Sport Soccer

Friday 17 November 2017

Young strike gives reprieve to 'undecided' Villa caretaker MacDonald

Aston Villa 1
Everton 0

Phil Shaw

Fabio Capello's ground-hopping tour yesterday took in Villa Park, where he saw a consummate finish by an Englishman decide the contest in Aston Villa's favour, despite Everton having won 18 corners to their four, hogged nearly 70pc of possession and laid siege to Villa's goal at the death.

Unfortunately for Capello -- though happily for Villa, who climbed to fourth in the embryonic table -- the scorer was a right-back, Luke Young, who announced his retirement from a seven-cap England career last year.

His early goal was only his second for the club but, allied to a clean sheet that owed much to Brad Friedel's agile defiance, it may just have earned caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald the job on a full-time basis. If he wants it, that is. MacDonald said afterwards that he had still not decided whether he wanted to be considered.

"Twenty minutes after a game like that isn't the time to make a decision," the 49-year-old Scot said. "(Owner) Randy Lerner told me to enjoy the evening and said we may talk on Monday. But I still don't know whether it's for me or not."

Stress

David Moyes -- who MacDonald said had asked about his "stress levels" -- was left scratching his head after his team's record at Villa Park worsened to 23 games with only one victory. They are without a win in three matches, their worst start since 1999. "From the first minute to the last we were in control," the Everton manager said. "We have to give Villa credit for the way they defended, but we just can't get the ball in the net."

Luke Young's moment of catharsis, after long periods of being out of favour with Martin O'Neill, arrived in the ninth minute. Marouane Fellaini lost possession, allowing Ashley Young to caress a pass into his namesake's galloping stride. A fine, curling shot from 12 yards nestled high in the net.

Once behind, Everton dominated possession to an almost embarrassing extent. Arteta forced a fine save from Brad Friedel with a long-range free-kick, but the Villa goalkeeper was a spectator in the 18th minute when Steven Pienaar's angled shot sailed past him and thudded against the bar.

Villa, who had lost new signing Stephen Ireland to a hamstring strain during the warm-up, forced a fine double-save from Tim Howard on the hour through shots by John Carew and Ashley Young.

Substitute Louis Saha tested Friedel and Jack Rodwell's header from an Arteta free-kick drifted inches past the far post. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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