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Jones gets 1st goal for United in 1-0 win at Villa

Updated: December 03, 2011, 14:56


Manchester United's players celebrate their goal against Aston Villa during their English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park ground in Birmingham, England, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

BIRMINGHAM, England(AP) Phil Jones scored his first goal for Manchester United in its 1-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday to stay five points behind rival Man City at the top of the Premier League.

United dominated the opening 45 minutes despite the early loss of Mexico striker Javier Hernandez who was stretchered off with a left ankle injury. United manager Alex Ferguson said Hernandez could be out for four weeks

Jones scored in the 20th, picking up a cross from Nani on the left and deftly side-footing a close-range volley past Villa goalkeeper Shay Given.

It was Jones' first goal in any competition for United since his summer move from Blackburn.

Villa has won just one of the last 32 league matches against United, which has been unbeaten in the league at Villa Park for 16 years.

After Hernandez was injured, Jones got permission to go forward in midfield with Michael Carrick operating in the holding role. Chris Smalling also did well in shackling Villa's most potent threat in Gabriel Agbonlahor for long periods.

Villa also had injury problems with goalkeeper Shay Given (leg) and Jermaine Jenas (ankle) both stretchered off.

Villa looked more threatening in the second half but could have no complaints with the outcome.

Hernandez appeared to twist his ankle when it became caught in the Villa Park surface after turning sharply. There was a lengthy delay while Hernandez received treatment but he was unable to continue and was stretchered off and replaced by Antonio Valencia.

It came as no surprise when Jones put United ahead with a clinical finish. Patrice Evra released the overlapping Nani and his cross was met by Jones who used the pace of the ball to give Given little chance.

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