This was one of those days when everything went right for Paul Lambert. His policy of picking up players from the lower leagues will no longer seem like such a gamble if Matthew Lowton's first goal for the club proves to be a sign of things to come and the Villa manager was also able to enjoy the sight of Christian Benteke, a £7m deadline-day signing from Genk, adding a late second on his debut.
It was Villa's first Premier League win in 14 attempts, stretching back to mid-March, and thoroughly deserved on the back of a hard-working performance. After a slightly anxious opening, during which Brad Guzan made two superb saves to deny Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer, Villa took the lead through Lowton's superb volley and never looked back. Michel Vorm, who was partially at fault for Lowton's goal, made a number of fine saves to keep Swansea in the game and Leon Britton cleared off the line as Villa cranked up the pressure.
It was not until two minutes from time that the crucial second goal arrived, when Williams capped a miserable week — he was in the Wales side that lost 6-1 against Serbia — by failing to get enough purchase on his header back to Vorm. Benteke, who has missed a gilt-edged chance moments earlier, pounced on the central defender's mistake and skipped past Vorm before tapping the ball into an empty net to inflict Swansea's first defeat of the season.
Lambert was on the pitch at the end, punching the air in front of the Holte End and pointing in the direction of his players who were unrecognisable from the team that succumbed so meekly against Everton, in the first home game of the season. The indefatigable Brett Holman epitomised the spirit in a Villa side that worked tirelessly to stop Swansea from imposing the slick, incisive football that had served them so well in their opening three games of the season, and Lambert's players carried a constant threat.
"I thought they were excellent, right from the off," Lambert said. "I thought we thoroughly deserved it against a really good side that has been flying. It was a world-class goal from Lowton, the technique and execution of it was fantastic. I thought Brad's save [from Dyer] was also world-class. But I thought some of the football we played, and the tempo, was excellent."
Swansea, who started the day in second place, were a huge disappointment. Although Guzan made an instinctive stop to deny Williams and produced an even better save to claw Dyer's curling shot, which was heading towards the top corner, over the bar, Swansea lost their way from the moment Lowton scored. The right-back, a £3m signing from Sheffield United in the summer, took the ball down on his chest and struck it on the full, beating Vorm with a swerving 20-yard shot that the Swansea goalkeeper misjudged and dived beyond.
Apart from a Dyer cross on the stroke of half-time that Danny Graham just failed to connect with, Swansea offered little as an attacking force for the remainder of the game. Villa were much more dangerous and the only surprise was that they had to wait so long to double their lead. Britton used his head and knee to clear Andreas Weimann's shot off the line, Vorm denied Ciaran Clark on two occasions and also turned away a curling effort from Karim El Ahmadi. There was nothing, however, that the Swansea goalkeeper could do when Williams made his faux pas in the closing stages and the powerful figure of Benteke, whom Lambert described as "unplayable", scored what Villa supporters hope will be the first of many goals for the club.
Michael Laudrup, Swansea's manager, said. "I cannot be disappointed. We know we will lose games. The important thing is to see that we created chances and were still in the game until the last minutes."