Aston Villa are out of the bottom three, and have simultaneously sunk one of their biggest relegation rivals. Survival is looking much more likely for the Villains after they snatched an absolutely massive 2-1 win away to Reading.
Things didn't start well for Villa, who conceded the first great chance of the game with some absolutely woeful defending. Thankfully for them Brad Guzan was well-positioned and made a brilliant save in the 2nd minute on a header by Adam Le Fondre. However, their luck ran out a half-hour later.
Nathan Baker was responsible for one of the most embarrassing own goals of the season, putting his team behind in the 32nd minute. A cross to the back post by Jobi McAnuff was scuffed by Hope Akpan and should have been easily cleared by Baker, but he was caught wrong-footed and clumsily put the ball into his own net.
The Villa attack struck back a minute later, bailing out their defender. Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke, who each could have had a hat trick on the day with better finishing and decision-making, combined for a goal to make it 1-1. A ball down the right flank from Ashley Westwood found Weimann, who cut back for Benteke. The Reading defenders dropped back too far, failing to see Benteke's hesitation, and the Belgian striker had an easy finish.
Just before halftime, Reading's poor defense crumbled yet again. Barry Bannan hit the inside of the post with a shot in stoppage time, forcing Stuart Taylor into a tough decision. He reacted quickly to push the ball off his line, but only pushed to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner to put Villa ahead.
The second half featured some generally poor football from both sides, though it was played at a frantic pace. The intensity of the match was not matched by the quality of the forwards, as poor finishing led both sides to go scoreless in the second half, which worked out just fine for Aston Villa.