Walsall 1-3 Aston Villa: Darren Bent's brace hands Alex McLeish perfect preseason start

Emile Heskey also found the net, whilst Shay Given made his debut following his move from Manchester City.
Alex McLeish's preseason preparations at Aston Villa got off to the perfect start as his side dispatched Walsall with Darren Bent bagging a brace.

Emile Heskey also found the net while Shay Given, fresh from his move from Manchester City, also made his unofficial debut in Villa's goal.

The game was played at a lively tempo from the start and on eight minutes Stephen Warnock drilled a low ball across the goal with no players on hand to touch the ball home.

Two minutes later, Villa was in front courtesy of the first of Bent's two goals as the former Sunderland man linked up with fellow strike partner Heskey before finishing with ease.

The League One side responded quickly and could have had an equalizer from Jon Macken, as he headed a cross from Mat Sadler just over the bar.

Walsall again was unlucky not to be level, Kevan Hurst striking the post from a free-kick after Ryan Jarvis was pulled back by defender Richard Dunne.

But it was Aston Villa who doubled the lead, Bent again, this time scoring with a header after Dunne had flicked on a corner from Marc Albrighton.

Heskey notched Villa's third before the interval after Bent had struck the post.

George Bowerman reduced the deficit after the break as he headed home a corner but McLeish's side was able to hold out for the victory in the first of its preseason games.