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Found 178 results

  1. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  2. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  3. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  4. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  5. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  6. We encouragingly played like Champions-elect during the first half yesterday but failed to put enough of the chances that we created away and as was proved so often last season a one goal lead is not always enough for us. That Cup of Traditions tournament was made for us, wasn’t it? Villa performances are all too often games of two halves during which Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde take turns in coming out in claret & blue shirts. Those pre-season games were of only 45-minutes in duration and they did not therefore allow us the opportunity to take our foot off the pedal for half of the game as we did yesterday. Hull deserved their point. They had the better of the second half in much the same way that we had the best of the first 45 minutes. We fell into that nasty habit of thinking that we could hold onto a one goal lead again. We surrendered the initiative and dropped points from what was a winning position and we cannot continue to do these things if we are to achieve our promotion objective this season. We need to start dominating games over the full 90 minutes rather than for the first 45 and belatedly the last 10 as we did yesterday. We need to score more goals on a regular basis and to finish teams off when we have the game in our hands to win. My player ratings from a game that cast some doubts upon our chances of significantly improving on last season’s points and goals tallies are: Sam Johnstone – 7 – Nice to see him confidently claiming balls in the air. Dived to his left-hand post to gather a header back from Taylor who was under pressure from Bowen on 10 minutes. Made a good double save on 44 minutes from Frazier Campbell with his right leg as the striker tried to turn the ball past him having run inside the box and then punched clear an effort from Grosicki from the edge of the box. Had little to no chance with their equalizer which came from Bowen who had been left totally unmarked. Alan Hutton – 6 – Claimed an assist for our early goal. James Chester - 7 – Solid alongside JT. John Terry – 7 – MOTM - Confident and assured at the heart of our defence. Looked as disappointed as we were with the result. Neil Taylor – 6 – A steady enough performance. Ahmed Elmohamady – 5 – Had a decent first half but faded in the second half as did the team in general. Henri Lansbury – 6 –Ran between two defenders to collect a long ball from inside his own half by Taylor, took the ball from the edge of the box into it before hitting the ball across the face of the goal and wide of the far post on the 2nd minute. Chested down a 30th minute ball into the box from Elmohamady before hitting a decent shot that was gathered by McGregor. Glenn Whelan – 6 – A solid hard-working performance. Leandro Bacuna – 4 – I really do struggle to understand why Leo started yesterday instead of Conor Hourihane who spent a frustrating evening sitting on the bench. Leo put in a shift at times during the first half but his impact on the game was not marked and had become minimal at very best well before his substitution. A deflected 70th minute cross from Taylor fell to him at the far post but his last kick of the game was hurried and flew well over the bar. Gabriel Agbonlahor – 6 – Had a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring on 6 minutes when a nice ball from Lansbury put him clear wide on the left he proceeded to run into the box but he was denied by McGregor’s outstretched hand as he attempted to place the ball past the advancing keeper. Made no mistake just a minute later when Elmohamady fed Hutton who was running to his right. His low cross hurried behind Hogan and in front of Lansbury before falling to Gabby who was unmarked on the edge of the 6-yard box at the far post whose crisp well-placed finish found the far corner of the net. Tired as the game wore on and became increasingly less effective. Scott Hogan – 6 – Made a good run down the left on 21 minutes before pulling the ball back for Lansbury on the edge of the box who did not manage to connect with the ball with his right foot and the ball instead hit his standing foot and was easily picked up by a defender. Dawson’s attempted 27th minute clearance hit Lansbury who found Scott who in turn beat 2 defenders before aiming to push the ball past McGregor only to see it strike his left leg before it was gratefully gathered by the keeper. Could not quite get enough contact on Elmohamady’s deflected 32nd minute cross to turn it in. Substitutes: Andre Green – 6 – Replaced Bacuna on 70 minutes and gave us some energy. Missed a late chance which looked much harder to miss than to score from on 80 minutes. Taylor’s free kick fell to him a couple of feet out near the far post but his header was badly mistimed and went harmlessly across the face of the goal rather than into the net. He will get goals and win games for us this season. Josh Onomah – 6 - Replaced Hogan on 78 minutes and looked a pacey, promising addition to our squad. Chris Samba – Replaced Lansbury on 90 minutes and was immediately pushed up front alongside Gabby. This desperate last toss of the dice did not lead to the