Keane returns to haunt Wolves
Robbie Keane proved to be the hero as his second-half brace for Aston Villa secured a sensational 3-2 victory against his former club Wolves.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 21/01/12 5:49pm
Robbie Keane proved to be the hero as his second-half brace for Aston Villa helped them secure a sensational 3-2 victory against his former club Wolves at Molineux.
Keane made his debut for Wolves more than 14 years ago and he returned to score twice and make sure manager Alex McLeish celebrated his 53rd birthday in style.
In a first half of unrelenting drama, Darren Bent opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just 11 minutes.
The striker was brought crashing down following a clumsy tackle by Christophe Berra and he picked himself up and dusted himself down to coolly slide home from 12 yards for his eighth goal of the season and his 99th top-flight goal.
However, Wolves showed plenty of bite and hit back ten minutes later as Michael Kightly teased and tormented Ciaran Clark before curling his left-foot shot into the far corner past Shay Given.
And the hosts soon took the lead in this see-saw encounter as Kightly's corner from the right was headed towards goal by big defender Roger Johnson and David Edwards was on hand to nod the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Six minutes into the second half, Villa restored parity and it was Keane on hand to turn home Ciaran Clark's neat header despite Wayne Hennessey's best efforts.
Wolves were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining as referee Michael Oliver issued a straight red card as Karl Henry kicked out needlessly at Marc Albrighton.
And Villa took full advantage of the extra man with six minutes remaining as the on-loan Los Angeles Galaxy striker bagged his 125th Premier League goal with a stunning winner.
Keane made defender Johnson pay for a poor headed clearance by lashing his long-range strike in off the crossbar from 25 yards out.
Villa have now taken 11 points from their last five away matches while Wolves remain embroiled in a relegation battle and are in the bottom three after their sequence without a league win was extended to eight games.
Villa started promisingly and should have gone ahead in the first minute.
Clark delivered a telling cross from the left of the Wolves box and Gary Gardner found himself unmarked at the far post but headed wide.
Villa keeper Shay Given had to be alert to cling on to a low drive from Steve Fletcher after Wolves' nine-goal top scorer had seized on a low cross from Edwards.
But after 10 minutes Bent scored from the penalty spot to put Villa ahead.
Wolves could have no complaints as the England striker was chopped down inside the box by Berra. Up stepped Bent to send Hennessey the wrong way from the spot.
Villa were looking the more threatening and Johnson blocked a fierce drive from Gardner at the expense of a corner.
But after 21 minutes the lively Kightly brought Wolves level. Emmanuel Frimpong showed some neat skill before finding Kightly on the right and he cut inside before beating Given with a low drive into the far corner.
Wolves were now in the ascendancy and Albrighton was forced to head a shot from Henry off the line.
Matt Jarvis then teed up Edwards in plenty of space near the Villa penalty spot but he powered his low drive straight at Given.
It came as no surprise when Wolves went ahead after 31 minutes through Edwards with Villa again vulnerable at a set-piece.
Kightly's corner was met by Johnson's powerful header and Edwards got in front of Given to head the ball into the roof of the net.
McLeish made a half-time substitution with Gabriel Agbonlahor making way for Stephen Warnock who slotted in at left-back which allowed Clark to move into midfield.
After 52 minutes Keane brought Villa level. Jarvis' clearance fell straight to Clark who headed the ball down for Keane who swivelled and drilled a low shot past Hennessey into the corner of the net.
Wolves were forced into a change when Frimpong was accidentally caught in the face by Petrov when attacking a Kightly corner.
There was a lengthy delay before the on-loan Arsenal midfielder was stretchered off with his neck in a brace and replaced by Nenad Milijas.
Villa were galvanised by their equaliser and Hennessey had to save from his own defender when Stephen Ward connected with a Bent cross.
Albrighton made a 50-yard run and was only just too high with a 20-yard effort, while at the other end a Jarvis cross was just too high for Kightly who could not control his header.
Wolves were reduced to 10 men after 75 minutes when Henry kicked out at Albrighton when on the ground and was given a straight red card.
The former captain will miss the games with QPR, Liverpool and West Brom while serving a three-game ban.
Villa made their numerical advantage count when Keane scored a superb winner in the 84th minute.
Alan Hutton's cross was only half cleared to Keane, whose fierce 20-yard drive flew past Hennessey into the top corner of the net.