Aston Villa 2 Swansea 0: Lowton and Benteke lift hosts to first win of the season
16:47 GMT, 15 September 2012
Goals from newcomers Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke earned Aston Villa their first Barclays Premier League win under Paul Lambert – and ended Swansea's unbeaten start to the campaign.
Right-back Lowton broke the deadlock with a 20-yard first-half volley and substitute Benteke wrapped up the points with two minutes left.
It was another encouraging performance from a new-look Villa side being assembled by Lambert after their 1-1 draw at Newcastle.
Opening salvo: Matthew Lowton gave Villa an early lead
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Lichaj, Holman (N'Zogbia 78), El Ahmadi, Ireland (Westwood 69), Bannan, Weimann (Benteke 70), Bent. Unused subs: Given, Agbonlahor, Bowery, Bennett.
Goals: Lowton 16
Booked: Lowton, Clark, Lichaj
SWANSEA: Vorm, Rangel, Tate, Williams, Davies, Britton (Shechter 78), De Guzman, Michu, Dyer, Routledge (Hernandez 56), Graham (Moore 70). Unused subs: Tremmel, Sung-Yeung, Agustein, Richards.
Referee: Lee Mason
Lambert had promised to entertain and
this Villa side look more likely to create opportunities than the dour
football served up under former manager Alex McLeish.
Another newcomer in winger Brett
Holman caused problems but of equal encouragement was the solid look
about the back four in which keeper Brad Guzan and centre-back Ciaran
Clark were outstanding.
After a promising start, the Swans
seldom looked like adding to the 10 goals netted in their opening three
games despite the promptings of Jonathan De Guzman in midfield.
Villa started on the offensive and a shot on the turn from Andreas Weimann was blocked by Alan Tate.
But Swansea were soon into their stride and Clark produced two fine tackles to halt runs from Danny Graham and Nathan Dyer.
Mobbed: Villa players congratulate Lowton after giving them an 16th-minute lead
It needed two superb reflex saves in
the space of 60 seconds from Guzan, again preferred to Shay Given, to
prevent Swansea from breaking the deadlock.
First the United States
international reacted quickly to turn over a powerful close-range header
by Ashley Williams from a De Guzman corner.
Then Guzan went full length to finger-tip a dipping 20-yard drive from Dyer over the bar.
Villa retaliated and a superb strike from Lowton put them in front after 16 minutes.
Ben Davies was forced to concede a
corner after a good move involving Holman, Stephen Ireland and Darren
Bent. Barry Bannan's resulting cross was headed out by Williams but
Lowton brought the ball under control and volleyed an unstoppable shot
past Michel Vorm from just inside the area.
Clark became the first player to be yellow-carded after lunging in at Swansea defender Angel Rangel.
Lowton and Miguel Michu were also
cautioned for fouls on Ben Davies and Eric Lichaj respectively. Vorm
reacted sharply to turn aside a first time attempt from Andreas Weimann
after being set up by Bent.
But on the stroke of half-time
Graham failed to make contact with a low cross from Dyer with the goal
at his mercy after a late run into the danger area.
Swansea were having problems coping
with set pieces and a Bannan corner at the start of the second period
found its way to Clark at the far post and his shot struck the legs of
Leon Britton then headed a Weimann shot on the turn off the line after the visitors failed to deal with another Bannan centre.
Lambert was increasingly animated on
the touch-line reminiscent of the manager he calls 'gaffer' in former
Villa boss Martin O'Neill. Villa's 7million transfer deadline day
Eyes on the prize: Villa's Karim El Ahmadi (left) and Swansea's Michu (right) battle for the ball
Benteke, came on for Weimann and
instantly had a shot deflected wide. Bannan's corner again troubled the
Swans with Clark's header tipped over by Vorm.
Villa ended on top and Karim El Ahmadi was denied by Vorm before Benteke wrapped up the points.
On it's way: Lowton thumps home the first goal
Late show: Christian Benteke celebrates scoring his side's second goal two minutes from time
Williams headed back pass fell short
of Vorm and Benteke nipped in to lob the ball over the keeper before
applying the finishing touch.
No way through: Lowton (right) tangles with Wayne Routledge
Swans dive: Ashley Westwood (right) ghosts past Swansea's Pablo (left)