Aston Villa v Everton: full time report

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Aston Villa v Everton: full time report
Aston Villa 1 Everton 0
Kevin MacDonald done his chances of keeping the Aston Villa job no harm after leading his side to a 1-0 win over Everton at Villa Park.
Luke Young's superb early strike was the only goal of the game in an entertaining Premier League encounter.
The hosts took the lead on the eighth minute when Ashley Young assisted his namesake, Luke, for the opening goal of the match.
Marouane Fellaini's mistake allowed the Villa winger to pick up the ball, and his intelligent pass was dispatched with aplomb by the full-back past Tim Howard in the Everton net to give Kevin MacDonald's side a precious lead.
Steven Pienaar came agonisingly close to scoring an equaliser for the visitors 10 minutes later, but his fabulous curling effort from just inside the box crashed into Brad Friedel's crossbar and away to safety.
It was a dramatically improved defensive performance from Aston Villa compared to last weekend, when they were thrashed 6-0 by Newcastle United at St James' Park.
Everton had little luck in the opening 45 minutes, with few clear-cut chances. Jermaine Beckford found himself isolated upfront and struggled to make an impact, and it was no surprise to see the former Leeds United forward subbed early in the second half.
Villa striker John Carew had his first chance of the match just after the interval when he met Albrighton's dangerous cross with a diving header - but the striker failed to direct it goalwards as it sailed harmlessly wide.
Then minutes later, a direct run through the middle by Ashley Young was followed up by a 25-yard strike. However, the ball again flew past Howard's left-hand post for the second time in as many minutes.
Just before the hour mark, both sides had a chance apiece. First, Carew forced Howard into a save, and from the follow up, Ashley Young had his shot blocked well by the impressive Phil Jagielka.
Then, at the other end, second-half substitute Louis Saha was expertly denied by a first-class save from Friedel.
Aston Villa survived another major scare moments later when Mikel Arteta's free-kick was met by Jack Rodwell inside the penalty area. The 19-year-old's flicked header rolled millimetres wide of Friedel's far post, but could easily have found the far corner of the American's net.
With 15 minutes of the match remaining the game became increasingly stretched. Albrighton had a glorious chance to seal all three points for the hosts after more good work from Ashley Young. However, the ball didn't fall kindly to the youngster at the far post, and the winger miscued his strike.
In a thoroughly entertaining end to the match, Everton continued to push forward in search for the equaliser.
Deep into injury time, Saha had two fantastic opportunities to salvage a point for David Moyes' side. Both were brilliantly saved by the veteran 39-year-old goalkeeper, who produced a man-of-the-match performance and kept his side in the match.
Despite a nightmare week for Kevin MacDonald, Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner may now decide to take the plunge and offer the former assistant the job on a permanent basis.
And as for Everton, although they have now had the worst start to a Premier League season, there were clear signs of improvement at Villa Park today.



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