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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 March, 2004, 14:24 GMT
Wolves 0-4 Aston Villa
Thomas Hitzlsperger powers Villa in front
Aston Villa kept up their push for a European place at the expense of relegation-battling Wolves.

Thomas Hitzlsperger's thumping shot put Villa ahead and Olof Mellberg headed in the visitors' second.

A Lee Naylor mistake allowed Juan Pablo Angel to hook in a rampant Villa's third of a one-sided game.

Wolves missed a chance to get back into the match when Vio Ganea saw a penalty saved by Thomas Sorensen while Angel's second completed a Villa rout.

Wolves boss Dave Jones has cited his side's improved home form as a major factor if they are to avoid relegation.

But the Molineux side were left stunned by Villa's storming start with defender Paul Butler having to bravely block a Lee Hendrie shot as early as the third minute.

KEY MOMENTS
7 mins: Hitzlsperger hammers home Villa's first
18 mins: Mellberg heads in a Villa second
24 mins: Angel scores after poor Wolves defending
45 mins: Ganea misses a Wolves penalty
59 mins: Angel's second completes Wolves' misery

But Villa were soon in the lead when Hitzlsperger powered in a trademark piledriver across goal and into the far corner to put the visitors in front.

German midfielder Hitzlsperger provided the corner for Mellberg to head in another for Villa as Wolves were overpowered by their Midlands rivals.

The home side did not help their own cause and when Naylor let a ball bounce in the area instead of clearing the danger, Angel nipped in to hook a shot over advancing keeper Jones.

The lively Hendrie hit the bar with a curling shot to the relief of the Wolves faithful, who were given a glimpse of hope when Ganea won a penalty following a Mellberg challenge.

The Romanian picked himself up to take the spot-kick only to see his effort well saved by Sorensen in first-half injury-time.

Carl Cort conjured up the best chance of the opening period for Wolves when he swivelled and shot wide, but Jones's players were barely given a look in by a dominant Villa.

And, despite a brief rally by the home team, Villa grabbed a fourth with a sweeping counter-attacking move.

Nolberto Solano played a long through ball which Angel beat defender Jody Craddock to before slotting past Jones.


Wolverhampton: Jones, Naylor, Butler, Craddock, Irwin (Clyde 65), Kennedy, Rae, Ince, Camara, Ganea, Cort (Iversen 65).
Subs not used: Oakes, Newton, Miller.

Booked: Ganea.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, Samuel, Mellberg, Johnsen, De la Cruz, Barry, Hitzlsperger, Hendrie (Whittingham 82), Solano, Angel (Crouch 78), Vassell (Luke Moore 60).
Subs not used: Dublin, Postma.

Booked: Hitzlsperger, Samuel.

Attendance: 29,386.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"This was not a Premiership performance by Wolves"


Aston Villa boss David O'Leary
"I'm delighted for the players"




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