Villa new boy Rudy Gestede scores winner on his league debut against Bournemouth
Rudy Gestede scored 13 minutes into his Aston Villa debut to secure a 1-0 victory at newly-promoted Bournemouth.
The 6ft 4ins striker, a £6million summer arrival from Blackburn, thumped home a header from an Ashley Westwood corner after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Bournemouth, making their first top-flight appearance in English football, dominated for large spells but spurned a number of good opportunities against a largely lacklustre Villa side.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe kept faith with the team which earned his side promotion to the big time with Josh King, a free signing from Blackburn, and goalkeeper Artur Bortuc the only fresh faces in his line-up. Veteran defender Sylvain Distin had to make do with a place on the bench.
For Aston Villa, without captain Fabian Delph, now of Manchester City, and Christian Benteke, who joined Liverpool in a £32.5milllion deal, boss Tim Sherwood blooded six new signings.
Micah Richards, the club's new captain, partnered Ciaran Clark in the heart of Villa's defence while Idrissa Gueye and Scott Sinclair, now a permanent player following his loan spell from Manchester City, also started for the visitors. Jordan Veretout, Jordan Amavi and Jordan Ayew were also handed their Villa bows.
Bournemouth emerged to Queen anthem 'We Will Rock You' in this most historic of matches, and the hosts did not let their supporters down, dominating the opening 45 minutes.
Sherwood, with his sleeves rolled up and marauding the touchline looked ready for battle, but his players appeared more suited for an afternoon on the beach - a stone's throw from the Vitality Stadium.
The visitors were sloppy in possession and failed to carry any threat going forward. Indeed Gabby Agbonlahor, leading the line in Benteke's absence touched the ball on just four occasions in the opening 30 minutes.
Bournemouth had three good chances to open their Barclays Premier League account and complete a remarkable fairytale story.
The first fell to Dan Gosling with just nine minutes of the half remaining. Richards, in an otherwise impressive debut, was caught on the ball, but Gosling blazed over from 10 yards.
Andrew Surman's long ball then fell to Callum Wilson on the right flank, but one-on-one with Brad Guzan he fired his shot straight at the Villa stopper's legs.
With referee Mark Clattenburg about to blow for half-time, Simon Francis headed down to Marc Pugh, but his effort from six yards was straight at Guzan.
Sherwood would have been relieved to get his players in the dressing room.
And not long after the re-start, the visitors finally called Boruc into action when Agbonlahor cut back for Ayew but his shot was well saved.
With an hour gone Sherwood handed Gestede his debut and he immediately caused the hosts problems.
And with 72 minutes gone he provided the game's defining moment. From Westwood's corner, the giant striker leaped highest to break Bournemouth hearts.
Bournemouth searched for an equaliser but the visitors, inspired by Richards, stood their ground to seal the win.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Gestede, Prime Minister. Your new favourite player is called Gestede. Ge-ste-de." "Excellent. And who does he play for?" - Political sketch writer Michael Deacon gives David Cameron a reminder that his favourite team won and have a new striker.
Artur Boruc: 6 (out of 10)
Simon Francis: 7
Steve Cook: 6
Dan Gosling: 6
Tommy Elphick: 6
Andrew Surman: 6
Marc Pugh: 7
Charlie Daniels: 6
Callum WIlson: 6
Joshua King: 7
Matt Ritchie: 8
Yann Kermorgant: 6
Max Gradel: 6
Eunan O'Kane: 6
Brad Guzan: 6
Micah Richards: 8
Ciaran Clarke: 6
Leo Bacuna: 5
Idrissa Gueye: 6
Scott Sinclair: 7
Gabby Agbonlahor: 6
Ashley Westwood: 5
Jordan Veretout: 6
Jodran Amavi: 6
Jordan Ayew: 5
Rudy Gestede: 7
Carlos Sanchez: 6
Kieran Richardson: 6
Micah Richards: Was handed the armband by Tim Sherwood and the former Manchester City defender did not disappoint. Led by example from the back, and, on this evidence, his displays will be crucial to Villa's progress this season.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Kick-off: The players were greeted on to the pitch with fire and a huge roar from the 11,000 fans crammed into this most compact of Premier League grounds. While the football itself failed to ignite, Bournemouth's entrance into the Premier League will be one nobody here will forget.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Tim Sherwood cut an animated figure throughout the match, spending most of the game with arms crossed or on his hips. But his decision to hand Rudy Gestede his debut on the hour mark proved to be an inspired one.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Sun, sand and an historic first match in the Premier League for Bournemouth. It would be wrong of me to find anything at fault here. OK, the wifi was not great. How is that?
WHO'S UP NEXT
Liverpool v Bournemouth (Premier League, Saturday August 15)
Aston Villa v Manchester United (Premier League, Friday August 14)