Villa prove stronger in bottom-of-the-table clash
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert again excluded record signing Darren Bent but saw his replacement Christian Benteke score a late winner in the bottom-of-the-table clash with Reading at Villa Park.
The Belgium international ended a four-game run without a goal when he headed home an Ashley Westwood corner with 10 minutes remaining.
The game was not a classic but Villa deserved the three points after enjoying the bulk of possession and looking the more threatening.
Brett Holman impressed in central midfield for Villa, and Reading seldom posed a threat to a solid Villa back four in which Ciaran Clark again impressed.
The recalled Nathan Baker got on the end of one inswinging Barry Bannan corner but sent his downward header past the post.
The game appeared to be heading for a stalemate but with 10 minutes left Benteke settled the issue. Lambert’s €7million signing from Genk climbed above the Royals defence and his downward header flew past Adam Federici.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Stevens (Lichaj 24), Holman (Ireland 67), Westwood, Bannan, Weimann (Albrighton 68), Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs not used: Given, El Ahmadi, Delph, Bowery. Booked: Clark. READING: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 83), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts (Hunt 79), Le Fondre. Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, Harte, Gunnarsson. Attendance: 28,692 Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).