Agbonlahor grabs late winner for Villa

The Aston Villa striker scores the only goal to settle a scrappy derby against Birmingham at St Andrew's.

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Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the only goal to settle a scrappy derby against Birmingham at St Andrew's. Agbonlahor struck with six minutes remaining to lift Martin O'Neill's side into sixth place in the Premier League. City had dominated for much of the second half but failed to create anything of note to trouble the Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel and they paid for their lacklustre display when Agbonlahor pounced to score from close range.

It was the visitors who had the first real chance to get on the scoresheet when Agbonlahor slipped the ball to James Milner inside the penalty area. But the Villa midfielder wanted too much time and his right-foot shot was well wide. City bounced back immediately and Villa were forced into some desperate defending as shots from Gary O'Connor and Sebastien Larsson were blocked. City's first real opening arrived on the half-hour when a neat flick-on by O'Connor put Lee Bowyer in the clear. The City midfielder tested Friedel in the Villa goal with a stinging right-foot drive that the American keeper did will to punch to safety.

City replaced James McFadden with Lee Carsley at the start of the second half and he tested Friedel with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area. In the 77th minute Stephen Warnock's cross found Steve Sidwell at the far post but his header was straight into the arms of City keeper Joe Hart. Three minutes later Milner sent a right-foot shot towards the bottom corner from 20 yards but Hart managed to dive low to his left to keep it out.

But the deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute when Ashley Young's free-kick was nodded back by the substitute John Carew for Agbonlahor to apply the necessary finish from close range. * With agencies