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Villa tops Reading to climb out of bottom three

Reading, England (Sports Network) - Aston Villa hauled itself out of the relegation places on Saturday with a 2-1 win over fellow relegation strugglers Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

A terrible own goal from Villa's Nathan Baker put the Royals on top, but Villa netted two goals in the span of 12 minutes before the break as Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor both found the net.

The victory takes Villa three points clear of the drop zone, while Reading remains in 19th place and is now four points from safety.

Benteke almost put the visitors ahead after 12 minutes when his header struck the crossbar as both sides came out attacking.

But it was Reading that seized the lead in the 32nd minute through a horrible error as Hope Akpan's flick was scuffed into his own net by Baker, who should have easily cleared the ball to safety.

Villa had a response within two minutes as Andreas Weimann pulled the ball back to Benteke near the penalty spot and his shot took a deflection on its way past goalkeeper Stuart Taylor.

Barry Bannan had a big hand in Villa taking the lead just before the break when he redirected a shot off the post that Taylor parried into the path of Agbonlahor, who calmly smashed it home from 10 yards.

Reading pressed forward in the second half but Villa netminder Brad Guzan was never seriously threatened.

QPR 3, Sunderland 1

London, England - QPR's survival hopes got another boost on Saturday as the club secured a 3-1 home win against Sunderland to move to within four points of safety.

Steven Fletcher's opener after 20 minutes had the Black Cats in front, but QPR answered through Loic Remy, who had a long-range effort from Andros Townsend deflected into his path, allowing the Frenchman to slot home the equalizer.

The contest remained level until the 70th minute when a wonderful strike on the half-volley from Townsend separated the sides.

Jose Bosingwa went close for QPR with a free kick, but substitute Jermaine Jenas wrapped up the club's second win in a row with an equally impressive strike from outside the penalty area that gives QPR plenty of life ahead of a nervy final stretch.

West Bromwich 2, Swansea City 1

West Bromwich, England - West Bromwich continued its push for a European place on Saturday with a 2-1 home victory against Swansea City.

The two sides entered the match level on 40 points, but it was Swansea that got off the mark first as Luke Moore darted in front of his defender to head home Jonathan De Guzman's corner kick.

West Brom was back on even terms seven minutes later with a nice first-time finish from Romelu Lukaku.

The striker was handed a great chance to put his team into the lead in the 56th minute when James Morrison was brought down by Swansea's Wayne Routledge, only for Lukaku to have his spot kick saved by goalkeeper Michel Vorm.

But Lukaku's blushes were spared five minutes later when De Guzman attempted to clear a header off his own goal line, only for the ball to end up in the net for an own goal.

Norwich City 0, Southampton 0

Norwich, England - Norwich City captain Grant Holt had his stoppage-time penalty kick saved by Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc, forcing the two sides to settle for a 0-0 draw at a rain-soaked Carrow Road.

The conditions did little to help the attacking effectiveness of either side and chances were few and far between.

A powerful free kick from Norwich's Robert Snodgrass was parried by Boruc, and it was one of the few opportunities in the first 45 minutes.

But the drama was saved until the end when Southampton's Luke Shaw was judged to have fouled Holt just inside the penalty area.

However, Holt failed to snatch the win for his side as Boruc was able to get down to his right to keep the ball out.

03/09 13:06:45 ET


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