Alan Hutton scored his first Aston Villa goal as they came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 in the Barclays Premier League.
Leonardo Ulloa had given Leicester the lead at Villa Park on Sunday, but Ciaran Clark's first Barclays Premier League goal since September 2012 quickly levelled proceedings. The turnaround was completed by another unlikely scorer in Hutton, who had not registered a goal since playing for Tottenham Hotspur in November 2010, before Leicester’s task got more difficult when Paul Konchesky was sent off with 10 minutes remaining.
Leicester struck the first blow when Ulloa capitalised on Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan being unable to hold a shot for his first goal since September. Clark took advantage of slack Leicester defending to level the match before the break and full-back Hutton kept his cool with the winner in 71st minute.
Villa have won back-to-back matches in the top flight and climb to 11th after their first home win since August, while Leicester have failed to win in 10 matches and are bottom of the table.
The home side started on the front foot, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Riyad Mahrez jinked his way in from the right and hit a shot that took a deflection off Clark. That deflection wrong-footed Guzan and the American could only push the ball into the path of Ulloa, who tapped home the rebound to end a nine-match goal drought.
The lead lasted just four minutes as the unmarked Clark stooped low to head Ashley Westwood's free-kick past Kasper Schmeichel. The hosts were dealt a blow before half-time when Westwood was carried off after a foul by Jamie Vardy, who received a yellow card. Leicester also made a change at the break with Ulloa coming off for David Nugent after failing to shake off an injury sustained in a strong challenge from Clark.
Villa created the better chances after the restart and Schmeichel did well to race off his line and force Benteke's shot to loop wide after the Belgium forward had latched onto Keiran Richardson's through-ball. Nugent almost put Leicester ahead against the run of play in the 68th minute with a volley bound for the net until Guzan denied him with a fine save.
Villa moved ahead with just under 20 minutes remaining when Benteke's crossfield pass picked out Hutton's run into the area down the right and the Scot slotted past Schmeichel at the near post.
Benteke was twice denied by point-blank saves by Schmeichel as Villa turned the screw, before Leicester's hopes of an equaliser dipped when Konchesky saw red after an altercation with Hutton 11 minutes from time.
Hutton was cautioned for his reaction and Villa had to hold firm to withstand some late pressure, with Leicester substitute Chris Wood coming closest with a stinging half-volley from the edge of the box that went wide.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "Alan [Hutton] is at the top of his game right now. I've said from the very start of the season, he's come into the team and looked great and he's never moaned or anything - he's a top class professional. For me, he's playing like the best right-back in the country at the moment.
"It was a brilliant goal, he gives you the strength he's up and down. He's a fit lad, but he's a brilliant footballer as well."
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson: "There is no point me worrying. Of course I am a proud man, I want to stay in charge but there is no point allowing those added pressures to affect how I am doing my job. We have the players we have, I still have a lot of belief in them and likewise they are behind the staff.
"Football remains a business in which margins are small and let us face it most managers in this game, and certainly this division, have felt the heat in terms of pressure to get results. I am being rational about the situation we are in and being prepared to continue to work through what is a difficult time.
"It is how you deal with adversity that probably is the most important thing and defining thing."
|20 Dec 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|13 Dec 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|28 Dec 2014||v Sunderland (H)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|10 Jan 2015||v Leicester (A)|