Midfielder’s first-half header and superb defending earn Dean Smith’s side 1-0 win over Southampton
Ross Barkley headed the only goal of the match as Aston Villa beat Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium to move up to eighth place in the Premier League table.
Ollie Watkins controlled Matt Targett’s cross and forced Alex McCarthy into a smart low save shortly before Barkley broke the deadlock on 41 minutes.
The midfielder stretched to head in Jack Grealish’s cross for his third league goal of the season.
Villa had to work hard for their victory with Emiliano Martinez thwarting substitute Che Adams with a superb save one-on-one before keeping out Jan Bednarek’s point-blank header late on.
The Villa goalkeeper then denied Ryan Bertrand in second-half stoppage time and, although Danny Ings scored on the follow-up, the goal was overturned for offside following a VAR review.
Having ended a run of three consecutive away defeats Dean Smith’s team are up to 32 points after 19 matches, five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool with a match in hand.
After a third straight loss Southampton remain 11th with 29 points.