Scroll above left to Photostream for match photos; click on the statistics tab for match stats: manager reaction below.
Aston Villa moved one step closer towards Barclays Premier League survival as a Gabriel Agbonlahor double secured a dramatic 2-1 win at Norwich City. The striker pounced twice in the second half to win a tense game, and give Villa's hopes of staying up a huge boost.
The stalemate continued until the break, but it did not take long for the visitors to take the lead in the second half, Agbonlahor netting his eighth goal of the season on 53 minutes with a spectacular solo effort as he ran from the halfway line before firing a powerful effort past Mark Bunn and into the bottom corner.
Norwich almost responded six minutes later, Wes Hoolahan heading wide from another Javier Garrido cross with Russell Martin better positioned to latch on to the delivery. Villa continued to attack with confidence despite that scare and twice went close to adding a second, Andreas Weimann prodding over from an Agbonlahor cross on 62 minutes before Fabian Delph curled over soon after.
Agbonlahor was at the centre of everything for the visitors and went close again, hitting a close-range effort just wide of the far post after connecting to a flick-on from Christian Benteke.
Yet for all the effort Lambert's charges demonstrated going forward, they were undone as Grant Holt levelled from the penalty spot on 74 minutes after Joe Bennett was adjudged to have hauled down Robert Snodgrass just inside the area.
Norwich continued in the ascendancy following that goal and their best chance to take the points fell to Holt after 86 minutes, as he volleyed wide after controlling a flicked header from substitute Kei Kamara.
It was Villa who would have the final say, though, when Agbonlahor raced on to an Ashley Westwood through-ball in the last minute of normal time and slotted a cool finish under Bunn and into the bottom corner.
Holt headed wide in the final seconds of injury time as Norwich pressed for an equaliser, but Villa stood strong to earn a win that puts Lambert's side on the brink of safety.
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "I'm annoyed and frustrated because there was no way we should have lost or deserved to lose. We were the better side over 90 minutes but Villa have pace on the counter-attack and we have conceded two poor goals today.
"Next week's game against West Brom becomes a bigger game. We will need a better performance but we can't concede the goals we conceded today and expect to win football matches."
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "Our effort after playing on Monday night was outstanding. All credit to the team. We hung on and in the second half it could have been more.
"Gabby Agbonlahor has been playing excellently for us, he has the speed to hurt teams and power as well.
"We have to keep going but it's another huge, huge win. I knew how much effort we put into that game and some of the football was excellent at times."
|12 May 2013||v West Brom (H)|
|19 May 2013||v Man City (A)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Norwich (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Norwich (H)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Norwich (H)|