Premier League - Heskey seals Villa derby win

Sun, 26 Sep 16:01:00 2010

Gerard Houllier got his time in charge of Aston Villa off to a winning start with a 2-1 derby victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

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Highlights: Wolves 1-2 Aston Villa

Stewart Downing got the opener midway through the first half to score the first goal of Houllier's tenure in the Midlands, only for Matt Jarvis to grab a fortunate equaliser after the break. Making his first league start of the season, Emile Heskey scored the winner late on for his old Liverpool boss.

Wolves had the better of the early exchanges, and David Edwards fired wide of the near post after being played in by a through ball from Kevin Doyle.

Villa were content to repel several long throws and hit Wolves on the break, and from a corner James Collins's header was saved by Marcus Hahnemann.

Not long after that chance, Villa were in front. Emile Heskey plays the ball out wide for the impressive Marc Albrighton, and the England U21 international fired in a low cross that the unmarked Downing turned in at the far post for his third goal of the season in front of the watching Fabio Capello.

Ashley Young jinked his way round Stephen Ward, who was later replaced before half-time by George Elokobi after picking up an injury, and the winger flashed a shot across goal and wide of the far post.

Villa keeper Brad Friedel pulled off a double-save when he parried Steven Fletcher's half-volley at his near post before blocking Doyle's close-range follow-up effort.

Wolves remained unperturbed by their lack of opportunities for all their possession, and right after the break Christophe Berra's acrobatic effort drew a good save from Friedel.

Villa began to invite too much pressure on to their resilient defence and they paid the price just past the hour mark.

Jarvis checked his run down the left and curled in a right-footed cross for Doyle. The Ireland striker failed to get a touch with his outstretched boot, but it was enough to confuse Friedel and the ball snuck past him and into the net. Jarvis, understandably, celebrated his first goal since March rather sheepishly, but it was no more than Wolves' efforts deserved.

Houllier responded by bringing on Gabriel Agbonlahor, who had scored six goals in his previous seven derby matches in the league, in place of Albrighton.

However, despite Ashley Young forcing a fingertip save from Hahnemann with a solid strike from range, it was for a long time as though a spirited Wolves were more likely to score.

But Heskey grabbed the winner two minutes from time when he rose to meet Stephen Warnock's chipped cross and beat Hahnemann with a pinpoint downward header to register his first league goal of the season and ensure Villa claimed the local bragging rights.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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