Black Cats bring Villa luck

"We wanted to come here and get all three points but to do it in style was a real bonus," Aitken said, speaking for an unwell David O'Leary. "Now we have to follow it up. We have to build on the win and next week [when Villa face Charlton] becomes a massive game." Villa have not won back-to-back Premiership matches for almost a year, but will be optimistic next Saturday in Birmingham after a dominant performance in the north-east.

Late goals from Eastenders' Martin Fowler and Czech striker Milan Baros sealed victory but it was former Black Cat Ratboy Phillips that set up the win, heading in Aaron Hughes' cross early in the second half. The former England striker celebrated with all the gusto of Michael Winner’s latest conquest but his respect for his former fans masked relief for his new employers. "I had a fantastic time here at Sunderland and there was'no need for me to go mad when I scored - but that's what I'm paid to do," he said. "From our point of view it was a fantastic result because we have had a tough time this year. We have run out quite comfortable winners in the end."

In all there were three former Sunderland players in Villa's midst, with Gavin McCann in midfield, but it was goalkeeper Thomas Sorenson who had the busiest of afternoon's early on, making a string of first-half saves. Villa had chances at the other end too, and moments after the excellent James Milner – what wee
Newcastle thinking? - fired over the crossbar, Phillips broke the deadlock after Baros and Hughes combined on the right. Christian Bassila almost equalised immediately but saw his shot cannon off the underside of the crossbar and from then on, Villa took control.

Phillips made way for Luke Moore midway through the half, and the youngster soon proved that his startled deer appearance has begun to effect his personality, as he failed to capitalise after bursting clear of the defence. Barry did make it two when he tapped in after Milner jinked past two and slid a pin-point cross across the goalline, and within a minute it was 3-0 when
Moore cleverly set up Baros. The home side grabbed a late consolation when Liam Ridgewell conceded his second penalty in two games and Dean Whitehead slotted home. But it was barely a consolation as the Black Cats broke a 92-year record for going 17 games without a home win.