Dec 21 (Reuters) - Two goals from in-form striker Danny Ings helped Southampton to a 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, as the visitors climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Southampton grabbed the early advantage at Villa Park after Shane Long chased down a long ball behind the Villa backline, but his effort was parried by goalkeeper Tom Heaton, only for Ings to score from the rebound.
The visitors doubled their lead on the half-hour mark after a James Ward-Prowse corner found an unmarked Jack Stephens, who headed the ball into the bottom right corner.
Villa suffered another setback just minutes after halftime as a botched clearance from Marvelous Nakamba landed at the feet of Ings, who fired his shot past Heaton for his seventh goal in the last seven league matches.
Dean Smith’s Villa, who lost midfielder John McGinn through an injury in the first half, showed an alarming lack of fight in the second until midfielder Jack Grealish pulled one back through a spectacular volley with 15 minutes to play.
Yet the home fans were left frustrated with another timid performance as Villa suffered their fourth consecutive league defeat to replace Southampton in the bottom three. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)