Premier League – Carew finally gives Villa win


Aston Villa returned to fifth in the Premier League after a controversial John Carew goal gave them a 1-0 win over Hull City at Villa Park, their first victory in 10 league matches.

FOOTBALL 2008-2009 Premier League Aston Villa Aston Villa-Hull Villa striker John Carew celebrates scoring with Ashley Young - 0

Carew appeared to be in an offside position when he touched Ashley Young‘s first-half centre past Boaz Myhill with the result leaving Phil Brown’s battling Tigers one place and three points above the relegation zone.

Hull started well enough and almost took an early lead when captain Ian Ashbee sent a shot whistling just wide of the right-hand post in the second minute.

Ashbee did not last much longer after a 50-50 challenge with James Milner saw the Tigers man limp out of play with what appeared to be a badly-bruised knee.

From then on Hull looked disjointed and lacking in midfield bite, although Villa offered little going forward to hint at anything other than mid-table quality.

The hosts did take the lead, though, through Carew’s dubious strike.

With 34 minutes played, Ashley Young raced on to a Gareth Barry through ball after the Villa captain combined with Stilyian Petrov to rob George Boateng on the edge of the visitors’ box.

Young cut inside from the left and played a delightful chipped cross that Carew – who appeared to be just offside – poked past Boaz Myhill into the bottom-right corner.

Villa will argue that the Norway hit-man was level with Michael Turner but he seemed to have got half a yard beyond him at the moment Young clipped the ball in.

Hull were given a lucky escape soon afterwards, though, when Boateng got away with a clumsy tackle from behind that sent Carew sprawling in the Hull area.

Agbonlahor forced Myhill to tip over in first-half injury-time and, while Villa deserved the lead, it was hardly a classic encounter between two sides who were free-scoring earlier in the season.

The second half started with the hosts showing more attacking intent and Hull were kept in the match by the antics of former Villa keeper Myhill.

He tipped Barry’s swerving right-foot drive wide less than two minutes after the restart and denied Milner just after the hour mark with a smart low save.

Myhill made an incredible save on 78 minutes when he somehow palmed Agbonlahor’s close-range header over the bar after the Villa striker was given what seemed an open goal by Zat Knight‘s header across goal.

The wonder-save gave Hull hope and the last quarter hour – which included five minutes of added time – saw Villa on the rack, so unused to winning that even the most rudimentary approach by the Tigers set their backs against the wall.

Chances came for Daniel Cousin, Manucho and Kamil Zayatte but good positioning by Friedel and poor finishing from the visitors meant Villa were able to ride out the pressure, despite a flurry of late corners that saw Myhill join the attack.

Villa are now two points ahead of sixth-placed Everton with three games remaining, although they cannot catch Arsenal in fourth.

Hull, meanwhile, have three points over 18th-placed Newcastle but the Magpies have a superior goal difference that leaves the a win away from safety.

Reda Maher / Eurosport