Villa grateful for Carson's expensive gift

Aston Villa 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

As long as Tony Mowbray has anything to do with it, Albion will never be accused of playing boring football. What they cannot escape, however, is the charge of being predictable. Certainly, what happened at Villa Park yesterday must have been all too familiar to their suffering supporters.

Long spells of possession from a midfield determined to keep faith with their manager's pass-and-move philosophy won them applause and respect, as it generally does. But no points. Successes against Tottenham and Manchester City at home may have raised their survival hopes, but an eighth consecutive defeat on the road leaves them stuck at the bottom of the table, their points tally worse than it was at this point of the 2005-06 Premier League season, in which they were relegated.

Slightly less predictable but hardly a new experience was the error by Scott Carson that made taking home any reward all the more difficult for Mowbray's team. The England goalkeeper, still taunted inevitably for the mistakes that have undermined the progress of his inter-national career, handed Villa the cushion of a two-goal lead after 40 minutes when a hopeful shot by Gabriel Agbonlahor squeezed under his body and into the net.

That he went on to pull off two fine saves, more worthy of a keeper of his status, against Ashley Young and Steve Sidwell in the second half did not lessen the damage done. Already trailing to a Curtis Davies header, Albion's chances of recovering against opponents set up to play a counter-attacking game always lookedremote, even though a goal from James Morrison four minutes into the second half gave them hope.

Mowbray did not dwell much on Carson's mistake. He was minded more to point out that a little help from the referee, Steve Bennett, could have resulted in a 2-2 scoreline, and that would have brought an altogethermore favourable assessment of Albion's prospects.

Mowbray felt that Ashley Young brought down Robert Koren in the last minute of stoppage time, moments after Luke Young had arguably tripped Roman Bednar. "I'm not going to complain because it is down to the referee's opinion," Mowbray said. "He has had two chances to give a penaltybut didn't. Had he given it and we had scored we might be sitting down here saying that we had done all right."

Instead, as Villa stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches and moved above Manchester United to third place in the table, Mowbray again felt obliged to defend his principles. "I enjoyed watching my team today, regardless of what people think,"he said. "You have a team that wants to attack against a counterattacking team with threats like Ashley Young or a Gabby Agbonlahor, and it is exciting.

"We are a good team maybe without the quality in the strikers to score enough goals. But we are working on that. What you don't want to do is go back to the days of Charles Hughes and percentages, because if that was all it was about then nobody would come to the stadiums."

Yet the bottom line, as Mowbray conceded, is results, and Villa hadthe quality to turn their chances,few though they might have been,into goals.

Their opening goal came on their first meaningful attack, Sidwell seeing two headers cleared off the line from Villa's first corner before Gareth Barry, regaining the ball on the right flank, supplied the cross from which Davies headed past Carson.

The goal was a bittersweet experience for Davies, who has found himself vilified by Albion supporters since moving to Villa Park from the Hawthorns 18 months ago but retains an affection for his former club nonetheless. He declined to celebrate. "I have a lot of friends there andit would have been disrespectful," he said.

Agbonlahor deserved some credit for opportunism as the lead was doubled, surprising Carson with a shot when the goalkeeper and his defensive colleagues were expecting a cross. It was a bad mistake, however, made worse by the factthat Agbonlahor's attempt might well have missed.

Morrison's goal was a good one, powered home from 15 yards after he had sent Martin Laursen the wrong way, but Villa this season have yetto lose after scoring first, andtheir Champions' League ambitions remain intact.

Attendance: 41,757

Referee: Steve Bennett

Man of the match: Ashley Young

Match rating: 7/10

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence