But in between Villa were guilty of sloppy defending which allowed Kevin Davies and Ivan Campo to find the net for Sam Allardyce's battlers. Phillips cost O'Leary only ï¿½750,000 from Southampton and on this evidence he looks like being a bargain capture.
The Villa chief said: "I tried to sign Kevin two years ago from Sunderland but there was only a certain amount of money and I took Gavin McCann and Thomas Sorensen. "I wish we'd have got him them but for ï¿½750,000 I'm sure he will be a good professional for this club. "Judge him over a season and he will score his goals, a fair number of goals, and that's what we need. "I think the fans will like him. He worked hard, took his goal well and gave a very solid performance."
O'Leary would like to bring in another striker particularly after a lacklustre display from Juan Pablo Angel and he would still like to buy Liverpool's Milan Baros. Talks are still understood to be on-going between the clubs but O'Leary is reluctant to talk about any potential signings after being hit with a Premier League charge when he declared his interest in James Beattie 12 months ago.
O'Leary said: "Let's just say I'm hopeful of getting someone from the north! Let's just leave it at that. But I think we can do with a few players." As for the performance of his back four, O'Leary added: "Our defending has driven me mad. Bolton are predictable, and that is no criticism of them. You know what you are going to get from them. "You work all week on getting people to head the ball away and defend free-kicks and long throws but all through the game we looked vulnerable. "We could have defended a lot better than we did. Overall it was a fair result."
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce bemoaned some poor finishing, with Kevin Nolan, Davies and Radhi Jaidi missing gilt-edged chances. But he was also unhappy that referee Mike Riley had ruled out Nolan's effort for offside in the second half. Allardyce said: "We took control of the game in the second half when they ran out of ideas and produced the sort of chances that Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal would have buried. But the Kevin Nolan goal also wasn't offside. We were denied the goal we deserved. But if we'd have put our chances away that wouldn't have mattered."