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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:52 22nd October 2011

PAUL Scharner's stunning 57th-minute winner ended more than three decades of hurt on Villa soil as Albion came from behind to complete a dream derby double inside six days.

In an incident-packed West Midlands affair, Darren Bent fired Alex McLeish's men ahead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute.

But the hosts were reduced to ten men on 34 when Chris Herd was red-carded for an alleged stamp on Jonas Olsson, conceding a penalty in the process.

Chris Brunt blazed the spot-kick horribly wide but the Baggies weren't to be denied, levelling through a towering Olsson header - his fourth career Barclays Premier League goal - on the stroke of half-time.

And the away end was sent into delirium 12 minutes after the break when Scharner blasted a brilliant 15-yard volley in off Shay Given's bar.

Albion were well worth their first league win at Villa since 1979 - which came on the back of their derby success against Wolves last Sunday.

The Baggies started the game a place further down the Barclays Premier League table, in 13th position, after Swansea moved above them thanks to their 2-2 draw at Molineux in the day's early kick-off.

Roy Hodgson rang one change from the Black Country derby win, with Peter Odemwingie coming in for Somen Tchoyi. Fit-again Zoltan Gera also made his first appearance in an Albion squad since returning to The Hawthorns in August in place of the injured Graham Dorrans.

The Baggies started brightly and had strong penalty appeals turned away when James Collins appeared to handle the ball as Jerome Thomas turned him in the box. TVs replays showed that referee Phil Dowd had got the decision spot on, with the ball striking the Villa centre-half's waist.

However, just a minute later, Villa should have been one up. Barry Bannan's miscued shot was controlled superbly by Bent in the box to give him a clear sight of Ben Foster's goal, but the England striker inexplicably blazed over from eight yards.

In the seventh minute, Villa went close again when Olsson's headed clearance from Stephen Warnock's left-wing centre fell neatly for Bannan on the edge of the Baggies box and the pint-sized midfielder fired just over.

There was a real injury concern for Albion in the 11th minute when Shane Long needed lengthy treatment after an over-the-top challenge from Alan Hutton. Although Hutton touched the ball, this was a tackle from the 'dangerous' category.

The Albion No.9 was able to continue but looked in some discomfort - and it was no surprise when Tchoyi replaced Long in the 19th minute.

But the visitors were reeling from an even bigger setback thee minutes later when a defensive mix-up gifted Villa the game's opening goal.

Steven Reid attempted to shield the ball back to Foster but Gabriel Agbonlahor had not given up the chase and managed to get a toe to the ball milliseconds before Foster, who brought him down in the process.

Dowd pointed straight to the spot and Bent made no mistake, sending Foster the wrong way from 12 yards.

Albion regrouped but Thomas failed to get any power behind his volley from Reid's centre and Villa cleared.

Moments later, purposeful play by Odemwingie and Tchoyi presented Thomas with another shooting opportunity but the winger curled well over from 18 yards.

Albion were thrown a real lifeline in the 34th minute when they were awarded a penalty, and Villa reduced to ten men, in the same incident.

From Brunt's free-kick, Herd was penalised for wrestling Olsson to the ground in the box and also dismissed for an alleged stamp on the Swedish international.

However, Albion passed up the gift, with Brunt screwing his spot-kick horribly wide of the left-hand post.

Villa suffered their own injury setback in the 40th minute when Hutton was unable to continue after a nasty clash of heads with team-mate Charles N'Zogbia. He was replaced by Carlos Cuellar.

Albion had been on top since falling behind but without really troubling the Villa goal. That all changed, though, three minutes before the break when Given had to produce a one-handed wonder save to deny Tchoyi following the Cameroon star's swivel and shot from just inside the box.

But the Villa keeper could not prevent Albion levelling on the stroke of half-time.

Olsson towered above Richard Dunne to plant an unstoppable header in the top right-hand corner of the Villa net from six yards.

The noisy away support was celebrating again in the first minute of stoppage time when Odemwingie blasted home from just inside the box. Unfortunately, the goal joy was nipped in the bud by the tightest of offside decisions.

Albion started the second 45 in positive fashion but after Youssouf Mulumbu won a free kick, Brunt blazed the 30-yard set-piece well over.

In the 55th minute, Given had to produce a fine stop to push away Mulumbu's 20-yard rocket - and the Baggies went even closer 60 seconds later.

From another Brunt flag-kick, Olsson ghosted in at the near post but this time could not hit target, heading over from only three yards.

But Albion did not have to wait much longer to surge in front.

In the 57th minute, yet another Brunt corner fell to Scharner in the box and the Austrian international turned on a sixpence to beat Given all ends up with a stunning volley which crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

The one-way traffic continued and, from a short corner, Thomas jinked past Stiliyan Petrov before seeing his goalbound shot bravely blocked by Collins' head.

Villa had barely got out of their half since the restart but they finally threatened on 70, when Collins headed a Bannan corner wide of the far post.

But that was the only scare of any kind that Albion suffered as they comfortably ran down the clock.

And they should have won by a bigger margin, with the dangerous Tchoyi spearheading a brilliant Baggies break in the dying stages and teeing up Odemwingie in the box. Sadly, with only Given to beat, the Nigeria striker completely missed his kick.

Moments later, Dowd's final whistle signalled Albion's first back-to-back wins of the season - and sparked scenes of wild celebration in the away end.

VILLA (4-3-3): Given; Hutton (Cuellar 40), Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Petrov (c), Herd, Bannan (Albrighton 78); N'Zogbia (Heskey 61), Bent, Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Guzan (gk), Ireland, Delfouneso, Clark.

ALBION (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Jones; Brunt (c), Scharner, Mulumbu (Morrison 78), Thomas; Long (Tchoyi 19), Odemwingie. Subs not used: Fulop (gk), Shorey, Gera, Dawson, Cox.

GOALS: VILLA - Bent (pen 23). ALBION - Olsson (45), Scharner (57).

BOOKINGS: Villa - Hutton (foul 16), Given (kicking ball away 66). ALBION - Jones (foul 21), Scharner (over-celebrating 57), Mulumbu (foul 66).

SENDING-OFF: VILLA - Herd (violent conduct 34).

REFEREE: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

ATTENDANCE: 34,152.

ALBION STARMAN: Paul Scharner.


    Data provided by Press Association

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