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Played
November 28, 2012 1:30 AM IST
Villa Park — Birmingham
Referee:‬ L. Probert‎
Attendance:‬ 28692‎
 
80′ C. Benteke
 
Top of the Match
C. Benteke
C. Benteke
Aston Villa
C. Benteke
C. Benteke
Aston Villa
Flop of the Match
Andreas Weimann
Andreas Weimann
Aston Villa
Adam Le Fondre
Adam Le Fondre
Reading

Aston Villa 1-0 Reading: Benteke header lifts hosts out of drop zone

In a hard-fought contest, a set-piece undid the Royals as the Midlands side have their Belgian international to thank after his goal moves them out of the relegation zone

By Sam Wells

Christian Benteke of Aston Villa profile pic
Getty Images
A Christian Benteke header was enough to secure Aston Villa a vital three points against Reading, moving them out of the relegation zone and above Southampton into 17th.

In a game full of endeavour but bereft of real quality, it was a Villa set-piece that ultimately consigned the Royals to at least another few days in the relegation zone, as Benteke powered home from an Ashley Westwood corner.

Lambert made two changes from the side that earned a point against Arsenal, bringing in Nathan Baker for injured captain Ron Vlaar as Brett Holman also came in at the expense of Karim El Ahmadi. For the fifth game in succession, Darren Bent failed to make the bench.

Reading, meanwhile, made two defensive changes from the side that lost against Wigan with Shaun Cummings and Adrian Mariappa replacing Chris Gunter and Kaspars Gorkss.  

A lively opening meant it was just nine minutes before the first clear-cut chance fell the way of the visitors; a Jobi McAnuff cross producing a Hal Robson-Kanu toe-poke that forced Brad Guzan into an excellent point-blank save.

An even better chance fell Benteke's way 10 minutes later as a Jay Tabb cross found him in the area, only for the Belgian's side-footed effort to be saved with aplomb by Adam Federici.

It was Benteke's turn to play provider next as he squared a cross to Andreas Weimann who, six yards out, could only blaze way over with the strike.

Half-chances continued to fall both sides' way in the second half, with Holman first firing wide for the hosts before both Adam Le Fondre and Ciaran Clark failed to capitalise from free headers.

The end-to-end football continued as Guzan produced another decent save to deny a Jason Roberts effort with 65 minutes gone.

Both sides continued to battle without much reward and it was the 80th minute before the stalemate was finally broken as, following a Westwood corner, Benteke powerfully rose above Morrison and thumped his header emphatically home from eight yards out.

Reading were unable to mount a comeback of any substance, the only clear-cut chance falling to substitute Noel Hunt, who could only head into Guzan's grateful arms.


Aston Villa

1
Bradley Guzan
Goalkeeper
3.50
6
Ciaran Clark
Defender
64′
3.00
29
Enda Stevens
Defender
24′
2.50
2
Nathan Baker
Defender
3.50
34
Matthew Lowton
Defender
3.00
14
Brett Holman
Midfielder
68′
4.00
15
Ashley Westwood
Midfielder
80′
2.50
46
Barry Bannan
Midfielder
2.50
11
3.00
20
C. Benteke
Striker
80′
4.00
10
1.50

Reading

3.50
1
Adam Federici
Goalkeeper
3.00
20
2.50
3
3.50
15
3.00
24
2.50
8
3.00
11
Jobi McAnuff
Midfielder
2.00
16
Jay Tabb
Midfielder
3.00
19
3.00
9
3.50
30

Substitutes

31
Shay Given
Goalkeeper
 - 
43
Eric Lichaj
Defender
24′
2.00
32
3.00
8
 - 
12
2.50
16
Fabian Delph
Midfielder
 - 
21
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
12
Stuart Taylor
Goalkeeper
 - 
26
Alex Pearce
Defender
 - 
23
Ian Harte
Defender
2.00
12
 - 
26
 - 
29
2.00
10
Noel Hunt
Striker
79′

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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man. United
15 2