late winner Steve Bruce was seeking but Chris put himself about in this unfamiliar role. He was not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  7. This game was very, very friendly and not a lot can be deduced from it. Before the game I expected our visitors to be battling to stay in their present division this season and for us to be striving for promotion preferably without recourse to the play-off lottery. I witnessed nothing to change that opinion yesterday as this game gave little clue concerning how successful each team may or may not be in achieving those objectives. It was fitting that the two football clubs that are most associated with the late Graham Taylor met in this tribute match. There was warm applause from the Hornets fans when the Holte End sang “Graham Taylor’s Claret & Blue Army” during the second half and both sets of fans showed their mutual respect for their former manager throughout. Graham would have liked that. My player ratings from what was a low-key warm-up game in which our new signings shined brightly are: Jed Steer – 6 – I would anticipate that Jed will be our back-up keeper this season now that the injury that kept him out of first team contention is hopefully behind him. Jed looked confident when the ball was played back to him and his kicking was reliable and better than we have grown accustomed to seeing from our keepers of late. Kept out a close range 64th minute effort from substitute Isaac Success out with a little ball juggling and held a low shot on the 83rd minute. Alan Hutton – 6 – Brought down inside the box in the 53rd minute by Kaboul to give us our penalty. Alan had his usual solid no-nonsense game. James Chester - 7 – Looked solid at the back as he so often does. John Terry – 7 – JT looked very composed and found his man on all but one occasion when he had the ball at his feet. We look less likely to concede with him organising the defence and his partnership with Chester looks very promising. Neil Taylor – 6 – A solid enough display. Ahmed Elmohamady – 7 – MOTM – Looked sharp and trickier than I had anticipated he would be when making wide runs. Henri Lansbury – 5 – Hit our 54th minute spot kick to the keeper’s left but Gomes guessed the right way and pulled off a save that kept the score level. Glenn Whelan – 6 – He likes a tackle, doesn’t he? Looks capable of adding the sort of solidity we missed when Jedinak was absent in games last season. Jack Grealish – 5 – Left the field on 26 minutes having appeared to have taken a blow to the ribs. Andre Green – 5 – Made a couple of decent runs. Gabriel Agbonlahor – 5 – Kept himself busy enough in the first half but lacked support alongside him and faded prior to being substituted. Should have done better on the 2nd minute when he was put clear and only had Gomes to beat but he hit his shot straight at the keeper. Substitutes: Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Replaced Grealish on 26 minutes. Leo is still waiting for that Champions League club to come in for him and this sort of performance will not have changed things on that score. Scott Hogan – 6 - Replaced Gabby on 54 minutes. Looked keen to make a positive impact and we will need goals from him in Kodjia’s absence. Birkir Bjarnason – 5 - Replaced Green on 69 minutes. Needs to make a bigger impression in games than he did in this one to start matches for us. Jordan Amavi – Replaced Lansbury on 74 minutes. Jordan was not on quite long enough to earn a rating but it was nice to see him still wearing our shirt and he hit a cross that fell to him on the 76th minute just wide of the post with his first touch. Conor Hourihane – Replaced Whelan on 74 minutes. Hit a firm 87th minute shot from outside of the box that Pantilimon kept out. Needs to start next week. Chris Samba – Replaced JT on 74 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating but it is good to have him available to add his physical presence off the bench in games. James Bree – Replaced Elmohamady on 74 minutes. Not on long enough to merit a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  8. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  9. Aston Villa with nothing to play for save their pride and their fans played their part in defending the integrity of the EFL by not surrendering meekly to a team that needed a win as had Huddersfield last weekend for example. We were reduced to ten men in the 63rd minute when the referee decided the penalty they converted was not quite enough punishment for Baker so it then appeared Brighton were set for the win that they needed to clinch the title. However, their wild goal celebrations proved to be somewhat premature because 10-man Villa kept at it and Grealish hit a late equalizer that handed the trophy to Newcastle. The sorrowful reaction of the Brighton players at the end showed how much the game had mattered to them. No doubt Newcastle fans will accept that we played a major role in bringing them the trophy they collected yesterday and will stop whingeing about our football club for a short time as a result? We finished the season with a plucky point but in the bottom half of the table, albeit top of that bottom half. We now face a vitally important summer during which Steve Bruce will need to make the changes necessary to gather the extra thirtysomething points we will need to secure automatic promotion next season. What yesterday’s game did prove is that in games against Brighton this season there has not