Ashley Young’s goal in the third minute of injury time secured a 3-2 victory for Aston Villa over Everton in a dramatic English Premier League clash at Goodison Park on Sunday.
When Joleon Lescott struck in acrobatic style after the 90-minute mark to net his second goal of the game, it seemed as if Everton had done enough to earn a point.
But with just 12 seconds left, Young sped clear to finish in style as Villa went back to fifth in the table, while defeat saw Everton drop down to eighth.
“It’s a brilliant victory,” goal-hero Young told Sky Sports. “I had an opportunity in the second half that I should have taken, so to win the game at the death shows the character of the boys in our squad. We defended brilliantly today and it’s a brilliant feeling to get a goal at the death.”
Villa manager Martin O’Neill said: “I thought it was a wonderful game. Young’s done fantastically — it was a world-class performance by him.”
Everton manager David Moyes said his side should have come away with at least a point.
“The players didn’t deserve that,” the Scot said. “But there was a wee bit of disarray when we should have seen the game out. I’ve not seen the winner yet — but when we scored and kicked off I thought ‘this must be time up.’”
Steve Sidwell put Villa ahead with the fastest Premier League goal this season from a 25m shot after 31 seconds.
Lescott leveled on the half-hour mark, before Young restored Villa’s lead in the 54th minute.
The game was still in its infancy when a neat passing move involving Young, James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor ended with the ball coming to Sidwell, who struck a rising shot past Everton keeper Tim Howard.
Villa might have had a second when Laursen headed over from a corner and it needed a good tackle from Australia international midfielder Tim Cahill to deny Stiliyan Petrov.
But the hosts did get back into the game, with Villa keeper Brad Friedel forced to make good saves from Cahill and Marouane Fellaini. And David Moyes’ men had something to celebrate when Lescott scored from close range after Leon Osman had flicked-on a Mikel Arteta free-kick.
Everton gave O’Neill’s team further cause for concern early in the second half when Fellaini’s header was touched onto the bar by Friedel.
However, that pressure was lifted thanks to an extraordinary error by normally reliable Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
The full-back played a back-pass without first surveying the scene and the rapid Young raced on to the loose ball before shooting past a helpless Howard.
From then on the match entered a relatively quiet phase, with Villa content to play on the break and the Toffees unable to break them down.
It was only in the closing stages that Everton rallied to set up a spectacular finish. The Merseysiders drew level when Jagielka headed the ball into the box, Cahill touched on and Lescott volleyed past Friedel.
Several Villa players lay on the turf dejectedly, but there was still one more twist. From the kick-off the Midlands side attacked and, following a flick-on from Agbonlahor, Young outpaced the defense before shooting low past Howard to score his second and seal a remarkable win.
English Premier League