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Ngog winner drags Villa into the relegation dogfight

Situation critical for Alex McLeish after a shattering defeat that ensures the Aston Villa boss has etched his name into the club's record books for the wrong reasons.

McLeish is guaranteed the worst home record in the club's history after David Ngog's goal eased the hands of relegation from around the throat of Owen Coyle and increased Villa's growing fears of dropping out of the Premier League.

Bolton remain under the dotted line but this win lifts them to within three points of Villa and, crucially, with a game in hand as they displayed the qualities that seem impossible for McLeish's players to display at the business end of the season. McLeish is now facing the bitter prospect of a second successive relegation on his CV.

Whatever happens in their final home game of the season against Tottenham, Villa will fall short of the six home wins achieved in one campaign by predecessors Brian Little and David O'Leary. Saturday's trip to West Brom suddenly takes on even greater significance.

Villa took the lead when the much maligned Charles N'Zogbia danced down the right to present Stephen Warnock with an easy finish.

The lead lasted barely a minute. Alan Hutton's reckless challenge on Mark Davies gave Chris Foy one of the easiest decisions he will make this season and Petrov dispatched from the spot.

Villa were only just recovering when they fell behind. Eagles cut inside the area, inviting another rash challenge, and pulled the ball back to Ngog who could not miss. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent