Aston Villa moved into 6th place in the Barclays Premier League with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over relegated Portsmouth at Frattan Park this afternoon to keep alive slim hopes of UEFA Champions League football, and further bolster their strong chance of a UEFA Europa League place.
Despite being bottom of the league by some margin – not all of which is related to points deductions – Portsmouth once again showed some moments of class in this match, not least by opening the scoring through Brown on ten minutes.
Villa equalised just six minutes later through John Carew after the same player had missed a simpler chance by firing over an empty net.
Carew would be culpable once more for Villa’s failure to secure a first half lead when he missed a penalty on 40 minutes after he was fouled by Papa Bouba Diop, though David James was at least required to make a smart save.
As it was, it took until the 82nd minute, and the introduction of two substitutes for the winner to materialise for Villa: substitute Heskey flicked a James Milner cross on for 19 year old replacement Delfouneso to hammer home the winner.
This goal proved to be the difference between the sides after an entertaining match – which could, and perhaps should, have featured four or five penalty kicks – and sees Villa retain their outside chance of a Champions League fourth place, though, as manager Martin O’Neill admits, they need to win every game to stand any sort of chance of this happening.
Portsmouth will have to wait for the FA Cup Final in May for any chance of joy from this otherwise disastrous season.