BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Jacob Ramsey netted his first goal of the season to give Aston Villa a scrappy 1-0 home victory over Southampton in the Premier League on Friday and snap a run of four games without a win.
With the cancellation of last week’s fixtures due to the death of Queen Elizabeth, the game was preceded by a minute’s silence, and fans applauded in the 70th minute and sang “God Save The Queen” in recognition of her 70-year reign.
Desperate for a win after collecting four points from their first six games, Villa began to dominate possession as the first half progressed, with Philippe Coutinho wasting two good chances before Ramsey broke the deadlock.
The 21-year-old midfielder struck in the 41st minute, pouncing on the rebound and firing the ball off the underside of the crossbar after Ollie Watkins’ header from a corner was acrobatically kept out by Southampton keeper Gavin Bazunu.
Douglas Luiz almost grabbed a cheeky second for Villa in first-half stoppage time as he swung in a corner that looked like it was going to dip under the crossbar, but Bazunu tipped the ball over.
Southampton came out with a lot more urgency in the second half, but both sides struggled to get any decent shots on target as Villa defended their lead doggedly.
Substitute Danny Ings had a great chance to double the lead in second-half stoppage time as Bazunu came up for a corner, but the striker pulled his shot from the halfway line wide of the open goal.
Villa’s second win of the season lifted them to 13th in the table with seven points from seven games. Southampton also have seven points and the same goal difference, but remained a place above Villa on goals scored.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)