Through thanks to Carew - Villa overcome resilient Palace
By Villa reporter
Wednesday 24 Feb 2010 21:58:00
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John Carew’s penalty double put Villa into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – but only after Palace had given them a scare.

Carew won two penalties in the final 15 minutes – and scored them both – after the Londoners had fought back and threaten to take it to an extra 30 minutes that would have been unwelcome for Martin O’Neill’s team four days ahead of the Carling Cup final.

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Martin O'Neill made four changes to the side who beat Burnley. Brad Friedel, James Collins and Emile Heskey are rested, while Stiliyan Petrov is out with a virus. Brad Guzan, Luke Young, Fabian Delph and John Carew are back in.

Gabby Agbonlahor had the first good chance of the game. He turned and shot but had his shot well saved by Julian Speroni from 12 yards.

Villa ought to have had a penalty when Claude shoved Agbonlahor inside the Palace box, but the visitors survived the appeals.

But soon before the break, Villa did take lead when Agbonlahor flicked in a header from a corner – though as had happened at Selhurst Park, Palace were adamant it was not a corner.

Palace tried to hit back immediately, but Nick Carle's 25-yarder was a matter of inches wide.

In the second half, Darren Ambrose struck a well-hit effort from 30 yards but Guzan made a sharp save.

Midway through the half, Agbonlahor wasted a good chance, shooting at Speroni, who then had to make an even better stop from Ashley Young’s shot, which he turned around the post.

It was a more open game now and the ball fell to Neil Danns after Villa failed to clear an attack, but he hit his shot across the face of goal. But with 15 minutes it was all-square. Stephen Warnock tripped Alan Lee inside the box and Darren Ambrose stepped up to score past Guzan.

Richard Dunne missed an excellent chance for Villa from two yards after a set-up from Young.

Extra time was looming – but then Villa got the breakthrough again. Matt Lawrence fouled John Carew inside the area and the Norwegian got up to hammer the sport kick past Speroni.

And it was all over ten minutes later with another goal in similar fashion.

Lawrence again hauled down Carew and the striker made it 3-1 from the spot to put the result beyond doubt.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Luke Young, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Milner, Delph, Downing, Carew, Agbonlahor. Subs: Friedel, Sidwell, Delfouneso, Davies, Heskey, Beye, Collins.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, Davis, Lawrence, Butterfield, Carle, Derry, Ertl, Danns, Lee, Ambrose. Subs: Manns, Hill, Scannell, Andrew, Djilali, Comley, N'Diaye.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

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