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BBC Sport's Steve May
"City still haven't won a home Premiership match for four months"
 real 14k

City boss Joe Royle
"They had a little more control in midfield where it mattered"
 real 56k

Villa boss John Gregory
"We're on a good run at the moment"
 real 56k

Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Villa add to City woe
Dublin is congratulated after Villa's second goal
Dublin is congratulated after Villa's second goal
Manchester City 1-3 Aston Villa

A Nicky Weaver error helped plunge Manchester City deeper into the relegation mire as they were beaten by Aston Villa.

Weaver failed to control a back pass from defender Spencer Prior just before half-time.

Villa striker Dion Dublin was lurking and stole possession from the England under-21 international before slotting into an empty net.

"The kid has been brave and big, he's come out and held his hand up but the fact is we were 2-1 down at half-time instead of 1-1
  Manchester City manager Joe Royle on goalkeeper Nicky Weaver

Dublin's sixth goal of the season put the visitors 2-1 up after Villa had gone behind after 12 minutes.

Following a low-key opening, Shaun Goater scored for City to spark the game into life before Paul Merson, Dublin and Lee Hendrie responded for the visitors.

Goater struck after Danny Tiatto played the ball along the home side's left flank to Jeff Whitley.

Whitley skipped over a mistimed challenge from Turkish defender Alpay, before squaring for Goater to slot in from close range.

But, the Maine Road side could not hold onto their lead.

  Key moments
11 mins: Goater scores for City
13 mins: Merson levels matters
33: Stone cannot control Merson's pass and Weaver gathers
41: Tiatto's long range shot is well saved by James
Weaver's error allows Dublin to score
59: Kennedy unmarked but he misses ball with attempted shot
69: Hendrie adds Villa's third
70: Huckerby shot saved by James
81: Tiatto sent-off

Instead, they almost immediately allowed Villa two chances to equalise and the visitors accepted at the second attempt.

After Dublin saw an effort saved by Weaver, the impressive Merson equalised with Hendrie the provider.

Hendrie played in a low ball to the City near post which was touched into the on-rushing Merson's path and he duly converted from close range.

Villa, without record signing Juan Pablo Angel, could then have further imposed their superiority with another goal.

They were helped by some hesitant City defending from a corner, but Alpay's header was too tame to take advantage.

I swear to God, I did not even know we were 2-1 up because I was in the dressing room and I spent 10 minutes telling the lads we needed the second goal
  Aston Villa boss John Gregory

Danny Tiatto's long range shot after 41 minutes forced Villa keeper David James into a save at full stretch, but it was Villa who eventually took the lead after Weaver's error.

City showed no lack of effort as they tried to salvage something from the game to help their survival battle.

And, even though they showed plenty of passion, they were missing the quality to draw level.

Substitute Mark Kennedy had a clear opening to score for the home side after 59 minutes.

Andrei Kanchelskis squared the ball to the unmarked Republic of Ireland international, who missed the ball with an attempted shot.

Paul Merson scores Villa's equaliser
Merson scores Villa's equaliser

Maine Road boss Joe Royle's employment of a three-man attack by introducing Darren Huckerby did little to help his side.

Instead, they fell further behind when Merson slipped the ball through to Hendrie and he confidently beat Weaver.

James saved a well-struck shot from Huckerby soon after but City's chances of recovering were all but ended with Tiatto's being sent-off for a second yellow card.

Man City: Weaver, Haaland, Granville, Prior, Dunne, Charvet, Whitley, Tiatto, Kanchelskis, Goater, Ostenstad. Subs: Dickov, Wiekens, Huckerby, Kennedy, Nash.

Aston Villa: James, Delaney, Southgate, Alpay, Wright, Boateng, Taylor, Stone, Hendrie, Merson, Dublin. Subs: Staunton, Joachim, Ginola, Vassell, Enckelman.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville)

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