Aston Villa 1 Portsmouth 0

Last updated : 04 March 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Aston Villa's fans enjoyed a rare luxury - a home win. It was Villa's first home success since their 4-0 win over Everton on Boxing Day.

They were indebted to Milan Baros for their belated victory following his easy 35th minute goal to take his tally for the season to ten.

But the Czech Republic international could not add to this total against struggling Portsmouth who are seemingly doomed to relegation on this latest performance.

Villa's performance was in keeping with recent inconsistent home displays and it was fortunate that they faced such a struggling team as Pompey.

It was only their fourth home win in 14 games at Villa Park this season and that statistic tells a true story of their form.

Villa's attacking play was primarily associated with the partnership between Steven Davis and Kevin Phillips as they were the only players to pressurise Portsmouth in the opening half hour.

It was the talented Davis who set up Phillips for Villa's first chance when the former England striker found himself one on one with goalkeeper Dean Kiely.

The veteran keeper bravely dashed from his goal to block Phillips' effort as Villa were seemingly in little trouble against the recently rebuilt Portsmouth side.

James Milner, who made a quiet opening, suddenly popped up to lash a cross-shot just wide as Portsmouth appeared to be there for the taking.

Portsmouth's only response was a rising shot from skipper Gary O'Neil who saw his effort flicked over the bar by Thomas Sorensen.

Phillips broke loose again when he collected a long pass from skipper Gareth Barry but he saw his effort hit the wrong side of the post.

Both teams struggled to get into gear and Portsmouth wasted a glorious opportunity to take advantage of Villa's make-shift defence which lacked both skipper Olof Mellberg and Mark Delaney.

Villa suffered a further setback when JLloyd Samuel limped out of the game to be replaced by Ulises De La Cruz after 23 minutes.

The stalemate was finally broken in the 35th minute when Baros, later replaced by Luke Moore, scored his tenth goal of the season.

Portsmouth's defence was not even ball watching as Milner's free-kick from the left was allowed to go to the far post where the unmarked Baros was able to head home without any trouble.

Redknapp's rebuilt side, which has only won twice in 13 league games since his return to Fratton Park, rarely looked capable of creating an upset as they took another step towards the relegation trap-door.

Lomano LuaLua sadly lacked support and the striker deserved better for his lone battles with Villa's defence. He often displayed flashes of danger but they lacked conviction against a Villa side which itself struggled to put the match out of Portsmouth's reach.

Skipper O'Neil was the only Portsmouth player to put in any serious goal attempts but Villa had little trouble surviving to win a rare home game.