Aston Villa crawled out of the Premier League relegation zone by coming from behind to beat Reading 2-1 on Saturday, while bottom club Queens Park Rangers gave themselves further hope with a 3-1 defeat of Sunderland.
Villa had won just one of their previous 11 league games and went into the weekend in the bottom three, but they took the game to relegation rivals Reading from kick-off at the Madejski Stadium.
However, Reading took the lead against the run of play in the 32nd minute through one of the most comical own-goals of the season.
There was little danger in Jobi McAnuff’s low cross from the left, but Villa defender Nathan Baker horribly sliced his attempted clearance and sent the ball spinning into his own net.
Fortunately for Baker, Villa equalized immediately, with Andreas Weimann teeing up Christian Benteke to beat Stuart Taylor via a deflection off Stephen Kelly.
Gabriel Agbonlahor completed the turnaround in the 45th minute.
Reading remain second from bottom, while Villa move out of the bottom three at the expense of Wigan Athletic.
QPR stayed bottom, four points from safety, despite overcoming Sunderland to record consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Steven Fletcher put Sunderland ahead after 20 minutes at Loftus Road, dispatching Adam Johnson’s drilled cross after a counter-attack led by Stephane Sessegnon.
However, Loic Remy’s calm finish drew QPR level in the 30th minute and Andros Townsend put the hosts in front 20 minutes from time with a glorious half-volley that dipped into the top-left corner. Jermaine Jenas got on the score-sheet in the 90th minute to secure victory.
QPR finished the day level on points and goal difference with Reading, who remain above their relegation rivals on goals scored.
West Bromwich Albion came from behind to win 2-1 at home to League Cup winners Swansea City, allowing Steve Clarke’s side to leapfrog their opponents into seventh place.
Meanwhile, at a sleet-strewn Carrow Road, Artur Boruc saved an injury-time penalty from Grant Holt to earn Southampton a goalless draw away to Norwich City.