Aston Villa claimed an important victory over Newcastle United to take themselves five clear of 18th place and soothe some frayed nerves in Birmingham. In their last home match, a 2-1 loss against Wolves, fans began chanting for Gerard Houllier's head, and although things were fairly stressful towards the end of this game those same fans went home rather happier as the hosts avenged their 6-0 thrashing at St. James' Park last August.
The officials did their utmost to prevent Villa getting those three points, though. Although the match finished 1-0 thanks to a James Collins header, striker Darren Bent had a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed for offside and then was denied a clear penalty when Steven Taylor bundled him over in the box. Had Newcaslte gone on to score - and they were putting on plenty of pressure in the final ten minutes of the match, their only good spell, Stuart Atwell's name would not have been held in particularly high regard around Villa Park.
But, no matter. Aston Villa won, could have scored more goals, and looked defensively solid throughout the match. They're now in 14th place, while Newcastle, two points ahead, are in ninth. Both sides now look like they'll probably manage to avoid the drop into the Championship next year.