Sunday Times

Villa repel Forest fightback for 4-2 victory


● Aston Villa held off a spirited comeback attempt from Nottingham Forest to secure a 4-2 Premier league home win yesterday, with Douglas Luiz netting twice and striker Ollie Watkins and winger Leon Bailey setting each other up to score.

Jamaican Bailey looked lively from the start and he teed up Watkins in the fourth minute, sliding a perfect pass through the legs of a defender for a simple close-range finish.

Villa enjoyed great success attacking down Forest’s left flank, and in the 29th minute they doubled their advantage as Jacob Ramsey pulled the ball back for Luiz to fire home his eighth league goal of the season. Luiz was on target again 10 minutes later, heading home a perfect cross from John McGinn, but a goal from a corner chested home in the fifth minute of stoppage time by defender Moussa Niakhate gave the visitors a lifeline.

Morgan Gibbs-White pulled another one back for Forest three minutes after the break to silence the home crowd, but their faith was quickly restored when Youri Tielemans hit the post and Villa began to reassert their dominance.

Bailey restored their two-goal cushion eight minutes later, reacting first to a deflected effort from Watkins to slot home from close range. Forest battled hard but only

managed one more shot on target, and Watkins could have netted his second with a late strike that flew high and wide.

Villa stayed fourth in the table on 52 points, three behind Arsenal. Forest are 16th on 24 points, four above the relegation zone.

At Old Trafford, Alex Iwobi scored deep in stoppage time as Fulham shocked sub-par Manchester United 2-1, the London side’s first win at the venue since 2003.

United, who lost for the first time in six league matches, are sixth in the table on 44 points, eight behind fourth-placed Aston Villa. Fulham are 12th on 32 points.

Fulham struck first when Calvin Bassey scored in the 65th minute, firing his own rebound into the roof of the net. United defender Harry Maguire equalised in the 89th minute and the home team looked poised to salvage at least a point.

But Iwobi, who earlier squandered two good chances, swept a shot past Andre Onana into the bottom corner of the net in the 97th minute following a counteratt­ack to leave the home fans shell-shocked.

In another game, Lewis Dunk scored in the 95th minute to cancel out Jarrad Branthwait­e’s opener for Everton, as hosts Brighton & Hove Albion rescued a deserved point in a 1-1 draw.

Dunk headed home from a cross into the box, planting the ball in the far corner and out of the reach of a diving Jordan Pickford, denying Everton what would have been a precious three points in their fight against relegation.

Everton took the lead on 73 minutes in their tried-and-trusted way with their 15th set-piece strike of the season. A deep freekick from Pickford was only half-cleared by Brighton, and when the ball fell to Branthwait­e, he lashed it into the back of the net from 18 yards.

Everton stay in 17th place in the table with 21 points from 26 games, one clear of Luton Town, who have a game in hand, in the relegation zone. Brighton are in seventh with 39 points, also from 26 matches.

 ?? Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images ?? Fulham’s Sasa Lukic misses a chance during the Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester yesterday.
Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images Fulham’s Sasa Lukic misses a chance during the Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester yesterday.
 ?? ?? Alex Iwobi of Fulham.
Alex Iwobi of Fulham.

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