Gabriel Agbonlahor scores late on to help Aston Villa to the 40-point mark as they look to secure their Premier League status after a victory over Paul Lambert’s former sideA second half double from Gabriel Agbonlahor helped Aston Villa close in on Premier League survival with a 2-1 victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road.
The Canaries had looked to have claimed a point after Grant Holt fired home a penalty with just over a quarter of an hour remaining, but Agbonlahor popped up late on to steal the win.
The home team made three changes from the side that lost to Stoke last Staurday, with Steven Whittaker, Alexander Tettey and Kei Kamara all dropping out and being replaced by Javier Garrido, Anthony Pilkington and Kei Kamara.
Former Carrow Road gaffer Paul Lambert as predicted stuck with the same starting line-up that put six past Sunderland on Monday night to help their chances of remaining in the Premier League next season.
Norwich had the better of the opening period, with Scottish international Robert Snodgrass going close with a strike which was deflected for a corner.
The visitors started to get back into the game and almost took the lead, but Agbonlahor’s strike towards goal was deflected away for a corner by Sebastian Bassong with only 10 minutes gone in the game.
Two minutes later the Norwich fans were up off their feet as they demanded a penalty as a Pilkington cross appeared to strike the arm of Matthew Lowton, but referee Kevin Friend waved away the protests.
The ball remained congested in the middle of the park for the majority of the half, with the only time visiting keeper Brad Guzan was called into action, was to come out and grab a Pilkington cross from the right before Holt got near it with six minutes left in the first period.
As the game entered stoppage Aston Villa almost took the lead as an Agbonlahor cross from the right cannoned off of Garrido and onto the top of the Norwich bar.
The visitors took the lead with 10 minutes gone in the second half, as Agbonlahor received possession in the middle of the Norwich half, the marched forward with defenders backing off him and unleashed a low effort into the bottom corner.
Aston Villa should have been two goals ahead as Agbonlahor raced down the left, before playing the ball into the box for Andreas Weimann, but he could only direct his effort over Bunn’s bar.
However Lambert’s side were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men when Christian Benteke seemed to grab Bassong by the throat after the two squared, but the Belgian striker got away with a booking.
Norwich were handed an equaliser with 18 minutes left in the game, as Snodgrass came in from the right hand side and was hauled to the ground by Joe Bennett, allowing Holt to fire home the resulting penalty and level things up.
With the game approaching injury-time, the visitors got the winner as Agbonlahor got the right side of his marker Bassong and slid the ball beyond Bunn to seal a vital victory.