Heskey, starting his first league game since March, struck a brilliant late winner
By Paul Fletcher
Emile Heskey scored a late header as Gerard Houllier won his first Premier League game as Aston Villa manager.
Stewart Downing put Villa in front by converting a teasing ball across the face of goal from Marc Albrighton.
Wolves equalised after the break when Matt Jarvis's cross from the right eluded everybody before nestling into the bottom corner.
Wolves looked the most likely to score before Heskey headed brilliantly into the bottom corner to snatch victory.
The goal fully vindicated Houllier's decision to hand Heskey his first Premier League start in six months.
The 32-year-old, signed by Houllier for Liverpool a decade ago, played a decisive role after coming off the bench last Wednesday as Villa came from behind to defeat Blackburn in the Carling Cup.
Houllier celebrates 'special day'
And his powerful, perfectly-directed header proved to be the difference in the 101st league meeting between the two Midland rivals when a draw might have been a fairer result.
There was plenty for Houllier to ponder after the Frenchman presided over his first Premier League game since leaving Anfield in 2004.
His centre-half pairing of James Collins and Carlos Cuellar looked solid, while the likes of Ashley Young, Marc Albrighton and Downing provide plenty of threat from midfield.
It was from a dangerous Albrighton cross that Downing slotted home to put the visiting team ahead after 24 minutes.
The 20-year-old Tamworth-born winger had already given Wolves several warnings of the threat he posed prior to the goal, picking out Heskey at the far post and forcing a save from Marcus Hahnemann with a long-range strike.
Heskey missed with his effort from a tight angle, but he did play a role in Downing's opener, running at the Wolves defence before playing the ball out wide for Albrighton to deliver his teasing cross.
Albrighton later played in Ashley Young, who shot dangerously across goal, but the winger was withdrawn after 66 minutes after being starved of the service he received in the opening half.
Villa's only real goal threat after the restart came from Young, who looked dangerous on the break and forced a brilliant finger-tip save from Hahnemann with a long-range strike.
Indeed, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy could be forgiven for wondering how his team lost an encounter that they appeared to have under control for long periods.
They had started the match briskly and Kevin Doyle played a wonderfully weighted through ball that deserved much better than Dave Edwards' rash finish that flew wide.
Wolves were 'punished' - McCarthy
And although Villa dominated much of the opening half, Steven Fletcher sprang into life with a crisp and technically difficult left-foot strike that drew a decent save from Brad Friedel close to the break, with the Villa keeper making another stop to deny Doyle with the rebound.
McCarthy's team continued to threaten after the interval, with Friedel saving from Christophe Berra, who was one of only two Wolves players to retain their place from the side that defeated Notts County 4-2 in the Carling Cup.
But there was nothing the American keeper could do to prevent Jarvis from equalising with his cross on the hour mark.
Friedel had little option but to wait and see whether Doyle made contact with his near-post run but once the ball eluded the striker, he found himself both flat-footed and woefully out of position.
It looked as though Jarvis' goal would earn a point for Wolves, who lost substitute Adlene Guedioura to injury in the final minutes, until Heskey's header gave Villa their first league win away from home this season.
90:00+6:04 The referee blows for the end of the match.
90:00+4:44 Unfair challenge on Steven Fletcher by James Collins results in a free kick. David Jones crosses the ball from the free kick
right-footed from right channel, Stewart Downing makes a clearance.
90:00+1:44 The free kick is swung in left-footed by David Jones.
90:00+1:44 Booking Steve Sidwell is booked.
90:00+1:38 Foul by Steve Sidwell on Adlene Guedioura, free kick awarded.
89:49 Kevin Doyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luke Young. Brad Friedel takes the direct free kick.
87:18 Assist by Stephen Warnock.
87:18 GOAL - Emile Heskey:Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Aston Villa Emile Heskey finds the back of the net with a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Wolverhampton 1-2 Aston Villa.
87:13 Stephen Warnock delivers the ball,
86:33 Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
85:07 Substitution Steve Sidwell replaces Stiliyan Petrov.
84:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Stearman by Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick crossed by Karl Henry, James Collins
manages to make a clearance.
83:38 Adlene Guedioura takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
82:25 Unfair challenge on Christophe Berra by Emile Heskey results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
82:01 Christophe Berra challenges Carlos Cuellar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
80:32 Substitution Adlene Guedioura replaces David Edwards.
79:32 Corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, clearance by Carlos Cuellar.
76:22 Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
73:32 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christophe Berra on Emile Heskey. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Young from left
72:26 Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
72:26 Substitution (Wolverhampton) makes a substitution, with Richard Stearman coming on for Kevin Foley.
72:26 Foul by Kevin Doyle on James Collins, free kick awarded.
72:02 Unfair challenge on Jody Craddock by Carlos Cuellar results in a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
71:28 Corner from left by-line taken by Ashley Young.
Correction - 70:25 Kevin Doyle challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing, Emile Heskey
takes a shot. Jody Craddock gets a block in.
