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Soccer-Birthday boy Ward-Prowse steers Saints to Villa win

BIRMINGHAM, England, Nov 1 (Reuters) - A pair of sublime free kicks by midfielder James Ward-Prowse, between a Jannik Vestergaard header and a Danny Ings piledriver, gave Southampton an entertaining 4-3 Premier League win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

It was Villa’s second successive home defeat as they were beaten by Leeds United 3-0 in the previous round of matches after winning their opening four league games, including a 7-2 drubbing of champions Liverpool.

Having had an Ezri Konsa own goal disallowed for Che Adams’s marginal offside early on, Southampton took the lead in the 20th minute when Danish centre back Vestergaard headed home a Ward-Prowse free kick from the left.

Ward-Prowse added the icing to the cake on his 26th birthday with more set-piece subtlety, lashing in a superb free kick from 25 metres in the 33rd minute before he curled another one past keeper Emiliano Martinez on the stroke of halftime.

Ings made it 4-0 with a spectacular shot into the top corner in the 58th minute before defender Tyrone Mings pulled one back for the home side four minutes later, turning in a Jack Grealish cross with a glancing header.

Villa’s late pressure produced two more goals for the home side in stoppage time as Ollie Watkins netted a penalty before Grealish, who was fouled by Ibrahima Diallo for the spot kick, also scored with the last kick of the game. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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