Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Aston Villa – Match Review

Robbie Keane came back to haunt former club Wolves as he scored a brace on his full Aston Villa debut to secure victory in a thrilling Midlands derby.

The on-loan LA Galaxy striker struck six minutes after half time to bring the game level at 2-2 after Michael Kightly and David Edwards had put the home side in front before half time after falling behind to an early Darren Bent penalty. Wolves had Karl Henry sent off with 15 minutes remaining before Keane popped up in the dying embers to secure a much needed victory for Alex McLeish’s side easing their relegation fears in the process and plunging the club, where he started his professional career, back towards danger. Mick McCarthy will have been pleased by his side’s performance in the first forty five minutes as they aimed to build on the point they picked up at title chasing Tottenham.

A bright start from the home side was undone after 11 minutes when Christophe Berra dawdled on the ball allowing Bent to dispossess him before bringing the Villa forward down in the penalty in an ill fated recovery effort. Bent took no prisoners from the spot beating Hennessey to put his side in front but from then on it was Wolves who carved out the most meaningful chances with on-loan Emmanuel Frimpong driving them on from midfield. Steven Fletchers snap shot was comfortably saved by Shay Given after Edwards’ appeals for a penalty were turned down by referee Michael Oliver after going down under pressure from James Collins. However the equaliser wasn’t long in coming as Frimpong did brilliantly to flick the ball over his head and find Kightly who proceeded to cut inside and curl the ball beyond Given. Just before the half hour Wanderers took the lead with Johnson flicking a Kightly corner on at the near post with Edwards on hand to head the ball home to send his side into the break with a well deserved lead.

The game opened up after the restart with Villa starting to threaten more than they did in the first half and they had Keane to thank for drawing them level. The Republic of Ireland striker had barely been involved in the first forty five minutes but showed that his sharpness has yet to desert him swivelling on Ciaran Clark’s cushioned knockdown to fire a dipping strike past Hennessey. Proceedings took a sour turn after that as Frimpong was stretchered off after he was caught in the face by Stiliyan Petrov following his attempts to meet a corner with a diving header. Referee Oliver held the game up for eight minutes to allow the on-loan Arsenal man to receive treatment and be stretchered off before sending off Henry after he kicked Marc Albrighton in the stomach as the Villa winger lay on the floor. Villa took full advantage of their numerical supremacy as Keane popped up again with five minutes remaining lashing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net to settle a pulsating encounter.