been a great deal to choose between the two teams (although it is arguable that we produced our two best performances of the season against them). Brighton who have been promoted have had the consistency that we have lacked and have not had the runs of bad results and poor performances that have blighted our season and cost us any hope we once had of joining them in the top flight next season. Respect is also due to the Seagulls fans who applauded at the right moments, showed appropriate respect and resisted any temptation there may have been to remind us of our under-achievement during this season. Enjoy your return to the top flight and I hope we will join you next season. The highlight of yesterday for me was the half-time appearance of Villa heroes’ Peter McParland and Nigel Sims 60 years on from their 1957 FA Cup win against the Busby Babes. I really hope that we can lift that trophy again for them soon as this is the longest time our club has gone without winning it by some distance. On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to add my late friend Peter Wyper to the list of Villains that we have sadly lost during this season. Pete was a life-long Villa fan who was among those that cheered the 57 cup winners on their return to the city from Wembley. Pete passed away yesterday evening following a lengthy battle with illness. He will be much missed by his family and friends – HEITS. My player ratings from our last game of this disappointing season are: Sam Johnstone – 6 – Was sent the wrong way from the spot but had earlier did very well on the 58th minute to block a shot from Baldock with his legs after the forward had got the better of Baker. Sam also did well to keep out a 77th minute shot from Bruno. If that was to be his last game for us it was a decent one but will it prove to be given he has now found his confidence with us? James Bree – 6 – Was found on the edge of the box by Bacuna on 78 minutes and his shot was deflected just over the bar. James Chester - 7 – Solid enough at the back as usual and is becoming a threat up front. Nathan Baker – 5 – Given his marching orders a little too readily for me in the 63rd minute when he clipped the heel of Baldock as he was pulling the trigger having reacted slower to a header on than the forward had. Neil Taylor – 7 – A good solid overall performance that was his best for us to date for me. Albert Adomah – 4 – Did the best of what work he did when they had the ball. His impact up front was once again only minimal prior to his 61st minute substitution. He is capable of doing a lot more than he did yesterday and than he has done of late. Henri Lansbury – 6 – Hit a decent 13th minute shot from around 30 yards that Stockdale pushed wide for a corner low at his left-hand post. He really should have put us ahead 7 minutes later when Pocognoli chested a Taylor cross back across the face of the goal to him but he turned his header inches wide of the far post with the goal gaping before him. Nice to see both Henri and Hourihane getting forward more often than has recently been the case and they can become a very effective midfield pairing with a pre-season behind them. Conor Hourihane - 7 – MOTM - Bent a free-kick around the wall in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time which Stockdale did well to turn around his post. Hit a 56th minute shot from outside of the box that Stockdale got down low at his left-hand post to keep out and 2 minutes later Davis played the ball back to him inside the box and his shot was again saved by the keeper low at the far post. Eventually took an 85th minute free-kick from the edge of the box following Bacuna’s shenanigans that forced a save from Stockdale. Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Showed the same lack of discipline that led to his recent suspension for getting in the face of a linesman again yesterday when twice forcibly demanding the ball at free-kicks from Hourihane. When did he last score from a free-kick and what leads him to think that he should be in line to take a free-kick ahead of Conor (who tends to force a save rather than prod the ball into the defensive wall)? His petulance was more striking for me than what impact he otherwise had on the game yesterday. Will his name still be found on the team sheet next season or will his long-awaited move to a Champions League team actually happen? Jordan Amavi – 6 – Did well enough playing once again in an advanced role. Scott Hogan – 5 – Pounced on a sloppy half-hit 34th minute back pass from Pocognoli hitting a shot from inside of the box that was deflected just wide by Stockdale’s outstretched leg. Worryingly limped off the field following a clumsy challenge by Sidwell that the referee chose not to show any card for. Substitutes: Keinan Davis – 7 – Replaced Hogan in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time and showed some promise for the future during the second half. Lansbury played a ball into the box for him to run onto on 50 minutes but penalty appeals were ignored by both the referee and his assistant when Dunk slid in to take Davis rather than the ball. He was not quite able to force the ball home near the goal line after Amavi had headed the resulting corner towards Chester at the far post who in turn had headed the ball goalward. Grealish hit a 69th minute cross and having turned nicely he hit a shot that forced a save from Stockdale. Had an opportunity to win the game when the ball fell to him off