Young's early strike is enough for Villa

Luke Young scored his first goal for nearly two years to earn Aston Villa victory over Everton and boost the chances of Kevin MacDonald.

BIRMINGHAM // Luke Young scored his first goal for nearly two years to earn Aston Villa victory over Everton and boost the chances of Kevin MacDonald, the caretaker boss, becoming Martin O'Neill's successor. The former England defender, who rejected a move to Liverpool earlier this month, dealt a blow to the other side of Merseyside with his ninth-minute winner. It was Villa's second league win under MacDonald as they bounced back from their Europa League exit at the hands of Rapid Vienna.

Villa had leaked nine goals in their previous two matches, include a 6-0 mauling by Newcastle at St James' Park. But they managed to hold on for a clean sheet despite being on the defensive for lengthy periods. Everton dominated for lengthy spells in terms of possession with Mikel Arteta pulling the strings in the middle of the park. But they lacked a cutting edge until Louis Saha was brought on early in the second period.

It means Everton are still searching for their first win of the campaign and have collected only one point from a possible nine. Luke Young's winner was only his second goal for the club since his move from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2008. John Carew headed the ball into the path of Ashley Young who held the ball up before releasing Luke Young. He kept his nerve before driving a left-footed shot wide of Tim Howard, the Everton goalkeeper.

Everton piled on the pressure, but found the Villa defence in good form. Arteta, Saha and Phil Jagielka went closest for the Merseyside club, while Carew and Ashley Young both were denied by Howard in the closing stages as Villa looked to make victory more comfortable. * Associated Press

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