Norwich City vs. Aston Villa: Final score 1-2; Gabby Agbonlahor leads Villa to victory

Mark Thompson

Villa's great escape looks as though it's continuing as Paul Lambert's side emerged victorious at Carrow Road

Aston Villa looked to have followed up their 6-1 demolition of Sunderland with a draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road, but Gabby Agbonlahor delivered a 90th minute winner to hand the visitors a huge 2-1 victory.

The first half didn't look like it featured a pair of teams still at some risk of relegation. There were a few goalmouth scrambles, and Villa did hit the bar when Javier Garrido deflected Gabby Agbonlahor's cross onto the woodwork, but there were no real scoring chances worth noting. The visitors did suffer a major blow when they lost right back Matthew Lowton to an ankle injury in the 27th minute. Rather than play with ten men, Paul Lambert made the dubious decision to use Eric Lichaj in his stead.

There was a hint that the second half would be a little different when Christian Benteke took advantage of some slack Norwich defending but failed to capitalise, slinging in a weak shot that was easily saved by Mark Bunn, and one magnificent solo effort from Agbonlahor later and the Villans were ahead. It really was a goal from nothing -- the striker picked up possession on the halfway line, powered through a crowd of yellow shirts, and fired a shot into the bottom corner.

Norwich should have replied immediately, but a communications breakdown prevented them from turning Garrido's excellent 60th-minute cross into a goal. Russell Martin was completely unmarked at the back post, but the ball was taken virtually off his head by Wes Hoolahan, who nodded well wide. And at the other end of the pitch, a break by Agbolahor ended up with Andreas Weimann volleying over from close range.

Another great Villa chance came and went before the Canaries hauled themselves back into the game. Joe Bennett was at fault -- the left back, already on a yellow card, wrapped his arms around Robert Snodgrass and dragged him down in the box. He was lucky to avoid a second yellow, but he did concede a penalty, and Grant Holt sent Brad Guzan the wrong way to make it 1-1.

From then on, a Norwich winner looked more likely than Villa reestablishing their lead, but the visitors' defence held out for long enough for Agbonlahor to deliver a second sucker punch. In the 90th minute, the 26-year-old ran onto an Ashley Westwood through ball and finished brilliantly to deliver a crucial three points in the relegation battle.

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