Aston Villa 5 Preston North End 0

Last updated : 04 December 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Preston were simply outclassed as other goals from Dion Dublin, Juan Pablo Angel and Thomas Hitzlsperger sealed Villa's biggest win under the control of manager Graham Taylor.

Villa's early lack of firepower, which has let them down badly this season, was plainly in evidence against what was a mediocre Preston side, until the inspired Vassell found his shooting boots.

The Premiership club attempted to mount strong pressure, but their early shortcomings were patiently exposed in one incident. Jlloyd Samuel forced his way through Preston's defence and put Vassell in possession.

The England striker in turn switched the ball into the path of Dublin who conspired to curl his shot wide of the post.

Fortunately Villa were able to atone for this failure just before the break when Vassell decided that it would be better to shoot quickly after receiving a pass from substitute Mark Kinsella.

As a result Vassell scored the opening goal two minutes before the interval to demoralise plucky Preston.

Colin Murdock, who had earlier been booked, headed out a cross from Gareth Barry and Kinsella, to his credit, pounced to provide Vassell with his goal opportunity to relieve the growing pressure on the Midlanders.

The livewire Vassell went close to adding a second early in the second half and later set up another glorious chance for Lee Hendrie only for the small midfielder to have his shot pushed around the post by David Lucas.

Vassell did get his second of the game ten minutes into the second period and this goal opened the floodgates with three goals in the last ten minutes.

Dublin headed home a Barry cross in the 80th minute and three minutes after going on as substitute Angel hooked home a right win cross from Ulises De La Cruz.

A left-footed rocket from Hitzlsperger in the 86th minute completed the rout.