70:25 Ashley Young fouled by Kevin Doyle, the ref awards a free kick. A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, Emile Heskey has
a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.
69:35 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ashley Young.
69:26 Ashley Young takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
68:27 The referee blows for offside against Emile Heskey. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
67:16 The assistant referee flags for offside against Emile Heskey. Christophe Berra takes the free kick.
66:11 Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Gabriel Agbonlahor coming on for Marc Albrighton.
65:37 The ball is sent over by Ashley Young.
64:25 Stephen Warnock fouled by Matthew Jarvis, the ref awards a free kick. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
60:42 Assist by Steven Fletcher.
60:42 GOAL - Matthew Jarvis:Wolverhampton 1 - 1 Aston Villa Matthew Jarvis gets on the score sheet with a goal from a long way out to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton
1-1 Aston Villa.
58:17 Free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
58:17 Booking The referee cautions Jody Craddock for unsporting behaviour.
58:02 Jody Craddock challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick.
55:57 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Warnock on Steven Fletcher. Kevin Foley takes the free kick.
55:14 David Jones takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
55:04 The ball is swung over by Matthew Jarvis.
54:44 David Jones takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in.
53:57 Ashley Young is caught offside. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
53:01 Shot by Steven Fletcher. Blocked by Stephen Warnock.
52:13 Luke Young is penalised for a handball. Free kick crossed right-footed by Matthew Jarvis, James Collins makes a clearance.
51:40 Ashley Young takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
48:39 Effort from 12 yards by Christophe Berra. Brad Friedel makes a save.
47:49 Unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle by Stephen Warnock results in a free kick. George Elokobi takes the free kick.
46:54 Unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Jody Craddock results in a free kick. Stewart Downing delivers the ball from the free
kick left-footed from left wing, clearance by Christophe Berra.
46:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nigel Reo-Coker by David Jones. Luke Young restarts play with the free kick.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+2:07 The first half comes to an end.
45:00+1:46 Unfair challenge on Steven Fletcher by Stephen Warnock results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kevin Foley.
44:46 Unfair challenge on David Jones by Marc Albrighton results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by David
Jones, Stewart Downing manages to make a clearance.
43:58 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis.
43:51 Centre by Kevin Foley, clearance by Emile Heskey.
43:17 Inswinging corner taken by David Jones from the right by-line, clearance by James Collins.
42:52 Nigel Reo-Coker concedes a free kick for a foul on David Jones. Free kick taken by David Jones.
42:38 The ball is delivered by Emile Heskey, save by Marcus Hahnemann.
41:55 Ashley Young challenges Karl Henry unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
41:13 Karl Henry takes a shot. Emile Heskey gets a block in.
40:47 Jody Craddock takes a shot. Clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
39:21 Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Save made by Marcus Hahnemann.
38:39 Stewart Downing takes a short corner.
37:43 Substitution George Elokobi on for Stephen Ward.
36:55 Christophe Berra challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Stewart Downing, save by
35:06 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Jones.
34:52 Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
34:30 Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
33:26 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel Reo-Coker on David Jones. Marcus Hahnemann takes the direct free kick.
32:21 Effort from the edge of the box by Ashley Young goes wide of the left-hand upright.
30:20 Foul by Jody Craddock on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Ashley Young takes the free kick.
27:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emile Heskey on Jody Craddock. Direct free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
25:12 Ashley Young fouled by Karl Henry, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by James Collins.
24:05 The assist for the goal came from Marc Albrighton.
24:05 GOAL - Stewart Downing:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Aston Villa Stewart Downing fires in a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-1 Aston Villa.
24:01 The ball is crossed by Marc Albrighton,
23:24 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Warnock on Kevin Doyle. Kevin Foley takes the direct free kick.
21:48 Kevin Doyle has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
21:26 Ashley Young gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marcus Hahnemann. Marcus Hahnemann takes the direct free kick.
20:18 Stewart Downing takes the inswinging corner, James Collins takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
19:01 Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
17:37 David Jones crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Brad Friedel.
17:37 Booking The referee shows Stephen Warnock a yellow card.
17:31 David Edwards fouled by Stephen Warnock, the ref awards a free kick.
16:19 Nigel Reo-Coker challenges David Jones unfairly and gives away a free kick. Christophe Berra restarts play with the free kick.
14:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Fletcher on Luke Young. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
9:49 James Collins concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Fletcher. Christophe Berra takes the free kick.
8:43 Unfair challenge on Marc Albrighton by Karl Henry results in a free kick. Stiliyan Petrov restarts play with the free kick.
8:23 The ball is swung over by Karl Henry.
7:48 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, Carlos Cuellar manages to make a clearance.
5:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel Reo-Coker on Christophe Berra. Direct free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
5:14 Effort on goal by David Edwards from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
4:10 Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Blocked by Carlos Cuellar.
2:42 Unfair challenge on Carlos Cuellar by David Jones results in a free kick. Carlos Cuellar takes the free kick.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.