Hennessey howler the toast of Villa

Match winner Joleon Lescott celebrating Aston Villa's 19-match winless streak coming to an end. Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey had mishandled his header.
Match winner Joleon Lescott celebrating Aston Villa's 19-match winless streak coming to an end. Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey had mishandled his header.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • It has been a long time coming - 158 days to be exact - but the wait is finally over for Aston Villa, who remembered what it feels like to win a Premier League match.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey gave them more than a helping hand, allowing Joleon Lescott's 58th-minute header to squirm through his grasp for the only goal of the Tuesday night game.

By giving Remi Garde his first win as manager at the 11th attempt, the defender went some way towards repairing the damage he did to his reputation in ugly scenes four days earlier.

He was allegedly involved in a foul-mouthed altercation with Villa supporters in a 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup third round.

Incredibly, it is the first time Villa have won at home in the league in eight months, stretching back to the time when Tim Sherwood was in charge.

Despite snapping their 19-game winless run, they remain eight points adrift of safety with 17 games remaining and still require a minor miracle to avoid relegation.

"But let's say this victory could give us a little bit more confidence. But it's not just the win," Frenchman Garde, who took over from Sherwood in November, told reporters.

"I want to insist that the way we played tonight, I didn't see a bottom-of-the-table side.

"We have to stay very humble. It's only three points. We are still far away from what we all want."

Palace manager Alan Pardew described his side's performance as a "disjointed offensive display". Wilfried Zaha's first-minute strike against the post and Damien Delaney's first-half volley were the only chances of note for the London side, who have not scored in their last four league games.

"It's difficult to give my thoughts really. The lack of offensive power going forward is becoming a problem. It really was a disjointed offensive display," Pardew said.

"We have to acknowledge that our quality, our game plan didn't come to light in the first half and it didn't come to light in the second half, so we've got some work to do."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Hennessey howler the toast of Villa'. Print Edition | Subscribe