BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (AFP) – Alan Hutton scored his first Aston Villa goal as Paul Lambert’s side beat Leicester City 2-1 on Sunday to move six points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
Scottish right-back Hutton, drafted back into the team this season after previously being frozen out by Lambert, struck in the 71st minute after Ciaran Clark had cancelled out Leonardo Ulloa’s opener for bottom club Leicester.
It was a first home win since August for Villa, who climb to 11th, while Nigel Pearson’s Leicester, who had Paul Konchesky sent off, remain four points from safety after a 10th consecutive game without victory.
Villa were the first side to threaten at a half-full Villa Park, with Christian Benteke lashing a half-volley inches wide from 20 wide on the right, but it was Leicester who made the breakthrough.
Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan could not gather a deflected shot from Riyad Mahrez and Ulloa pounced to touch home his first goal in 10 games.
But the hosts equalised within four minutes, as Ashley Westwood curled a free-kick into the box from the left and Clark ghosted in to direct a deft header past Kasper Schmeichel.
In a physical end to the first half, Westwood was stretchered off with a knee injury after being clattered by Jamie Vardy, while Ulloa did not reappear for the second half following a robust tackle on him from Clark.
Villa laid siege to the Leicester goal in the second period, with Tom Cleverley blazing a shot over and Schmeichel obliged to save from Kieran Richardson, Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
But after Guzan had clawed away a dipping effort from Leicester substitute David Nugent at the other end, Hutton put Villa ahead with a cool finish from Benteke’s left-to-right lofted pass.
Konchesky was shown a straight red card following a shoving match with Hutton, who was booked, but the 10 men almost snatched a point when Matt James’s shot was deflected narrowly wide.