Benteke lifts Villa out of drop zone


Premier League review:Christian Benteke scored the winner as Aston Villa grabbed all three points against Reading at Villa Park to move out of the bottom three. Reading remain second from bottom on nine points from 13 games.

The Belgian striker decided the game with a powerful downward header from an 80th minute Ashley Westwood corner.

The game was not a classic but Villa deserved the three points after enjoying the bulk of possession and looking the more threatening.

Villa boss Paul Lambert again excluded record signing Darren Bent in favour of Benteke. Bent was left out of Lambert’s matchday plans for the second successive game with rookie striker Jordan Bowery again preferred on the substitutes’ bench. Villa denied former Tottenham striker Bent had left the ground after being left out and he watched the game from an executive box.

Bent had already lost his place in the starting line-up to Benteke before being sidelined with an ankle injury. But it is a mystery why Lambert is not prepared to include in his final 18 a player who was signed two years ago to score the goals to keep Villa in the top flight.

Substitute Rob Green ensured Harry Redknapp’s rein at bottom-of-the-table QPRstarted with a positive result after making a stunning save to deny Sunderland'sSteven Fletcher. The former England goalkeeper somehow clawed away the Scotland international’s 64th-minute header on a night when his new manager saw plenty to persuade him that his cause may not alrady be lost.

Green replaced the injured Julio Cesar, who had earlier made a vital block to deny Fletcher, at the break and stood firm as the visitors turned in a spirited display at the Stadium of Light.

Home keeper Simon Mignolet also had to be at his best to keep out Sunderland old boy Djibril Cisse as well as Jamie Mackie, and he was relieved to see midfielder Stephane Mbia blast a long-range effort inches wide.

Ultimately, Redknapp’s men left the north-east still without a league win this season, but with a fifth point of the campaign which extended the Black Cats’ difficult run to just two wins in 21 outings.

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