THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Villa, Peterborough, Scunthorpe, Fleetwood

icon weekendPremier League ~ Villa's Benteke different to Heskey
Aston Villa got their first league win under new manager Paul Lambert on Saturday. Their 2-0 victory over Swansea City at Villa Park was also their first since beating Fulham 1-0 on March 10 and only their third of 2012. Matthew Lowton, a £3 million signing from Sheffield United over summer, scored the opener for Villa with a long-range strike on 16 minutes. The points were made safe by Christian Benteke, who scored on his debut with two minutes to go.

"When Christian came on you heard that lift it gave the fans," Lambert said. "I don't know if they have had a target man here in the last few years. I know Heskey was here but Christian is a different type of lad, different type of player. We will see how it goes." The manager also praised Brett Holman, who was awarded the Man of the Match award. "Brett needed another lung the way he was performing. He was exceptional, considering he's been away with the national team. The travelling Australia have to do is ridiculous."

Championship ~ Ferguson says Posh players aren't good enough
Peterborough United have suffered the worst start to a league season in their history, following a 5-2 defeat at Burnley. The Posh had looked set to secure their first point of the campaign, with the scores level at 2-2 with just over 15 minutes to go. Then Charlie Austin scored twice and Junior Stanislas got the fifth as Darren Ferguson's side capitulated. They are already five points adrift at the bottom of the league and have the worst goal difference.

"We do a lot of work in training with the players and pass on a lot of information during our preparations for every match," Ferguson said. "So either the players aren't listening or they aren't good enough. Anyone watching this game can see where our problems lie. I can't expect my strikers to score five or six goals to win games, but they will have to if we continue to defend like this. I will never name individuals, but individuals are just not defending well enough and we haven't all season." He went on: "It's not like me to go public with my criticism, but I am furious with that display. I'm embarrassed to have lost six matches in a row, but I will pick the players up as that's my job and we will go again."

League One ~ Iron off the mark against Shrews
Scunthorpe United got their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. The Iron got their first point last week against Sheffield United and went one better this time. The only goal of the game came from Leon Clarke, who was also the scorer against the Blades. He headed in a Karl Hawley cross in the fifth minute and Alan Knill's team held on to inflict Shrewsbury's first home defeat in 34 matches. The last away team to win at New Meadow was Bury in March 2011, when Knill was their manager.

Knill said: "There's been a lot of rubbish flying around which the players read, but we're trying to keep the group close together. The only way you can answer any critics is on the pitch and that's what we're trying to do. Today was a big step for the group." He went on to say: "I said last week that the football club now is a different club to three years ago. We're all coming to terms with that, but everybody else needs to come to terms with it too. We're a League One team and by no means a League One team with the biggest budget." He seems to have recovered from almost being killed by a squirrel, at least.

League Two ~ Fleetwood leave it late against Cobblers
Andy Mangan scored an injury-time winner for Fleetwood Town as they beat Northampton Town 1-0 at Highbury. It was the Trawlermen's fourth win in a row and lifted them up to third in the table. Northampton were playing with ten men from the half-hour mark when Daniel East received his second yellow card for a foul on Jamie McGuire. The stats suggest that Fleetwood dominated, having had 24 shots to Northampton's six throughout the game. The home side did withdraw Jon Parkin, who scored a hat-trick last week, early on. The striker was substituted as a precaution after 30 minutes, having been booked already and repeatedly drawing the attention of the referee.

Northampton manager Aidy Boothroyd was unhappy with the red card: "I thought we should never have had a man sent off in the first place. The first booking wasn't a foul. He wasn't going off until the Fleetwood players got around. That's not me having a go at the Fleetwood players, that's just gamesmanship and that's where the referee has to be strong and deal with it. But there you are. He wasn't, he didn't and the boy went off. But after that they worked their socks off and so we're disappointed not to come away with something."

Conference ~ Darts enjoy home comforts
Dartford recorded their fourth consecutive home win with a 4-0 victory over Hereford United at Princes Park. The newly-promoted Darts have won five of their last six games and are now hovering just outside the play-offs. Playing in front of 1,601 people, their highest home attendance of the season, Dartford were ahead after six minutes when Ryan Hayes found the top corner from the edge of the area. They extended their lead after the break, with goals from James Rogers, Danny Harris and Jon Wallis. For Hereford it was a second heavy defeat in a row, following their 5-2 loss at Hyde last week.

Dartford manager Tony Burman was pleased with his side: "It was a decent performance all round, defending, midfield and up front, and I'm delighted we've got a lot of supporters through the turnstiles as well. The two guys up front were very good today, they started well from the kick-off and caused the Hereford defenders problems." Tom Hocking

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