A Christian Benteke goal ten minutes from time was enough to give Aston Villa all three points at home to Reading.
With Darren Bent out of favor with Villa manager Paul Lambert, Benteke took full advantage of the start by heading home an Ashley Westwood corner. The goal ended the Belgium strikers four-game run goalless spell.
Villa fully deserved the victory as they were the better side on the night, dominating possession and looking the more threatening team throughout. With the three points, Villa are now up to 17th, two points clear of the relegation zone.
All that separates Reading from the bottom of the table are Queens Park Rangers, who are now only four points back. Without a victory in the league all season, QPR began life under new manager Harry Redknapp with a goalless draw at struggling Sunderland.
The star for QPR was substitute goalkeeper Rob Green who made a stunning save to deny Steven Fletcher in a goalless draw at Sunderland. The former England No 1 somehow clawed away the Sunderland striker’s 64th-minute header on a night.
Green replaced the injured Julio Cesar, who had made a vital block to deny Fletcher, at the break and stood firm as the visitors turned in a spirited display at the Stadium of Light. Home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet also had to be at his best to keep out ex-Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse as well as Jamie Mackie and he was relieved to see midfielder Stephane Mbia blast a long-range effort inches wide.
Ultimately, Redknapp’s men left the north-east still without a Barclays Premier League win this season but with a fifth point of the campaign which extended the Black Cats’ difficult run to just two wins in 21 outings.