off fast lane

ENGLAND - Gabriel Agbonlahor gave Aston Villa the bragging rights over bitter rivals Birmingham with a header at the death.

ENGLAND - Gabriel Agbonlahor gave Aston Villa the bragging rights over bitter rivals Birmingham with a header at the death.

It had seemed the teams would share the spoils until Agbonlahor gave Villa the lead with five minutes to play.

Agbonlahor's goal at St Andrews yesterday ensured Villa fans will be able to lord it over their friends and workmates after a fifth successive win over their arch enemies.

Meanwhile, Chelsea pulled clear at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday after Manchester United ended Tottenham's winning start to the season with a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane.

On a day that saw Manchester City's hopes of breaking into the top four bolstered by a 4-2 win over Arsenal, Chelsea scored a stoppage time winner at Stoke to notch up a fifth straight win under new boss Carlo Ancelotti.

But Spurs were given a reality check by a 10-man United, despite taking the lead with the fastest goal of the season so far - an overhead kick by Jermain Defoe after only 47 seconds.

The champions hit back with a superb Ryan Giggs free-kick, Brazilian midfielder Anderson's first goal for the club and a late strike from Wayne Rooney after Paul Scholes was sent off for a second offence.

City claimed a first-half lead when a Micah Richards' shot spun off Manuel Almunia into the net.

Arsenal equalised through Robin van Persie after the hour but City responded superbly with a Craig Bellamy strike, a header from Emmanuel Adebayor and a Shaun Wright-Phillips strike while Tomas Rosicky claimed a late consolation for Arsenal with the game ending on 4-2 to City.

Chelsea looked destined for 1 all draw until Florent Malouda popped up deep into injury time.

Stoke had been gifted a 32nd minute lead by an uncharacteristic misjudgement from Petr Cech, who was caught out of position and beaten by Abdoulaye Faye's looping header.

Didier Drogba equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Yossi Benayoun capped a superb all-round display with a hat-trick as Liverpool overran Burnley in a 4-0 win at Anfield.

Dirk Kuyt was also on the mark as Rafael Benitez's side continued their recovery from a stuttering start to the campaign.

Blackburn claimed their first win of the season and climbed out of the relegation zone with an impressive 3-1 win over top-flight newcomers Wolves.

El Hadji Diouf gave Rovers a first-half lead and two goals in eight second-half minutes, from Jason Roberts and David Dunn, killed off Mick McCarthy's side.

Austrian striker Stefan Maierhofer marked his Wolves debut with a late consolation effort for the visitors.

Centre-back Gary Cahill scored an 89th-minute winner as Bolton claimed their first points of the season with a 3-2 win at Portsmouth, who are still pointless after five games.

Sunderland's strong start to the season continued with a 4-1 win over Hull.

Colombian striker Hugo Radallego claimed the only goal of the game as Wigan took the points against West Ham. - Sapa-AFP