Tuesday 03 March 2015
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Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion - All the action from the Premier League encounter
Watch Online Full Match Replay - Full Match Replay
But Villa claimed their first Premier League victory since 7 December - 12 matches ago - when Benteke kept his nerve and coolly side-footed home a spot-kick in second-half injury time to earn his team a vital victory.
Sherwood had said in the build-up to the game that Villa would need to win six of their remaining 11 league fixtures to have any chance of avoiding relegation and after a slow start to proceedings where home nerves were there for all to see, his team took control of the contest.
Agbonlahor thought he had given Villa a 14th-minute lead, but after producing a clever turn in the area and getting a shot away which Foster somehow allowed to squirm under his body, the goalkeeper just managed to react in time to recover the situation before the whole of the ball had crossed all of the goal-line.
That near miss was soon forgotten though when eight minutes later Agbonlahor did open the scoring after some route-one football, not that the Villa faithful cared about how the goal came about.
Villa 'keeper Brad Guzan launched a back pass high up field before Benteke flicked the ball into the path of the onrushing Agbonlahor, who just beat the West Brom offside track before keeping his nerve to shoot low past Foster at his near post.
That strike understandably gave the Villa players a huge lift in confidence, and with the crowd roaring them on at their backs, the home team went in search of that crucial second goal before the break.
And Villa were desperately unlucky not to double their advantage, firstly when after another long clearance up field Agbonlahor found himself one on one with Foster, only for Joleon Lescott to just get back in time to clear the frontman’s shot off the line for the second time in the opening period.
Then in first-half injury time Fabian Delph twisted and turned on the left-hand edge of the West Brom box, only for the midfielder to see his curling effort beat Foster’s outstretched hand, but not the post.
However, Villa’s exertions in the opening 45 minutes soon began to catch up with them and as Sherwood may have feared as those first-half chances went begging, West Brom found themselves on level terms with their first effort on target after 66 minutes.
The visitors played a left-wing corner high to the back post where Lescott lost Agbonlahor and his flick back across goal was headed in by the ever-alert Berahino for his 12th league goal of the campaign.
Villa, though, were not to be denied as Sherwood urged his players forward in search of a winner, which came their way when Foster initially fumbled the ball and then when trying to make up for his mistake the England international brought down Matthew Lowton for a clear-cut penalty.
Benteke, who had not scored since netting against Manchester United on 20 December, took the spot-kick responsibilities with aplomb to easily beat Foster and send the Villa fans into delirium.