Reading 1-2 Villa media watch: Extensive reports on Royals win
Sunday Mirror: Gabby Agbonlahor may never score a more important goal than the one which has put daylight between Aston Villa and the relegation zone. The former England striker spent all week being reminded by his mates of just how much is at stake as the club he grew up supporting fight for their Premier League lives. And when it mattered most he delivered with the stunning left foot strike in first half injury time that gives Paul Lambert's young side real hope of survival. The win sets up another massive match next week at home to Harry Redknapp's revitalised Queens Park Rangers as manager Paul Lambert's nightmare season finally shows a chance of having a happy ending. "It was a terrific goal with a super build up and then Gabby's finish was world class," said a delighted Lambert.
Sunday Express: If Villa could have picked the day when Gabby Agbonlahor came really good after his injury troubles, this was the one. Their comeback speed merchant combined with Christian Benteke to plunder a goal apiece - and three precious points - to massively boost Villa's hopes of beating the drop. That partnership was the difference between success and failure in a must-win game for both sides. Reading are left hovering over the relegation trapdoor, with Manchester United and Arsenal their next opponents. No wonder manager Paul Lambert was beaming last night - and hailing the input of Agbonlahor, who has netted three times in six appearances since returning from more than a month in the sick bay. "Gabby's finish was world class," he said. "When he takes a run at people there aren't many who can live with him. This was a massive game, but we deserved to win."
BBC Sport: Aston Villa breathed new life into their Premier League survival bid, coming from behind at Reading to snatch only their second league win of 2013. Gabriel Agbonlahor's thunderous volley on half-time lifts Paul Lambert's side three points clear of the bottom three, with nine league games remaining. Reading had snatched the lead after 31 minutes when Villa defender Nathan Baker sliced beyond his own goalkeeper. Christian Benteke hit back immediately, before Agbonlahor won it for Villa. This was a crucial result for Villa, whose last away win came in December at Anfield and who had won just one of their previous 11 matches. But, having won this encounter, forthcoming home matches against Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool can be viewed with renewed hope.
Daily Star on Sunday: Gabby Agbonlahor ensured Aston Villa won this basement battle - but their rollercoaster relegation war is far from over. The forgotten England man's blistering first-half volley - his seventh goal of the season - along with Christian Benteke's latest strike gave Paul Lambert's men three priceless points. And the fact they had to come from behind against fellow strugglers Reading underlined that when the going gets tough, Villa's young side can rise to the challenge. Yet, while this second win in 12 outings lifts them three points clear of the drop zone, they still have another massive hurdle to jump. Rock-bottom Queens Park Rangers are next up at Villa Park, in six days' time. A second successive victory will all but end Villa's fears of falling into the Championship. Lose, though, and they are back in trouble.
Sunday Telegraph: It was not handsome, it was never more than scrappy, in truth the moments of quality could be listed on the back of a stamp, but the double-fisted punch with which Paul Lambert greeted the final whistle demonstrated how important these three points were to Aston Villa. With victory against an effortful, determined but toothless Reading, Lambert's side moved out of the bottom three. "It was a massive game, never easy," the Villa manager admitted. "And now we've brought maybe five or six other teams into the mix." This was a match which provided evidence why these sides are fighting for their Premier League future.
Observer: Paul Lambert has parroted it like a mantra throughout the season. "We'll be fine," the Aston Villa manager has said. Here is a Glaswegian of intensity and the impression has been that if he says it sufficiently, he can force it to happen; that the strength of his personality can will an inexperienced squad into prolonging the club's 25-year membership of the elite. This victory, only a second in 12 Premier League matches, brought substance to the belief. It was a long way from being handsome and there was the sense that Villa were clinging on in the second half but it did nothing to dilute the tonic. Lambert's men survived their latest self-inflicted wound, a darkly comic own goal from Nathan Baker, and a few borderline decisions to pull clear of the relegation places.
Independent on Sunday: Aston Villa do not usually do comebacks. Their powers of recovery in the Premier League this season had been almost non-existent, with only two points salvaged after they had gone behind. Make that five now, the three gleaned against Reading at the Madejski Stadium yesterday as crucial as any they may muster between now and the end of a miserable campaign. Winning for only the second time in 12 matches, after trailing 1-0, was important enough. Yet to do it against one of their main rivals for the drop will have done wonders for their self-esteem.
Sunday Mercury: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert was full of praise for his side, especially Nathan Baker, after he recovered from his red-faced moment to help inspire a win against Reading to haul them three points clear of danger. The 21-year-old defender completely missed a routine clearance before the ball hit his standing leg and bounced over the line.
BBC Sport: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes his side have the momentum to beat the drop after their 2-1 win at relegation rivals Reading. Gabriel Agbonlahor earned victory with a brilliant volley on the stroke of half-time that moved Villa three points clear of the relegation zone. Villa face an important home game against QPR on Saturday. "There will be a few teams looking over their shoulder tonight. We have a bit of momentum," Lambert told BBC Sport.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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