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Aston Villa   1 - 0   Birmingham

Gabriel Agbonlahor
The defining moment as Agbonlahor falls under challenge from Johnson

By Jamie Lillywhite

A hotly disputed late penalty from James Milner took Villa level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham after an entertaining midlands derby.

Roger Johnson appeared to win the ball in a challenge with Gabriel Agbonlahor but referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot and Milner smashed it home.

Birmingham had largely the better of the chances but found Villa keeper Brad Friedel in unstoppable form.

Villa sealed their third win in a week, their sixth in a row against the Blues.

Apart from the fierce local rivalry, of which there was clear evidence in the build-up as the fans traded insults, both sides had plenty to play for in their 100th league meeting in the top flight.

Villa were keen to pursue their quest for the Champions League on the back of Tottenham losing and Manchester City gaining just a point on Saturday.

Birmingham, meanwhile, were seeking to establish their highest points tally in the Premier League, although their recent form - with no victories from their last seven matches and six defeats from their last seven away games - did not bode well for their chances.

Birmingham deserved better - McLeish

However, instead of producing a dour defensive approach they showed admirable intent in a surprisingly open game and had the first genuine chance as Lee Bowyer slipped a pass through for Sebastian Larsson.

Friedel set the tone for the afternoon, however, pushing him wide, and from an acute angle on the left side of the area, Larsson sliced horribly off target with his left foot.

The Birmingham midfielder soon floored Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov with a fiercely struck free-kick that caught the Bulgarian flush on the forehead.

Villa pressed but the visitors continued to have their fair share of chances, Cameron Jerome through on goal and only denied by the advancing Friedel, who hacked clear.

With Birmingham looking comfortable there followed two chances in quick succession for Villa, but Joe Hart, under the scrutiny of England coach Fabio Capello and his goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence, proved equal to the challenge.

Carlos Cuellar squared to Petrov, whose measured low first-time shot from 25 yards was tipped away by Hart, and the Manchester City keeper, on-loan for the remainder of the season, was alert to beat out a stinging drive from Stewart Downing after he found space and drove through on goal.

Still the goalkeepers remained on top, Friedel keeping out a well-struck long-range effort from former Villa man Craig Gardner that bounced just in front of him, while at the other end a first-time shot from James Collins eight yards out was superbly tipped over by Hart.

Birmingham started the second half brightly and seemed certain to break the deadlock in a remarkable passage of play.

An astute pass from Barry Ferguson found Jerome through on goal but evergreen Friedel, 39 next month, rushed out to smother the shot bravely with his body.

James McFadden collected the loose ball but his shot deflected fractionally wide, then from the resulting corner Liam Ridgewell rose on the edge of the six-yard box but the former Villa defender's header was booted off the line by Downing on the post.

O'Neill convinced penalty was correct

The chances continued for Birmingham and Bowyer saw a low left-footed shot somehow kept out by the redoubtable Friedel.

Villa introduced Emile Heskey and the England striker found himself through on goal but as he tried to lift over Hart the ball brushed the keeper and drifted wide.

But then came the key moment of the afternoon, which left Birmingham bewildered and incensed.

As Agbonlahor surged down the left side of the area Johnson slid in to tackle him, sending the striker sprawling in the process.

Referee Atkinson concluded it was a foul, a decision that caused an even greater split between the rival clubs.


Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:

"It's a major victory for us.

"We hung in there all second half. We were second best for a good part of it, Birmingham were very strong in the second half.

"We had played midweek and the previous midweek as well but we hung in and it was a fantastic victory.

"Since the Chelsea debacle at Stamford Bridge (7-1 defeat) we've picked up 13 out of 15 points which shows you our staying power.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:

"I shook his (referee Atkinson's) hand at the end as I always do with the refs and said: 'you called it wrong, the big decision and you didn't get it right, I didn't think you were up with the play to make that call.

"He clearly wasn't up with the play. Because of Agbonlahor on the break it is difficult for referees to keep up but it wasn't a clear-cut decision and you can't give it if you're not sure.

"A big crowd can make a big influence, you can hear 40,000 screaming and think 'Oh that must have been a penalty, I'd better give that.'

