High-flying Milner guides Villa to third


ENGLAND hopefuls Emile Heskey and James Milner ensured Aston Villa moved up to third in the Premier League table after comfortable win at Sunderland.

Heskey broke the deadlock for the visitors on 24 minutes before Milner sealed an impressive win for Martin O’Neill’s side with a superb 25-yard strike after the break.

Stewart Downing and Ashley Young also hit the woodwork for Villa before Sunderland’s misery was compounded by the red card of Lorik Cana late on.

Villa’s midlands rivals Birmingham City also continued their fine run with a fifth consecutive Premier League victory over Blackburn, moving them up to sixth in the table.

Cameron Jerome was the Blues’ hero, scoring early in each half before Rovers hit back through captain Ryan Nelsen.

Christian Benitez then missed a sitter for the hosts but the Blues held on to continue their record run in the Premier League.

City boss Alex McLeish, however, was not getting carried away by his side’s recent upturn in form, admitting: “We need to keep our feet on the ground but we need to challenge the players in every game.”

There was more bad news for West Ham, however, who slumped to a 3-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Bolton in a game England keeper Rob Green would rather forget.

Chung-Yong Lee gave the Trotters a 64th minute lead after a one-two with Ivan Klasnic before Alessandro Diamanti levelled for the Hammers five minutes later.

Green then spilled a Gary Cahill shot in front of Klasnic for Bolton’s second before Cahill then nodded in at the far post to leave Gianfranco Zola’s men languishing second from bottom in the table.