Football: Revival of Villa

Barnsley 0 Aston Villa 3 Ehiogu 25, Draper 50, Taylor 72 Attend ance: 18,649
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The Independent Online
With their first away win since April, Aston Villa finally kick- started their season and gave themselves fresh hope of a successful Uefa Cup trip to Bordeaux on Tuesday.

Goals from Ugo Ehiogu, Mark Draper and Ian Taylor may have flattered Villa, but with their tally for the season doubled and escape from the Premiership's bottom three negotiated, they were not likely to complain. Nor is their manager, Brian Little, likely to get carried away.

He had warned about the consequences of a further reverse yesterday and afterwards spoke of consolidation and the importance of the next four weeks to Villa's chances of completing their revival.

"We've got to keep winning to catch up a little bit and today helped," he said. "But it was a mixture. They should have scored at the start of each half when we got a bit sloppy as we did again in the last 10 minutes. We're happier going into Tuesday's game with a couple of results behind us."

Draper did not seem to be on the minds of the Barnsley defence when he was allowed to force a superb reflex save from Lars Leese in the 25th minute. He whipped across the subsequent corner for Ehiogu to stab the ball over Leese's flailing arms.

The goalkeeper again came to Barnsley's rescue when he somehow tipped Stan Collymore's ferocious 24-yard free-kick on to the underside of the bar, Yorke scooping the rebound over. Barnsley's new pounds 1.3m striker, Ashley Ward, should have done better when, from inside the box, he directed well over.

In the second minute, Darren Barnard had shrugged off Taylor, but Ward missed the ball and Steve Staunton cleared from Georgi Hristov at the far post. Barnard combined with Ward again at the beginning of the second half, but the former Derby County player's shot was blocked by Ehiogu.

Then Collymore slipped the ball to Draper, who slotted the ball under Leese's legs. The punishment was complete when Yorke nipped inside Arjan de Zeeuw in the 72nd minute and delivered a low ball to Taylor, who nudged it home.

"Our defending was absolutely pathetic," Danny Wilson, the Barnsley manager, said of his team who have now conceded 13 League goals. "I'm very annoyed at the way we gave the game away. It looks like our defenders are intimidated by big-name players. Well, they have a lot more to meet this season and they will have to put this right sooner rather than later."