BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Danny Ings scored twice in the opening 14 minutes as Aston Villa bounced back from the sacking of manager Steven Gerrard with a 4-0 Premier League win over Brentford at a jubilant Villa Park on Sunday.
Villa, who fired Gerrard after Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Fulham left them 17th in the table, took the lead just over a minute into the game when Leon Bailey hammered home a first-time shot from a well-worked corner.
Bailey turned provider a few minutes later, sliding the ball into the path of the unmarked Ings for him to rifle it into the net, much to the delight of caretaker boss Aaron Danks.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer pulled the shirt of Tyrone Mings to concede a penalty in the 12th minute, and Ings slammed the spot kick straight down the middle to make it 3-0.
Villa’s Douglas Luiz went close with a shot from outside the box on the half-hour mark, but his effort whistled just past the left-hand post as Brentford struggled to get a grip on the game.
Only a string of brilliant saves from goalkeeper David Raya prevented Brentford from going further behind as he swatted away an Ollie Watkins shot from point-blank range and then thwarted the same player again when he shot from distance.
Watkins persisted and got the fourth goal in the 59th minute, burying the ball in the back of the net via the foot of defender Ethan Pinnock to complete the rout.
Bryan Mbeumo summed up Brentford’s frustrating afternoon when he wasted a glorious chance to reduce the deficit two minutes later, firing wide with the goal at his mercy before being replaced by Mikkel Damsgaard.
Villa’s third win in 12 league games lifts them to 14th spot in the table on 12 points, while Brentford, who held Chelsea to a scoreless draw in midweek, are 10th on 14 points.
“We owed the fans that performance and result,” Ings said. “It was a good reaction from the boys — you always see a reaction from a team when something happens like it has this week with the gaffer (Gerrard) leaving.
“For what we have in the dressing room, it was quite simply not good enough and hasn’t been for a long period of time,” he added.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Edmund Blair and Clare Fallon)