Aston Villa, Leeds Utd, Preston, Dagenham
Premier League ~ Villa's United woes continue
Aston Villa failed to improve their poor record against Manchester United over the weekend, losing 3-2 at home. Villa had only beaten United three times in 45 league games since 1990 before the match but things were looking promising as they took a 2-0 lead. Both goals came from Andreas Weimann; the first a drive from 16 yards just before half time, the second a close-range finish from Gabriel Agbonlahor's cross. However, for the eight time this season, United came from behind to win.
Javier Hernandez, brought on at half time, claimed the matchball, though the second officially went down as a Ron Vlaar own goal. The result leaves United top and Villa in 17th, three points above the relegation zone.
Villa manager Paul Lambert was proud of his team: "We don't have long ball players in the side; just footballers and the crowd see that and stick with it, the future's really good. People see what we are trying to do. I thought the crowd were brilliant. I've been looking forward to getting it like that since I came and when that gets going it's some atmosphere. You can see they are a young side but you wouldn't have thought that the way they played. They played with a lot of maturity, a lot of discipline in their game and I can't fault them for the way they went about it. I've told them they've got nothing to be down about. I'm proud of them. People thought Manchester United would come here and roll over us pretty easily but we gave it a right good go."
Championship ~ Defeat least of Warnock's worries
Leeds United are now six league games without a win after suffering a 6-1 defeat to Watford at Elland Road. The visitors went 1-0 up on 28 minutes through Matej Vydra before Leeds defender Jason Pearce was sent off just before half time. Things got worse for Neil Warnock's team after the break as Rodolph Austin was stretchered off with a broken leg and Leeds, having used their three substitutions, had to play on with nine men. Watford took advantage and moved into a 3-0 lead by the 75th minute. A Michael Tonge penalty gave Leeds hope at 3-1 with ten minutes remaining but Watford made their extra men tell in the closing minutes, scoring three more times. The Hornets have been inconsistent this season but are up to 12th, while Leeds are down in 18th.
Warnock was more concerned about Rodoph's injury than the result: "I'm not devastated about the game but I am about Rudy, he has broken his leg in two places. I was told it was a double fracture but he shouldn't have been in that position [covering for Pearce at centre-half]. I wanted to try and win the game with ten men but everything is irrelevant tonight, it's the least of my worries when I think that we have lost Rudy for so long. When our lads knew about it, they were distraught."
League One ~ PNE show "clinicality" at Stevenage
Graham Westley enjoyed his return to Stevenage as he watched his Preston team win 4-1, their biggest away win of the season. Westley left Stevenage for Lancashire in January and has been looking up in the table at his old club for the majority of that time. Preston, who started the day in tenth, nine points behind their hosts, were ahead within six minutes through Stuart Beavon. Although Greg Tansey equalised for Stevenage nine minutes later, it was Preston who pressed forward with double the shot count of their higher-placed opponents. Jack King put Westley's team ahead again after half an hour before Jeffrey Monakana and Nicky Wroe made the points safe in the second half.
Westley praised his team's finishing ability: "The clinicality on the end of our play was everything we wanted it to be and it can be seen that we are heading in the right direction and improving as a team. We wanted to dominate the game, we wanted to play the better football and control possession. We did all of those, physically we are starting to look a strong outfit, the commitment the players are playing with and the determination to win points. A lot of things haven't gone our way but we haven't felt sorry for ourselves and we have had to work hard at our game knowing if you keep working hard and improving the points tally will start to clock up."
League Two ~ Daggers slice Rotherham apart
Dagenham & Redbridge have now only lost one game in ten matches, having swept Rotherham United aside on Saturday. The Daggers did not win in their opening eight games of the season but have improved since beating Wycombe 3-0 at the end of September. Rotherham, who are challenging for the play-offs, were beaten 5-0 at Victoria Road in a performance their manager Steve Evans called "The worst I've had as a manager". Dwight Gayle began the scoring after five minutes and completed it in the 90th, while Luke Howell also got two goals and Medy Elito the other. Dagenham are now up to 14th position and, with games against play-off contenders Burton, Fleetwood and Torquay coming up, they may soon see which direction their season is heading in.
Daggers assistant manager Terry Harris said: "It was nice, it's been coming for a while, John [Still, the manager] has been saying that. And today, to a T, everybody played their part and did what we asked of them and we got our just rewards. This team can be as good as it wants. They are very, very good on the training area, they want to listen, they want to learn and individually and collectively hopefully we can push on now." Tom Hocking