Aston Villa 4 Everton 0

Last updated : 26 December 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Mark Delaney dropped a bombshell last week when he requested a transfer but responded with his best performance of the season and only his second goal in seven years in the Premiership as Aston Villa swept Everton aside.

The Wales international has become disenchanted by Villa's reluctance to take up the option of a new contract and feels his future lies away from Villa Park with Blackburn a likely destination.

Villa boss David O'Leary may have second thoughts about Delaney after the Midlands club chalked up only their sixth home win of the year to ease the relegation fears around Villa Park.

It was a well-earned success for Villa over a struggling Everton side that really does appear to be in serious trouble.

Poor Everton were not assisted by a couple of poor decisions by Leeds referee Mike Riley which enabled Villa to take the lead through Milan Baros in the 25th minute and eventually slumped to their third successive defeat.

Baros later added a second goal with Juan Pablo Angel getting on the scoresheet to the relief of O'Leary.

Naturally Villa are hoping this comfortable win will have extricated them from their previous plight but it will not be until after the hectic holiday period that any further judgement can be made.

It was an adequate performance from Villa and they were often indebted to some sterling defensive work from Delaney.

Everton desperately need to be rejuvenated but they could make little impact at Villa Park with every sign of them continuing to struggle over the holiday period.

Dismay and anguish were the order of the day in a relegation battle in which both teams were seemingly equally matched for much of the early part of the game.

Often there was frenzied eagerness from both teams but little finishing power until the Baros incident.

Baros was energetic but wasted a couple of decent chances until the Czech international finally provided the stimulation and inspiration with his 25th minute goal.

On this occasion Villa, who have bitterly complained in the past about not enjoying much luck, had a double dose of good fortune to the utter dismay of Everton.

Liam Ridgewell, who has a reputation this season for handling in the penalty area, appeared to knock the ball into the path of Gareth Barry only a few yards away from the Everton goal.

The Villa skipper chipped a short cross which Baros appeared to handle before he flicked the ball into the far corner for only his third Premiership goal for Villa.

James Beattie, who turned down a close-season opportunity to link up with Villa, led Everton's line with passion. His best chance in the first period occurred in the 18th minute when the former Southampton striker headed just over the bar.

But Villa wrapped up the game three minutes into the second half when Delaney headed home at the near post following a left-wing corner from James Milner.

Simon Davies nearly pulled back a goal only to see his effort blocked by Thomas Sorensen, who kept only his fourth clean sheet of the season.

In a late flourish substitute Angel grabbed only his second goal of the season when he finished off an inter-passing movement with Baros.

Two minutes later Baros was on the mark for the second time to easily convert a long cross from Eirik Bakke against a completely demoralised Everton side.