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Aston Villa snatch thrilling win over relegation rivals QPR

2013-03-16 19:11:38

Aston Villa

Aston Villa came from behind for the second week running to win and move six points clear of the relegation zone while keeping QPR rooted to the bottom.

Ex-Villa loanee Jermaine Jenas opened the scoring as he slid in a rebound.

Gabriel Agbonlahor headed the hosts level in first-half added time, seconds after QPR had hit the post, before Andreas Weimann put Villa in front.

Andros Townsend's deflected effort levelled the game, but Christian Benteke then slotted a vital winner.

Villa manager Paul Lambert said before kick-off that he was not "unduly worried" about being relegated, and the club's first back-to-back victories since May 2011 will have boosted his confidence.

The result also ended a recent revival from Harry Redknapp's side which had seen them beat Southampton and Sunderland in consecutive games.

Despite the pressure surrounding it, the match started at a sedate pace as the hosts knocked the ball around confidently without creating any chances.

As well as being the Premier League's third lowest scorers, at the start of the day only two teams had conceded more than Villa and the home side looked vulnerable as Rangers threatened with their first attack.

Keeper Brad Guzan was tested twice by Christopher Samba. First he pushed away the defender's looping header, then from the ensuing corner he scrambled to keep out a side-footed effort after Ciaran Clark's panicked clearance.

Samba was involved again minutes later as he clashed heads with Nathan Baker, with the Villa defender forced off with concussion. This incident led to the opener as his replacement Joe Bennett played an aimless pass into the centre of the pitch that was intercepted by Jenas.

The midfielder, who has been capped 21 items by England and scored a tremendous half-volley in last weekend's 3-1 win against Sunderland, found Zamora and was quickest to react when the striker's effort was saved.

QPR were now in control and, after a superb curled effort from £8m January signing Loic Remy was saved, went within inches of doubling their lead as Bosingwa rattled the post with a free-kick.

Villa counter-attacked and equalised thanks to Agbonlahor, who nodded in unmarked from a deep Matthew Lowton cross with Bosingwa failing to pick up his man.

Spurred on by the late goal, Villa dominated after the interval, with Weimann their most dangerous player.

First, he forced Julio Cesar to tip over the crossbar after being found at the back post by Bennett, then the pair were involved as Villa took the lead.

After QPR failed to clear a corner, the left-back put in an excellent diversionary run that opened up a gap for Weimann to beat the goalkeeper at his near-post with a low drive.

The momentum was with Lambert men's but QPR broke up the pitch and found the back of the net after Tottenham loanee Townsend's harmless shot ricocheted off Ron Vlaar's leg and into the corner.

In prior months, Villa's lack of experience in the side had been cited as a cause of their relegation worries.

But that problem was not evident as they rallied to go in front as Benteke took advantage of some non-existent marking from the visitors to slot in his 13th Premier League goal of the season unopposed after being found by the excellent Weimann.

QPR reacted by pushing Villa back to the edge of their area in the final 10 minutes.

With centre-backs Clark and Vlaar at the fore, a number of high balls were repelled before Clint Hill, much to the relief of the majority at Villa Park, shot over with the last kick of the game.


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