Dynamo 0-1 Villa report: Fine Bennett header earns win
Joe Bennett's first goal for Villa earned a win in the final game of the tour of Texas as Houston Dynamo were vanquished.
Bennett headed home at the back post after a wonderful cross from Andreas Weimann on 41 minutes.
The victory was well-deserved - and could have been more convincing.
Karim El Ahmadi, Darren Bent, Alan Hutton and Gary Gardner were all foiled with decent efforts.
The win, more comfortable than the scoreline suggests, ensures that Villa head home to B6 unbeaten, this victory preceded by a comfortable 2-0 win over FC Dallas.
The victory also earned Paul Lambert's men 'The Charities Cup' - and the gaffer along with skipper Gabby Agbonlahor lifted the trophy on the final whistle.
It was an even contest early on as Dynamo skipper Brad Davis fired wide on 19 minutes before Philippe Senderos was unlucky not to connect with a fine Charles N'Zogbia header a minute later.
Fabian Delph, showing his usual pace and grace from the central area, produced a bursting run on 27 minutes but his final strike - from 20 yards out - was dragged wide.
Bennett headed over on 28 minutes - and he really should have scored.
Delph's contest was over on the half-hour mark as he was replaced by Kieran Richardson as a precaution.
Davis, probing and determined for the hosts, didn't connect properly with a 20-yard shot on 36 minutes - but El Ahmadi made a better fist of it with his own strike from distance four minutes later.
His 25-yard bullet caused the keeper all kinds of trouble due to the swerve but he did well to get his body behind the ball and parry clear.
Villa were ahead a minute later, though, Bennett rising highest at the back post to score his first goal for the claret and blues.
The interval lead was fully justified - and the visitors played even better after the break.
Bent had a shot well saved by keeper Deric on 47 minutes and then dragged another effort wide on 56 minutes.
In between times - on 55 minutes - Alan Hutton leapt brilliantly following an Ashley Westwood free-kick but, once again, keeper Deric was in fine form.
Our own keeper Jed Steer - a commanding presence between the sticks - did well to save a Ricardo Clark strike from distance on 58 minutes.
Brian Ownby had the best chance for the hosts 10 minutes from time but he blasted high and handsome when well-placed just inside the box.
Dynamo enjoyed a host of corners at the death but the visitors defence - marshalled expertly by Ciaran Clark - stood form.
Villa nearly doubled their lead in the closing moments - Gary Gardner seeing a strike rattle the post.
Villa [First Half]: Steer, Herd, Senderos, Baker, Lowton, Bennett, El Ahmadi, Delph [Richardson, 30], N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor [c], Weimann.
Villa [Second Half]: Steer, Hutton, Richardson, Herd, Clark, Stephens, Gardner, Westwood, Bacuna, Grealish, Bent.