"Mr Atkinson has got to hold his hands up."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Milner (pen) 83

    Aston Villa

    Substitutes

    Birmingham

    Substitutes

    Ref: AtkinsonAtt: 42,788
    ASTON VILLA
    BIRMINGHAM

    Possession

    • Aston Villa 52%
    • Birmingham 48%

    Attempts on target

    • Aston Villa 6
    • Birmingham 14

    Attempts off target

    • Aston Villa 4
    • Birmingham 2

    Corners

    • Aston Villa 7
    • Birmingham 5

    Fouls

    • Aston Villa 12
    • Birmingham 16
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:41 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
    • 90:00+4:09 Keith Fahey takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
    • 90:00+2:21 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Carr on Ashley Young. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.
    • 90:00+0:16 Booking Barry Ferguson goes into the referee's book for dissent.
    • 89:42 The ball is delivered by Cameron Jerome, save made by Brad Friedel.
    • 89:31 Stuart Parnaby crosses the ball, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.
    • 87:30 Emile Heskey is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 86:41 Centre by Stephen Carr, Header from deep inside the area by Stuart Parnaby goes over the bar.
    • 85:39 Foul by Ashley Young on Stephen Carr, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
    • 84:22 Substitution Kevin Phillips replaces Craig Gardner.
    • 84:22 Unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Craig Gardner results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
    • 82:38 Assist on the goal came from Gabriel Agbonlahor.
    • 82:38 GOAL - James MilnerAston Villa 1 - 0 Birmingham James Milner scores a power penalty. Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham.
    • Correction - 82:26 Booking Stephen Carr receives a caution.
    • 82:26 Booking The referee shows Stephen Carr a yellow card for not retreating ten yards at a set play.
    • 81:34 Booking The referee cautions Roger Johnson for dissent.
    • Correction - 80:46 Foul by Roger Johnson on Gabriel Agbonlahor, Penalty awarded.
    • 80:46 Roger Johnson concedes a Penalty for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor.
    • 79:28 Roger Johnson concedes a free kick for a foul on Emile Heskey. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.
    • 77:54 The ball is crossed by Stephen Carr, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
    • 76:45 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, Header from deep inside the area by Richard Dunne goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
    • 76:26 Emile Heskey takes a shot. Fantastic save by Joe Hart.
    • 74:50 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Stuart Parnaby coming on for Gregory Vignal.
    • 74:50 Substitution Sebastian Larsson goes off and Keith Fahey comes on.
    • 73:37 Foul by Carlos Cuellar on James McFadden, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 72:12 Stewart Downing produces a cross, clearance made by Gregory Vignal.
    • 69:14 Substitution John Carew leaves the field to be replaced by Emile Heskey.
    • 68:39 James McFadden takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by John Carew.
    • 68:25 Sebastian Larsson takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
    • 67:45 Header on goal by Richard Dunne from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 67:08 Ashley Young takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, save by Joe Hart.
    • 66:32 Inswinging corner taken by Sebastian Larsson, Carlos Cuellar manages to make a clearance.
    • 66:01 Craig Gardner takes a shot. Blocked by John Carew. Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
    • 65:15 James Collins concedes a free kick for a foul on Cameron Jerome. Direct free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
    • 63:26 The ball is delivered by Ashley Young.
    • 61:34 James Milner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Craig Gardner. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 61:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Sebastian Larsson. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 60:23 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome by James Collins. Free kick taken by Gregory Vignal.
    • 59:15 Cameron Jerome gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Warnock. Stephen Warnock restarts play with the free kick.
    • 55:50 Effort from 35 yards by Stiliyan Petrov went wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 55:08 Booking Gregory Vignal is given a yellow card.
    • 54:51 Unfair challenge on Stewart Downing by Gregory Vignal results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
    • 52:20 Booking Booking for Carlos Cuellar for unsporting behaviour.
    • 52:14 Foul by Carlos Cuellar on Cameron Jerome, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 51:11 Cameron Jerome is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
    • 49:03 Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, Liam Ridgewell takes a shot. Blocked by Stewart Downing.
    • Correction - 48:32 James McFadden takes a shot. Stephen Warnock gets a block in.
    • 48:32 James McFadden has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the goal.
    • 48:24 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
