Aston Villa snatch win at Luton as Ollie Watkins adds to impressive goal tally

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Aston Villa snatch win at Luton as Ollie Watkins adds to impressive goal tally
Ollie Watkins scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season
Ollie Watkins scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season
AFP
Aston Villa took another step towards a first top-four Premier League finish since 1995/96 with a 3-2 victory against Luton Town, securing the Villans a third-successive top-flight away win for the first time in over a year.

With none of the four sides directly above them in the table winning their respective afternoon kick-offs, Luton were afforded a great chance to close the gap on their fellow relegation battlers.

Knowing a win would move them to within a point of safety, whilst also holding an all-important game in hand, the Hatters’ task was hampered by Amari'i Bell limping off inside the opening ten minutes.

The hosts were given some early warning signs when Thomas Kaminski twice denied Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins respectively, but Rob Edwards’ side were showing no signs that those near misses would serve as a wake-up call.

Villa’s pressure eventually told, and in a fashion that would undoubtedly have frustrated Edwards, as Leon Bailey’s corner was headed home at the near post by an unmarked Ollie Watkins, who wheeled away in celebration for the 20th time this season.

Number 21 wasn’t that far behind for Watkins either - just 14 minutes in fact - as the Luton defence switched off when an opportunistic Douglas Luiz took a quick free-kick and Watkins raced through and stroked home to double his tally for the evening.

Luton certainly looked sprightlier after the break, but they never looked like forcing their way back into the game.

That was until Alfie Doughty finally swung in a corner that avoided the gloves of Emiliano Martinez, and after a goalmouth scramble involving Reece Burke and Tahith Chong, the latter bundled home from close range - a goal that will have felt good for the former Birmingham City man.

Clearly buoyed by that goal, Luton soon drew level, with Doughty again involved, this time claiming a direct assist as Carlton Morris powered home his delivery at the far post.

Clearly unhappy with what he was seeing, Unai Emery made a relatively unheard-of quadruple change, and his decision paid dividends as the 90th minute approached.

Two of his changes combined when Moussa Diaby’s deep delivery was headed into the corner by Lucas Digne to the delight of the travelling Villa faithful.

Match stats
Opta by StatsPerform

It was a priceless win for Emery’s men, who kept Tottenham at arm’s length behind them, but it was a crushing blow for Luton, whose battle to beat the drop is looking tougher with each passing week.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

See all of our stats from this match here.

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