Phil Jones debut goal pushes Manchester United back up to second

Aston Villa - Manchester United 1

Phil Jones scored his first goal for Manchester United as they regained
second spot in the Barclays Premier League with victory at Aston Villa.

Jones struck after 20 minutes as United extended their unbeaten league run at Villa Park to 16 years.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side climbed back above Tottenham, who had briefly gone second with their win earlier this afternoon, and remained five points adrift of Manchester City after dominating for long periods.

The down side for the Red Devils was the early loss of striker Javier Hernandez with a serious-looking ankle injury, though they overcame his absence with relative ease.

Jones was given licence to go forward in midfield with Michael Carrick operating in the holding role, while Chris Smalling also did well in shackling Villa's most potent threat in Gabriel Agbonlahor for long periods.

Villa, meanwhile, confirmed winger Charles N'Zogbia had been left out of their match plans for an undisclosed breach of club discipline.

But they also suffered a double injury setback during the game with keeper Shay Given (leg) and Jermaine Jenas (ankle) both stretchered off.

Villa looked more threatening in the second period but could have no complaints with the outcome.

United winger Ashley Young was greeted with boos from some sections of the home fans on his return to Villa Park.

United suffered an early setback when Hernandez appeared to twist his ankle when it became caught in the Villa Park surface after turning sharply.

There was a lengthy delay while Hernandez received treatment but he was unable to continue and was stretchered off and replaced by Antonio Valencia.

It came as no surprise when Jones put United ahead with a clinical finish after 20 minutes.

Patrice Evra released the overlapping Nani and his cross was met by Jones who volleyed past Given from close range.

Villa could not get a foothold in the game and it needed a fine save from Given to prevent United doubling their lead.

Young provided the probing cross from the right of the area and Nani's powerful header was turned aside by the Republic of Ireland keeper.

There was a brief moment of danger from Villa when Barry Bannan ran on to a reverse ball from Agbonlahor inside the United box but he over-ran the ball.

But United were the dominant force and Antonio Valencia curled a 25-yard effort just wide after no-one had closed him down.

Given had to be replaced by Brad Guzan after 38 minutes after hurting his leg when racing out of his area to clear.

The second period began in the same vein as the opening 45 minutes with United dominating proceedings.

Wayne Rooney tried his luck from 25 yards out and his shot skidded just past the post.

Then Bannan made a crucial block on Nani's shot from near the penalty area, then Anders Lindegaard clung onto a teasing cross-shot from Agbonlahor in a rare Villa attack.

Jenas became the third player to be substituted after 64 minutes with a serious-looking ankle injury and he also had to be stretchered off.

Villa substitute Emile Heskey almost made an instant impact as he headed wide at the far post after Richard Dunne had flicked on a corner from Bannan.

Young dragged a low 20-yard effort only a couple of feet wide after brushing off the challenge of Bannan.

But Villa were at last showing some menace with Lindegaard turning over a Collins header from a Dunne centre.

Young curled a sot straight at Guzan after good play by Ryan Giggs but could not score against his former team-mates before being substituted after 78 minutes.

Rooney had a quiet afternoon but was just too high with a snap shot after exchanging passes with Carrick.

Substitute Danny Welbeck had the ball in the net in the 90th minute but had strayed offside.


PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Voices
Björt Ólafsdóttir is a member of Iceland's Bright Future party
voicesIceland's Björt Ólafsdóttir on her decision to take part in #FreeTheNipple
Life and Style
The Clove Club will charge customers when they book
food + drink
News
Lapping it up: a woman feeds felines at a cat café in Japan
newsThe vast majority of cat and dog 'wet foods' contain items not specified on the tin, study finds
Sport
Andros Townsend and Paul Merson
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat