Aston Villa moved out of the Premier League bottom three thanks to Christian Benteke's late goal against Reading.

The Belgian striker headed in the winner from a corner late on to leave the Royals one place off the bottom.

Villa, who left striker Darren Bent out of the team for the second match in succession, also went close through Andreas Weimann and Ciaran Clark.

Reading's best chance fell to Hal Robson-Kanu, who had his goalbound shot blocked by Brad Guzan.

Sean Morrison and Adam Le Fondre also wasted golden chances - both heading wide from close range.

No problems with Bent - Lambert

Brian McDermott's promoted side are now four points adrift of safety and with Manchester United, Southampton and Sunderland coming up they face a tricky few weeks.

The Royals were expected to find the going tough this season, but not as many people thought Villa would struggle under the stewardship of Paul Lambert, who performed wonders at Norwich.

Villa came into the match having only managed one win in nine, but on the back of a good performance against Arsenal.

Lambert's side had only scored 10 goals in 13 league games this season and only three at home - fewer than any other side.

Sharp shooter

  • Christian Benteke has scored in two out of Aston Villa's three PL victories this season.

Key striker Bent, who signed for the club in a £24m deal in 2011, was left out of the team to face the Gunners despite having recovered from an ankle injury and the England man was once again omitted.

The Villa manager might have been left rueing the decision with two of his three attackers - Weimann and Benteke - missing great opportunities during the match.

The first fell to 21-year-old Belgian Benteke, who tamely struck a low shot into the arms of Adam Federici from 15 yards after finding himself clear.

The second - arguably the easier - was wasted by Austrian Weimann, who smashed Benteke's square ball high over the bar from eight yards.

Reading will keep going - McDermott

Defender Nathan Baker was also left cursing his misfortune when his header from a corner bounced into the ground and over the bar.

Reading, a point and a place below Villa going into the game, also created chances to open the scoring in the first half, with United States keeper Guzan brilliantly blocking Robson-Kanu's shot and Morrison sending his header foot wide.

Lax defending was a major theme of the match, as was profligacy in front of goal.

Further opportunities followed after the break, with Guzan using his feet to stop Jason Roberts's effort, while Le Fondre inexplicably nodded over from six yards.

Villa kept the pressure on the Royals with Clark flicking his header wide when clear and Brett Holman shooting into the side-netting.

It seemed the breakthrough would never come, but with 10 minutes to go summer signing Benteke used his physical prowess to climb above Morrison and head in.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 22 Guzan
  • 06 Clark Booked
  • 29 Stevens (Lichaj - 24' )
  • 32 Baker
  • 34 Lowton
  • 15 Westwood
  • 25 Bannan
  • 11 Agbonlahor
  • 14 Holman (Ireland - 67' )
  • 20 Benteke
  • 26 Weimann (Albrighton - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Given
  • 30 Lichaj
  • 07 Ireland
  • 08 El Ahmadi
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 16 Delph
  • 21 Bowery

Reading

  • 01 Federici
  • 03 Shorey
  • 06 Mariappa
  • 15 Morrison
  • 24 Cummings
  • 08 Leigertwood
  • 11 McAnuff
  • 16 Tabb
  • 19 Robson-Kanu (McCleary - 83' )
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 33 Roberts (Hunt - 79' )

Substitutes

  • 41 Taylor
  • 05 Pearce
  • 23 Harte
  • 26 Gunnarsson
  • 07 Pogrebnyak
  • 10 Hunt
  • 12 McCleary
Ref: Probert
Att: 28,692

Match Stats

Shots

15 11

On target

7 6

Corners

8 3

Fouls

10 5

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:14 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +2:06

Adam Le Fondre is penalised for a handball. Bradley Guzan restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:47

The assistant referee flags for offside against Christian Benteke. Adam Federici takes the free kick.

88:44

Mikele Leigertwood fouled by Stephen Ireland, the ref awards a free kick. Nicky Shorey delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel, save made by Bradley Guzan.

87:17

Christian Benteke challenges Jay Tabb unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jay Tabb.

83:58

Noel Hunt takes a shot. Save made by Bradley Guzan.

82:29 Substitution

Substitution Hal Robson-Kanu leaves the field to be replaced by Garath McCleary.

81:59

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.

79:46

Assist on the goal came from Ashley Westwood.

79:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Christian Benteke - A Villa 1 - 0 Reading Christian Benteke grabs a headed goal from close in. Aston Villa 1-0 Reading.

79:30

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ashley Westwood,

79:06

Adam Le Fondre challenges Marc Albrighton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.

78:38 Substitution

Substitution Noel Hunt is brought on as a substitute for Jason Roberts.

77:52

Marc Albrighton sends in a cross.

76:53

Unfair challenge on Jason Roberts by Ciaran Clark results in a free kick. Nicky Shorey takes the direct free kick.

74:33

Stephen Ireland takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

73:28

The ball is crossed by Ashley Westwood, save by Adam Federici.

72:57

Corner from right by-line taken by Barry Bannan.

72:11

Unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by Nicky Shorey results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ciaran Clark.

71:39

Jason Roberts takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

70:47

Stephen Ireland gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts. Adrian Mariappa restarts play with the free kick.

69:59

The referee blows for offside against Jobi McAnuff. Indirect free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

69:10

Gabriel Agbonlahor concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Cummings. Adam Federici takes the direct free kick.

68:39

Free kick awarded for a foul by Sean Morrison on Christian Benteke. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.

66:55 Substitution

Substitution Marc Albrighton is brought on as a substitute for Andreas Weimann.

66:55 Substitution

Substitution Stephen Ireland on for Brett Holman.

65:30

Jason Roberts takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.

65:04

Jobi McAnuff takes a shot. Blocked by Nathan Baker.

64:21

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Jay Tabb. Sean Morrison restarts play with the free kick.

63:06

Nicky Shorey takes the free kick.

63:06 Booking

Booking Caution for Ciaran Clark.

63:01

Ciaran Clark gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts.

62:03

The ball is crossed by Hal Robson-Kanu.

59:36

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan from the right by-line, Ciaran Clark has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.

57:29

Jason Roberts takes a shot. Nathan Baker gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Nicky Shorey, Adam Le Fondre has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.

54:51

Brett Holman has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target. Foul by Ashley Westwood on Hal Robson-Kanu, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Nicky Shorey.

53:08

Effort on goal by Adam Le Fondre from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.

52:01

Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Blocked by Adrian Mariappa. Corner from right by-line taken by Barry Bannan.

49:16

Foul by Jason Roberts on Eric Lichaj, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

47:06

Centre by Shaun Cummings, save by Bradley Guzan.

45:39

Corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan from the right by-line, clearance by Adrian Mariappa.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +1:12 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

44:46

Nicky Shorey produces a cross, clearance by Ciaran Clark.

40:33

Ciaran Clark gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jobi McAnuff, Andreas Weimann makes a clearance.

39:33

Eric Lichaj takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.

36:19

Headed effort from deep inside the area by Ciaran Clark misses to the left of the goal.

35:40

Inswinging corner taken by Barry Bannan from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Adrian Mariappa.

34:14

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

33:04

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Blocked by Adrian Mariappa. Corner from left by-line taken by Barry Bannan.

31:12

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Barry Bannan, Close range header by Nathan Baker goes over the bar.

30:32

Free kick awarded for a foul by Adrian Mariappa on Brett Holman. Ciaran Clark restarts play with the free kick.

30:08

Shaun Cummings delivers the ball.

29:23

The ball is swung over by Eric Lichaj.

28:03

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

26:51

Andreas Weimann produces a left-footed shot from close in that clears the bar.

24:31

Barry Bannan takes a shot from long range clearing the crossbar.

23:01 Substitution

Substitution Enda Stevens goes off and Eric Lichaj comes on.

21:52

The ball is crossed by Shaun Cummings, save by Bradley Guzan.

19:09

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Sean Morrison gets a block in.

17:01

Brett Holman is caught offside. Nicky Shorey takes the indirect free kick.

16:35

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.

15:09

The referee blows for offside. Adam Federici takes the indirect free kick.

14:10

Nicky Shorey takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Ashley Westwood.

12:35

Corner taken by Jobi McAnuff, Sean Morrison produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

11:19

The official flags Jason Roberts offside. Ciaran Clark takes the indirect free kick.

10:00

Hal Robson-Kanu takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan. Close range effort by Adam Le Fondre goes wide of the left-hand post.

8:40

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adam Le Fondre by Ciaran Clark. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Nicky Shorey from left channel, Christian Benteke makes a clearance.

6:32

The ball is crossed by Andreas Weimann.

5:23

Hal Robson-Kanu has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.

0:00

The referee gets the game started.

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