Villa's victory is Taylor made

 

ASTON VILLA plunged Southampton back into relegation trouble and kept alive their hopes of a top three finish with a second half, scoring spree at Villa Park.

Makeshift central defender Ian Taylor, full back Gary Charles - with his first goal of the campaign - and leading scorer Dwight Yorke struck in a 20 minute spell.

Victory completed an Easter win double for Villa and they were inspired by an all action display from man of the match Taylor.

The first half was a low key affair and former Southampton midfielder Andy Townsend produced the only worthwhile on target effort. The Villa skipper's fiercely struck drive from 30 yards was turned away by Bruce Grobbelaar for a corner.

Yorke turned a Gary Charles cross wide at full stretch and Paul McGrath headed weakly at Grobbelaar. Southampton meanwhile, had appeals for a penalty rejected when Matthew Le Tissier turned sharply at the far post and then tumbled to the ground under pressure from Charles.

Villa stepped up a gear after the break and Grobbelaar did well to keep out an attempted lob from Savo Milosevic after he had latched on to Yorke's flick on.

The former Liverpool keeper then turned away a fierce, low 25 yard drive from Alan Wright, which flew through a ruck of players.

But he was finally beaten when a curling right wing corner from Townsend eluded him in the 62nd minute and was met firmly by the head of Taylor.

Then, 10 minutes from time, Yorke's trickery took him past Francis Benali and his cut back was turned in by Charles.

Yorke raced clear in the 82nd minute to complete the scoring with his 25th goal of the season - and 17th in the Premiership.