Football: Collymore's goal brings reward for Little's patience

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The Independent Online
Aston Villa 3

Coventry City 0

Brian Little was a relieved and happy man at Villa Park on Saturday. Stan Collymore, the Aston Villa manager's pounds 7m summer recruit from Liverpool, had managed only one goal in four months and had not found the net in his 13 previous games, but his first goal here paved the way for what proved to be a comprehensive victory.

"I was pleased and relieved for him," Little said after the game. "I am sure that the goal he scored today will help him and we hope he goes on from here.

"While things haven't been going as well as he would have liked, we have kept on encouraging him and urging him to keep going and, since he came back from his nose operation, he's been doing well. In the two home games with Everton and Coventry he's really looked the part."

Further goals from Lee Hendrie - his first for Villa - and Julian Joachim left Coventry still looking for their first win in 24 attempts in 64 years at Villa Park.

Coventry's misery was compounded by the dismissals of Paul Williams - for two bookable offences - and his fellow defender, Gary Breen, who pushed Gary Charles in the face after the two had squared up to each other.

Coventry also had David Burrows and Darren Huckerby booked for dissent and Gordon Strachan is understandably concerned about his side's disciplinary record. The Coventry manager, who confirmed that he will fine Breen, said: "Our disciplinary record doesn't help. That's up to individuals. They need to grow up. We will try and stamp things out. If not, then we will play individuals who can be trusted."

Dwight Yorke is struggling to be fit for Villa's Uefa Cup third round second leg home match against Steaua Bucharest tomorrow. Yorke had to be substituted in the first half with a heel injury. Villa could ill afford to be without the man who scored in the decisive win over Athletic Bilbao and also produced the vital away header in the 2-1 first leg defeat in Bucharest a fortnight ago.

Goals: Collymore (21) 1-0; Hendrie (71) 2-0; Joachim (85) 3-0.

Aston Villa: Bosnich; Charles, Staunton, Southgate, Ehiogu, Wright, Grayson, Draper, Milosevic (Joachim, 72), Yorke (Hendrie, 34), Collymore (Curcic, 86). Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), Collins.

Coventry: Ogrizovic; Shaw, Burrows, Williams, Telfer (Strachan, 74), Breen, Huckerby (Haworth, 69), Whelan (Hall, 56), Dublin, Soltvedt, Nilsson. Substitutes not used: O'Neill, Hedman (gk).

Sendings-off: Coventry: Williams, Breen. Booked: Villa: Staunton, Yorke. Coventry: Burrows, Williams, Huckerby, Hall.

Referee: G P Barber (Pyrford).

Man of the match: Staunton.

Attendance: 33,250.