Republic of Ireland’s Robbie Keane came back to haunt former club Wolves as he scored a brace on his full Aston Villa debut to secure victory for his side in a thrilling Midlands derby.
Wolves struggled to settle into the game and found themselves behind after 11 minutes. Defender Christophe Berra was caught in possession in his own penalty area by Darren Bent and responded by needlessly bringing him down. Bent stepped up to score from the spot and give Villa a 1-0 lead.
But Wolves hit back, and the home side grabbed a deserved equaliser ten minutes later when on-loan Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong found Michael Kightly on the edge of the area. He took a touch and then bent the ball inside Shay Given’s far post.
Wolves were now in the ascendency and it came as no surprise when they went ahead after 31 minutes through Edwards. The impressive Kightly’s corner was met by Johnson’s header and Edwards got in front of Given to nod the ball into the roof of the net.
Ciaran Clark capitalised on Matt Jarvis’s half clearance soon after the restart, knocking the ball down to Robbie Keane and allowing the on-loan LA Galaxy striker to turn and find the bottom corner of the net from range.
With the match now level, Wolves’ cause was hindered when the influential Emmauel Frimpong was carried off on a stretcher after his head collided with Stiliyan Petrov’s boot from a corner kick. Their plight then grew worse when they were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining after midfielder Karl Henry kicked out at winger Marc Albrighton and received a straight red card.
Villa took full advantage of their numerical supremacy as Keane popped up again with five minutes remaining lashing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net to settle a fascinating encounter.
Wolves remain embroiled in a relegation battle and are stuck in the bottom three after eight games without a league win.
But the day belonged to Robbie Keane, who was close to a hat-trick at the death and could hardly have a better impression on his first start for Villa.
Wolves scorers: Kightly 21, Edwards 31
Villa scorers: Bent (pen) 11, Keane 51, 84