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Villa and Newcastle take derby

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Apr 2008

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Aston Villa FC crushed city rivals Birmingham City FC 5-1 to move into the Premier League top six at Portsmouth FC's expense after their 3-1 defeat at Manchester City FC while Newcastle United FC overcame old foes Sunderland AFC 2-0.

Martin O'Neill's Villa side continued to produce a cascade of recent goals as Ashley Young and John Carew helped themselves to two apiece to make it 15 strikes in just three games and pour more worries on to a Birmingham outfit who remain a point below top-flight safety.

Young fired the home side in front after 28 minutes and Carew got his first before the interval with a close-range header. The Norway striker then turned in Gareth Barry's pass to make it 3-0 before Young added his second with a neat solo effort. Mikael Forsell pulled one back for Birmingham but there was still time for Gabriel Agbonlahor to add some extra gloss for the joyous home supporters.

Two goals in the first 13 minutes sent Manchester City on their way to victory over a Portsmouth side that were reduced to ten men four minutes before half-time. Darius Vassell struck first for the home side after eleven minutes and Martin Petrov's deflected effort doubled the lead. The away side pulled one back through John Utaka but then had Hermann Hreidarsson sent off for a professional foul on Vassell. Former Pompey striker Benjani Mwaruwari made sure of the three points by adding the third after 74 minutes.

Like Villa, Newcastle were also derby victors as two first-half efforts from Michael Owen handed them a fourth win in five outings. The England striker glanced his header past Craig Gordon just four minutes in and completed the win from the penalty spot after a handball by Danny Higginbotham.

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