English Premiership

Villa's woes continue with Norwich defeat

Remi Garde (Supplied)
Remi Garde (Supplied)

Norwich - Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani ushered Aston Villa a step closer to Premier League relegation as Norwich City recorded a 2-0 victory at Carrow Road on Monday.

Howson volleyed home in the 24th minute and Congolese striker Mbokani struck three minutes from time as Norwich drew three points clear of the relegation zone.

Villa manager Remi Garde had warned his side that they had to win one of their next two games, but ahead of Saturday's trip to Sunderland, they are 11 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table and look increasingly doomed.

It was only Norwich's second league win over Villa in 13 attempts and came a day after the appointment of former British shadow chancellor Ed Balls as club chairman.

Villa are now without a win in a club-record 18 league matches, but they could count themselves unfortunate to be trailing at half-time, having started the match on the front foot.

Leandro Bacuna saw an early 25-yard sighter parried unconvincingly by Norwich goalkeeper Declan Rudd, who was also obliged to repel a header from Jordan Ayew.

But the visitors could not make their territorial advantage count and they duly fell behind, Howson volleying home crisply with his left foot after Bacuna partially cleared Nathan Redmond's left-wing cross.

Now Norwich had their tails up and Graham Dorrans went close to doubling their lead when he shot wide after Villa switched off at a corner.

Howson spurned a good chance to claim a second goal early in the second half, steering wide after Brad Guzan spilt a curling effort from Redmond.

Garde sent on Adama Traore, Rudy Gestede and Jack Grealish in his desperation for an equaliser, but instead Norwich sealed victory when Mbokani nodded in Wes Hoolahan's left-wing cross.

Even a consolation goal proved beyond the beleaguered visitors, with Rudd clawing away Ayew's stoppage-time free-kick.