    • 45:06 James McFadden fouled by Ashley Young, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Liam Ridgewell.
    • 45:01 The second half has started.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:18 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
    • 45:00+0:43 James Milner crosses the ball, Headed effort on goal by John Carew from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
    • 45:00+0:08 Unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Craig Gardner results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
    • 40:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sebastian Larsson on Stephen Warnock. Stephen Warnock takes the direct free kick.
    • 39:17 The referee blows for offside against Gabriel Agbonlahor. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 38:33 The ball is delivered by Carlos Cuellar, clearance made by Gregory Vignal.
    • 38:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Gregory Vignal. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 37:46 Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
    • 36:15 The ball is crossed by Ashley Young, save by Joe Hart.
    • 34:02 James Collins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Joe Hart. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 33:42 Corner taken by Ashley Young, save by Joe Hart.
    • 33:28 James Collins takes a shot from 18 yards. Save made by Joe Hart.
    • 32:41 Corner taken by Ashley Young, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
    • 32:07 Gregory Vignal produces a cross, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.
    • 31:51 Craig Gardner has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Brad Friedel makes a save.
    • 31:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by John Carew on Roger Johnson. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
    • 30:50 Sebastian Larsson has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Save made by Brad Friedel.
    • 30:35 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
    • 28:22 Foul by James Collins on Cameron Jerome, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by James McFadden.
    • 27:05 Shot from 20 yards from Stewart Downing. Save made by Joe Hart.
    • 26:21 Foul by Craig Gardner on Stiliyan Petrov, free kick awarded. James Milner takes the direct free kick.
    • 25:52 Shot by Stiliyan Petrov. Save made by Joe Hart.
    • 25:26 Ashley Young takes a shot. Liam Ridgewell gets a block in.
    • 24:26 A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Liam Ridgewell.
    • 23:31 Stewart Downing produces a cross, Sebastian Larsson manages to make a clearance.
    • 23:05 Corner taken short by Ashley Young.
    • 23:01 Ashley Young produces a cross, clearance by Barry Ferguson.
    • 22:18 Inswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
    • 20:51 The ball is sent over by Carlos Cuellar.
    • 19:32 Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Lee Bowyer takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Warnock.
    • 18:57 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line to the near post, Carlos Cuellar manages to make a clearance.
    • 17:10 Carlos Cuellar concedes a free kick for a foul on Cameron Jerome. Sebastian Larsson produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 15:18 Foul by John Carew on Liam Ridgewell, free kick awarded. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
    • 14:03 A cross is delivered by Ashley Young, save made by Joe Hart.
    • 12:29 Sebastian Larsson concedes a free kick for a foul on James Milner. Free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
    • 11:54 The ball is sent over by James Milner, blocked by Sebastian Larsson.
    • 11:35 Ashley Young takes a short corner.
    • 10:36 The ball is delivered by James Milner.
    • 8:35 Sebastian Larsson has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
    • 7:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Collins by Cameron Jerome. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
    • 6:44 The ball is sent over by Stephen Warnock.
    • 3:54 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Lee Bowyer. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
    • 2:48 James Collins takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
    • 1:57 Foul by Lee Bowyer on James Milner, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 1:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Craig Gardner. James Collins takes the direct free kick.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    25 Apr 2010 23:59 UK


    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 25 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Chelsea 36 61 80
    2 Man Utd 36 53 79
    3 Arsenal 36 39 72
    4 Tottenham 35 26 64
    5 Aston Villa 36 16 64
    6 Man City 35 27 63
    7 Liverpool 36 28 62
    8 Everton 36 10 57
    9 Birmingham 36 -9 47
    10 Sunderland 36 -6 44
    11 Blackburn 36 -16 44
    12 Fulham 35 -3 43
    13 Stoke 35 -11 43
    14 Bolton 36 -25 36
    15 Wolves 36 -23 35
    16 Wigan 36 -34 35
    17 West Ham 36 -18 34
    18 Hull 36 -41 28
    19 Burnley 36 -41 27
    20 Portsmouth 36 -33 16

    see also
    McLeish lambasts penalty decision
    25 Apr 10 |  Premier League


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