Milner on target as Villa boost bid

James Milner was the match winner as Aston Villa boosted their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium on Tuesday.

Last Updated: 16/03/10 at 22:13 Post Comment

Milner: Celebrates his winning goal

Milner: Celebrates his winning goal

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Milner hopeful fired home in the 63rd minute after Wigan's Gary Caldwell had cancelled out an own goal from James McCarthy before half-time.

The win lifts Martin O'Neill's men to within three points of fourth-placed Tottenham, with a game in hand, in the Premier League table.

Remarkably, the victory was O'Neill's first in the league in the month of March since he took charge at Villa in 2006.

Yet Wigan, desperate for points at the opposite end of the table, fully played their part in an absording contest that could quite easily have swung the other way.

Latics are clearly benefiting from the decision to relay their much-criticised pitch and there was some enterprising football on show from both sides.

The visitors responded to their lacklustre draw against Stoke by recalling top scorer Gabriel Agbonlahor, who was troubled by a virus last week, at the expense of former Wigan forward Emile Heskey.

Martinez chose to keep faith with Caldwell after a personal horror show from the defender at the Reebok Stadium and his decision was almost rewarded.

The pace was electric from the start and Wigan created the first openings as Hugo Rodallega fired well wide and Maynor Figueroa sent a fierce drive narrowly over.

Villa were initially slow to get into their stride but they burst into life after 11 minutes as Agbonlahor clipped the ball home from a John Carew flick-on only to see the offside flag raised.

The visitors were denied by the assistant referee again two minutes later as Ashley Young turned in an Agbonlahor cross but replays suggested both decisions were correct, but only just.

Figueroa then tested Brad Friedel with another long-range strike before Carew tried his luck for Villa with an effort that flashed wide.

Agbonlahor found space again only to be denied by a good block from Figueroa and Stewart Downing had an inswinging free-kick from the right tipped over by Chris Kirkland.

Villa took the lead in fortuitous circumstances on 25 minutes after Carew sent a looping header across the box following a Downing cross.

McCarthy was under little pressure as the ball fell his way but he mistimed his clearance horribly and sliced the ball beyond Kirkland.

But Wigan produced the perfect response and levelled within two minutes as Charles N'Zogbia's free-kick was met by a glancing header from Caldwell that took it beyond Friedel.

Both sides remained intent on attack and Rodallega and Young both spurned good opportunities to put their sides ahead.

Carew also went close twice more before the break, first with a cheeky backheel that went wide and then when Kirkland spread himself to save a powerful shot from close range.

The second period began at the same lung-bursting pace with Wigan's Marcelo Moreno curling a shot narrowly wide.

Villa went close again as Stephen Warnock whipped in a dangerous cross but Young's header just missed the target.

Rodallega lined up another shot but Villa defender Richard Dunne showed determination to block.

Villa reclaimed the lead just after the hour as Kirkland flapped at a cross and the ball was only half-cleared as far as Milner on the edge of the box.

The midfielder fired the ball straight back at goal and it somehow found its way through a crowded penalty area to hit the net.

Wigan, having introduced the pace of teenager Victor Moses, tried to respond again but the former Crystal Palace star was crowded out after a strong run.

Rodallega, who felt he was denied a penalty at Bolton, claimed he was impeded in the box by Carlos Cuellar with 15 minutes remaining but referee Steve Bennett saw nothing untoward.

Villa decided to rest Agbonlahor with nine minutes remaining and Heskey entered the fray to generous applause from the home fans.

Wigan pressed on to the end with Moses again showing his pace but he was

unable to carve out an opening.

Latics appealed for another spot-kick for handball against Young but again it fell on deaf ears.

Villa had the last word of the night as substitute Steve Sidwell forced Kirkland to save from distance.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 18 August 2014
20:00
Burnley 1-3 Chelsea Report
Sunday, 17 August 2014
16:00
Newcastle 0-2 Man City Report
13:30
Liverpool 2-1 Southampton Report
Saturday, 16 August 2014
17:30
Arsenal 2-1 C Palace Report
15:00
Leicester 2-2 Everton Report
QPR 0-1 Hull City Report
Stoke 0-1 A Villa Report
West Brom 2-2 S'land Report
West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Report
12:45
Man Utd 1-2 Swansea Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 1 2 3
2 Man City 1 2 3
3 Arsenal 1 1 3
4 Liverpool 1 1 3
5 Swansea 1 1 3
6 A Villa 1 1 3
7 Hull City 1 1 3
8 Tottenham 1 1 3
9 Everton 1 0 1
10 Leicester 1 0 1
11 S'land 1 0 1
12 West Brom 1 0 1
13 C Palace 1 -1 0
14 Man Utd 1 -1 0
15 Southampton 1 -1 0
16 QPR 1 -1 0
17 Stoke 1 -1 0
18 West Ham 1 -1 0
19 Burnley 1 -2 0
20 Newcastle 1 -2 0

Updated Tue, 19 Aug 2014

Footer 365

Fresh Mackay claims emerge

Malky Mackay faces fresh allegations in the text message scandal, just hours after issuing a grovelling apology.

Transfer news: Hull close on Michael Dawson as Tottenham discuss deal for Sevilla's Federico Fazio

Hull City are close to agreeing a deal with Tottenham to sign defender Michael Dawson, according to Sky sources.

Transfer news: Blackburn confirm they have rejected two Hull bids for Jordan Rhodes

Blackburn have rejected two Hull bids for Jordan Rhodes, but Tigers boss Steve Bruce still hopes to land the striker.

Mail Box

More Fan Mail For Football365...

'Just p*ss off with your righteous indignation will you. W*nkers.' There's a lot of anger going around for what should have been a sleepy Friday afternoon at F365 Towers...

Man United: One Game To Save Season

They have one match to convince decent players that they are worth joining - over to you, Louis. We also have mails on Malky Mackay, Mario Balotelli and Tim...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property