Aston Villa 2 Charlton 0

Last updated : 12 September 2002 By David Robson

It was no more than Villa deserved with a drastically reshaped team and new formation after the first four games of the season had produced only one goal and three points.

Jlloyd Samuel and De la Cruz made plenty of positive runs down both flanks and record signing Juan Pablo Angel was always a handful for the Charlton defence. The visitors were indebted to some fine saves from Dean Kiely for keeping them in the hunt although they may reflect on a glaring miss by Luke Young at 1-0. Taylor made five changes from the side beaten at Bolton with Lee Hendrie, Alan Wright, Peter Crouch, the injured Darius Vassell and Mark Delaney making way for Alpay, Marcus Allback, de la Cruz, Samuel and Ronny Johnsen.

The Villa chief also reverted to a 3-5-2 formation with debutant Johnsen operating just in front of the defence - the first time such a system had been employed since the days of John Gregory. Charlton keeper Kiely had to react quickly in the eighth minute to turn a low effort around the post from Angel after Samuel picked him out just inside the penalty area.

Kiely then mistimed his clearance after charging out of his area and the ball broke straight to de la Cruz, but after cutting inside he was not positive enough and John Fortune was able to block his tame shot. Midfielder Mark Kinsella was looking to score against his former team-mates and he screwed a first time shot across the face of goal after Gareth Barry had laid a pass from Steve Staunton into his path.

Charlton showed some neat approach work but it was 35 minutes before Peter Enckelman was called into meaningful action to deny Claus Jensen after he had linked up well with Mathias Svensson and Jason Euell. This seemed to briefly spark Villa into action and Kiely again proved his worth to parry away a header from Staunton following an inswinging free-kick from Barry.

Villa enjoyed the bulk of the possession at the start of the second half but there was precious little to enthuse about as Charlton coped quite comfortably and referee Graham Poll was also too whistle happy.

A corner to the near post found Staunton who got in a flick header but the ball ricocheted into the hands of a relieved Kiely who then turned a glancing header from Angel around the post. But he was finally beaten after 70 minutes through the determination of de la Cruz. He cut in from the right and forced his way between two defenders before toe-poking past Kiely from eight yards out. With six minutes left Moore made sure of the points as he clipped the ball wide of Rufus and then steered it past Kiely into the corner of the net.

Editors Opinion

I didnt think we would get anything here. We dont have a great record at Villa Park since the famous 4-3 victory in our first season in the Premier League. To Villa's credit they made alot of changes and had a great performance. We looked poor but i didnt think we could win so it wasnt a suprise. Arsenal next at home which could go two ways - A big win for Arsenal like last season or a suprise win for us. I cant see a 0-0 draw on saturday.