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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins (left) and defender Alex Moreno (centre) celebrate on the pitch after the English Premier League match against Newcastle Utd at Villa Park in Birmingham. Image Credit: AFP

Birmingham: An early strike from Jacob Ramsey and two second-half goals from Ollie Watkins earned Aston Villa a 3-0 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday to move Unai Emery’s rejuvenated team to within six points of the top four.

Ramsey ran on to Watkins’ cushioned header to give Villa the lead with an emphatic side-footed finish in the 11th minute, after an excellent cross by John McGinn.

Watkins added Villa’s second with a sharp strike on the turn from point-blank range in the 64th minute and grabbed his 11th goal in his last 12 matches six minutes from time with a simple finish at the back post.

Best chance

Newcastle were well marshalled by the Villa defence and failed to demonstrate much of an attacking threat in the opening period, though Eddie Howe’s men improved when the manager introduced Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson after the break.

The visitors’ best chance came just before the hour mark when Alexander Isak drew an acrobatic one-handed save from Emiliano Martinez, but Watkins put the ball in the back of the net with Villa’s very next attack, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Villa are sixth in the table on 50 points, three behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and six adrift of Manchester United in fourth and Newcastle in third.