could be what Villa need here, but you can't help but wonder what Darren Bent could offer. Ok, his overall team play isn't up to much, but some of the half-chances which have come Villa's way are the sort that Bent would have gobbled up.
It's a surprise to see Brett Holman be subbed for the home side, he's been pretty impressive in their midfield tonight.
Roberts cuts in well and onto his right foot, forcing Guzan to make a good save with his feet.
Villa break again, but the cross in from Lowton is poor and Federici easily collects.
Yellow Card Ciaran Clark
Ciaran Clark picks up the first booking of the night, following a cynical foul on Roberts.
Another headed chance from a corner, this time from Clark. The defender meets the ball at the near post, but his flicked header flashes across the face of the goal, and ends up wide of the target.
Le Fondre meets the corner, and really should score. Instead, the ball is headed over.
Great control, turn and shot from Jason Roberts, who wins a corner.
Villa have fired a couple of long balls into the head of Benteke, which he doesn't seem too keen on.
Holman has a dig from range, with his effort skimming the post and rolling across the side netting. Federici looked like he had it covered, but it was pretty close.
Benteke, Holman and Weimann combine, and Villa win a corner when Weimann's shot is deflected. The cross somehow misses everyone when it does come in, when it only required the slightest touch.
Reading press again, and a ball to Le Fondre is only stopped when he's flagged offside. Villa's defence left him though, so they can count themselves a tad fortunate.
Le Fondre pulls a ball across the box and McAnuff almost gets a shot off. Jason Roberts then sees his 'strength' concede a free-kick.
Villa looking positive in the early stages of this second-half, though an early corner comes to nothing.
We're back underway here.
It's a decent game though, and hopefully we'll see a goal after the interval as both teams look to win what looks like a very winnable match.
Reading have looked threatening in the wide areas, but Roberts and Le Fondre just aren't getting the luck when the ball does come into the box.
Both sides have created chances, although the home side have made the better openings. Benteke could've scored before Weimann should have, but Nathan Baker has also gone close.
Well as 0-0's go, that wasn't a particularly bad one. The Villa Park crowd were 'treated' to a goalless draw with Arsenal on Saturday, but this is a far better game than that was.
45' + 1'
That's it, first 45 done.
Things have slowed here, and both teams are settling for 0-0 at half-time you feel.
Just one minute is going to be added to the first-half action here.
Lowton places a ball into Weimann, whose touch is heavy. With Mariappa on his back, he goes down looking for a penalty. Unsurprisingly, it's not given.
The Villa Park faithful can certainly be heard tonight. Good stuff.
Clark sends one out to Lichaj out on the left, and the defender miscues his cross way over the top. At least, I hope it was a cross.
Cummings delivers another decent cross into Guzan's box, and this one is hacked away by Baker.
Lovely ball into the box from Bannan is flicked on by Clark, but nobody has gambled at the back post, and it goes for a goal-kick. Villa seem to be turning the screw a little here.
Agbonlahor leads a Villa break and slides the ball out left to Holman. His cross is behind Weimann and not quite back into the path of the Villa captain, and it's cleared.
Nice build-up from Villa ends with Benteke lining a shot from distance. Again though, the forward tries to place his effort into the corner. He should put his laces through it next time.
Bannan plays a direct ball into Benteke, who swings a leg at a shot as the ball pops up. His effort is deflected out, but Villa waste the corner.
Nathan Baker meets a Bannan corner for Villa, but his header bounces down and then over the top.
Another nice cross into the box from Cummings reaches Le Fondre, but the Reading man is about four inches too short to head home the opening goal.
Sloppy stuff from Guzan, who puts Bannan in trouble with a horrible pass. Luckily, Villa get away with it.
It's end-to-end stuff here, and the home side should be in front. A drilled cross from Benteke on the left reaches Andreas Wiemann at the back post, but the forward manages to somehow sky the ball well into the Birmingham night. He should've at least hit the target.
Movember enthusiast and Villa defender Eric Lichaj replaces Enda Stevens, who is injured.
Nicky Shorey swings a ball into the box which looks like it takes a touch off of Lowton. The ball goes behind, but referee Lee Probert awards a goal-kick.
Cummings floats a cross into the box, but it's food-and-drink for Brad Guzan.
19th minute at Villa Park means only one thing: 60 seconds of applause for club captain Stiliyan Petrov, who is in remission from Leukaemia.
Some good saves from both keepers so far here, in what has been a fairly even contest. Reading look bright, but the Benteke effort just now was the clearest opening of the game as yet.
And now Villa almost take the lead. Holman plays a lovely low cross into the box from the right, and it eludes everyone until it reaches Benteke. The forward tries to side-foot an effort into the corner, but Federici is equal to it. Good chance.
Another corner - this time from Shorey on the other side - causes more havoc in the Villa penalty area, but it's hacked clear. The breakaway ends when Agbonlahor is flagged offside.
A corner for Reading is won by Sean Morrison, but the defender's header goes wide of the target.
Reading are certainly looking bright in the early stages tonight.
Adam Le Fondre so close to giving Reading the lead. Leigertwood picks the pocket of Bannan in a dangerous area, and drives into the area. His low ball causes panic, with a touch from a Villa defender forcing a save by Guzan's feet. The rebound pops up to Le Fondre, but the striker can't twist his body enough to guide the ball in.
Straight up the other end, and Villa almost create a good chance. Holman exchanges passes with Weimann, but the return ball isn't accurate enough, and the chance is gone.
We have our first shot!! A badly dragged effort from Hal Robson-Kanu doesn't even begin to trouble Guzan.
The hosts try to move into the Reading box and the ball almost breaks to Agbonlahor, but Leigertwood dispossesses and clears.
Not much going on of note so far here, with both sides knocking the ball around without much effort to find a killer pass yet.
Villa are enjoying some nice early position in the Reading half here. It's very patient stuff early on.
And we're underway...
My name is Joe McPhee - tweet me if you have anything to say about the game on @Joe_McPhee9 - and I hope you enjoy the coverage.
Their subs are: Taylor, Harte, Pearce, Gunnarsson, McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Hunt
Reading line-up: Federici; Cummings, Shorey, Mariappa, Morrison; Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu; Roberts, Le Fondre.
Ron Vlaar misses out for the host, who are skippered tonight by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Their subs are: Given, Bowery, Albrighton, Delph, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Lichaj.
Anyway, the Villa players that are on the pitch tonight: Guzan; Baker, Clark, Westwood, Stevens; Bannan, Holman, Lowton, Agbonlahor, Weimann; Benteke.
In fact, Bent is there - he's just been shown suited and booted, watching on from an Executive Box!!
Before I give you the line-ups, I will just say rumours are circulating over Darren Bent's whereabouts. Left out of the squad again tonight, the whispers were that the striker stormed out of Villa Park, but has since returned. Hmmmm.
The visitors have never won at Villa Park, and tasted defeat on Saturday when they travelled to Wigan.
Villa are looking for their first home win since September, and come into this one off the back of a decent draw with Arsenal last time out.
I dare not say it's a relegation six pointer tonight, but after poor starts from both teams, the need to keep picking up points is obviously vital.
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com's live text commentary of tonight's Premier League meeting between Aston Villa and Reading at Villa Park.
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