Agbonlahor and Milner put Villa on course for Europe

Hull City 0 Aston Villa 2

Aston Villa boosted their Champions League hopes and dealt Hull's survival chances a potentially fatal blow with a deserved victory at the KC Stadium tonight.

Gabriel Agbonlahor benefited from some calamitous Hull defending to put the visitors ahead in the 13th minute but only Kevin Kilbane will know how he failed to draw the Tigers level midway through the first half.

The crucial second goal arrived 15 minutes from time, James Milner picking himself up to convert from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by George Boateng.

Hull were, however, grateful for news Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink had regained consciousness after being knocked out in a challenge with Richard Dunne at the start of the second half.

Both managers named unchanged teams, meaning Tigers boss Iain Dowie again chose to play with only Vennegoor of Hesselink up front despite criticism from some fans for a perceived negative approach.

The early stages were bossed by Villa but it was Kilbane who failed to take advantage of the first decent opening after nine minutes, sending his shot well over when the ball fell nicely to him 15 yards out.

The Tigers have struggled at both ends of the pitch this season and they presented their opponents with the opening goal in the 13th minute.

First Ibrahima Sonko and then Paul McShane saw their attempted clearances charged down and Agbonlahor curled a pinpoint shot into the top corner from a tight angle.

Hull were rocking and it could have been two moments later when Stiliyan Petrov's deflected shot flew just past a post. The Bulgarian was finding plenty of space and he sent another effort over the bar.

Having been under the cosh, Hull squandered an unbelievable opening in the 24th minute. Kilbane played in Vennegoor of Hesselink but Brad Friedel blocked his effort from eight yards.

The ball fell to Kilbane, who first had a shot saved by Friedel, then, having retrieved the ball with only James Collins to beat on the line, saw his second attempt deflected over the bar via the defender's arm.

A foul by Agbonlahor on Kilbane in the 36th minute gave Andy Dawson a chance to curl a free-kick in with his left foot from 20 yards out but it was easily dealt with by Friedel.

Hull had another glorious opening within two minutes of the restart. A long throw from Sonko found its way to defender Steven Mouyokolo right in front of goal but he scuffed his shot and Friedel pushed the ball over the bar.

There was then a lengthy break in play after Dunne clashed heads with Vennegoor of Hesselink from the subsequent corner. Referee Mike Dean signalled immediately for medical assistance and, while Dunne was quickly back on his feet, Vennegoor of Hesselink was treated on the pitch for some minutes before being carried down the tunnel, with Jozy Altidore coming on.

McShane almost cost his side a second goal on the hour when an ill-advised backpass looked to have played in John Carew but Duke just managed to clear, with Petrov miscuing an ambitious effort when the ball fell to him on halfway.

Hull continued to press forward in search of the goal they so desperately needed and Mouyokolo headed a corner wide of the far post. But they lacked the creativity to consistently get in behind Villa and the frustration of the crowd was growing.

Meanwhile, the visitors were a constant threat on the break and Agbonlahor fired in a shot from 15 yards which was tipped over the bar by Duke.

In search of some much-needed guile, Dowie sent on Geovanni for Cairney. But Hull's night took another turn for the worse in the 75th minute when a speedy Villa break ended with Boateng fouling Milner in the area.

Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Milner easily beat Duke, placing his kick into the bottom corner.

Hull were committing everyone forward now and were lucky not to be three down almost immediately as Villa squandered a three-on-one break.

Ten minutes of injury-time gave the home side some hope but they could not find the breakthrough and will go into their remaining three games three points from safety and with a vastly inferior goal difference.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee