Carew makes due amends for late-night indiscretion

Wigan Athletic 0 Aston Villa 4
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The Independent Football

John Carew's late-night indiscretions cost him an estimated £100,000 fine after Villa manager Martin O'Neill made his disapproval clear, but the Norwegian striker reaffirmed his commitment to the football club's cause by scoring one goal and contributing to another as Villa romped to an emphatic victory.

Spotted in a Birmingham lap-dancing club at one o'clock last Thursday morning – hours before a UEFA Cup tie from which, despite suffering from fatigue, he had not been officially excused – Carew (right) was fined two weeks' wages by O'Neill.

The fine seemed to have been meted out with a smile by O'Neill, who said that Carew had argued mitigating circumstances – "just as I would have done, although sadly there were no lap-dancing clubs in my day".

"The other players thought he should have been fined double the amount. He may have felt he was not going to play on Thursday but it was a large oversight on his part and he has assured me it will not happen again."

Having been confined to the stands as Villa defeated Ajax, Carew wasted no time when given the chance to make an impact yesterday.

The thumping header just past the hour from a Gabby Agbonlahor cross gave him his sixth goal of the season less than seven minutes after replacing the injured Gareth Barry, although he had given Villa a nudge towards their best away win of the season even more quickly, helping Agbonlahor take his tally for the season to the same number when his miscued header from an Ashley Young corner fell for his co-striker to bundle over the line.

Those goals simply compounded Steve Bruce's misery, the former Birmingham boss still grimacing at the thought of the first-half penalty given away by Titus Bramble that had handed Villa the lead.

The defender had brought down Agbonlahor at the left-hand edge of the penalty area with no threat to the goal.

That apart, there had been little to choose between a side with top-six hopes and one anxiously checking on the relegation places. Brad Friedel made good saves from Amr Zaki's header and a Wilson Palacios's shot.

Friedel superbly kept out a Bramble header after the break but Villa punished Wigan on the break when the impressive Agbonlahor set up Carew's goal from a James Milner through ball and when Milner set up substitute Steve Sidwell, back from injury for a belated Premier League debut, to hit their fourth in the 90th minute.

Goals: Barry pen (21) 0-1; Agbonlahor (57) 0-2; Carew (61) 0-3; Sidwell (89) 0-4.

Wigan Athletic (4-3-1-2): Kirkland; Boyce, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa; De Ridder (Taylor 80), Cattermole (Brown 80), Palacios; Kapo (Koumas h-t); Zaki, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Kilbane, Cywka, Camara.

Aston Villa (4-1-4-1): Friedel; L Young (Davies 78), Cuellar, Laursen, Shorey; Petrov (Sidwell 85); Milner, Reo-Coker, Barry (Carew 54), A Young; Agbonlahor. Substitutes not used: Guzan, Knight, Gardner, Harewood.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Bookings: Wigan Athletic: Palacios; Aston Villa: L Young, Reo-Coker.

Attendance: 20,249.

Man of the match: Agbonlahor.