a defender with a minute of stoppage time remaining. Keinan ran to the edge of the box but his shot was a weak one and was easily held by a relieved Stockdale. Jack Grealish – 7 - Replaced Adomah on 61 minutes. Hit our late equalizer on the 89th minute. Taylor played the ball to him near the edge of the box and his curled shot went past a couple of defenders as well as remarkably keeper Stockdale who was left on his knees having failed to get anything on the ball as it went past him. This was a clear step up on some recent displays from Jack. Tommy Elphick – 5 - Replaced Amavi on 65 minutes. Half hit a 68th minute back pass that Murray ran onto before playing the ball unselfishly back to Baldock who saved Tommy’s blushes by making a hash of the scoring opportunity which left the ball being played clear after it hit Chester’s leg rather than the back of the net. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  10. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  11. Ratings & Reactions: Villa v SHA

    Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  12. This was a dire game. Our visitors from the dark side of the city showed exactly why they are in real danger of relegation and we showed why we were unable to sustain a promotion challenge this season. But sometimes winning is everything! Small Heath needed a win but they were not good enough to get one or a draw! We needed to put on a show for those 38,000 Villa fans that paid good money to witness this local derby but we lacked either the ability or the desire to put our opponents to the sword in the way that we had hoped we would. This was some way off being an end to end derby that will stick in our memories like some have in the past but the win will always be there on paper as will the impact it may ultimately have on the final league table. The game was drifting towards a goalless draw before the introduction of Small Heath’s nemesis Gabby with just 31 minutes remaining. His introduction enthused the Villa fans or was it the Villa fans that inspired him to produce a match-winning performance? How our win and the fact that Gabby scored it with his first goal in 14 months must have rubbed salt into the wounds for our neighbours. They now need points from their two remaining games of the season or failing that favours from the teams that Blackburn (who are currently 2 points behind them) have left to play if they are to avoid the drop. Given we are Blackburn’s next opponents I’m sure that we will do everything we can to help them in their latest relegation battle. Should they sadly fail in that battle and we therefore lose the opportunity to play them next season I’m sure we will not take any pleasure whatsoever from that. This win takes us back into the top half of the table, takes us over 60 points, extends our unbeaten league run against Bloose to 7-games and secures our rightful position as the cream of Brum. My player ratings from a game before which we paid our respects to Ugo and after which the players celebrated a derby win with some gusto as did we are: Sam Johnstone – 6 – Seldom had any cause for concern but will have been relieved when Adams hit the best opportunity of the first half well over. Kept a 64th minute on-target effort from inside the box from Davis out with an outstretched hand. Alan Hutton – 6 – Worked hard, wanted the win and once again demonstrated that he is comfortable at this level. James Chester - 7 – Has had busier days but he held the defence together when needed and made his usual timely interventions. Headed a 63rd minute Lansbury free-kick well over the bar and played a part in the goal as did Baker and Hogan. Nathan Baker – 7 – Commanding in the air today. His position is undoubtedly in the centre of the defence alongside Chester asking him to do anything else lessens his effectiveness markedly. Neil Taylor – 7 – We looked much more assured at the back on his return. Albert Adomah – 4 – This was another game that passed him by and we need to see so much more from him particularly in the final third of the field if he is to merit the starting place he was again given today. Henri Lansbury – 6 – Worked hard to secure the win but we really do need to work at getting the goals from him that he was able to produce for fun at Forest by next season by giving him the freedom to get forward more. Mile Jedinak - 7 – So solid in the middle today. Made several strong challenges and won many a ball in the air with consummate ease. Leandro Bacuna – 4 – Astonishing to see him start with Hourihane left on the bench. I struggle to see what he brought to the team today that Conor would not have been able to. Jack Grealish – 5 – As a local lad I had expected much more from him today but he was given little space by the opposition and seemed reticent to make the sort of forward runs he is capable of prior to his substitution. Scott Hogan – 5 – Suffered from a lack of service but did little to worry the defenders he came up against and showed that he needs a striker alongside him. Headed a 15th minute Bacuna cross wide that he stretched for but was unable to get high enough to direct. Substitutes: Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – MOTM - Replaced Grealish on 59 minutes. He really was up for this one and he made the difference with this brief reprise of the sort of performance he once produced for us. He ran after lost causes like the Duracell bunny, won balls in the air and scored our sweet winner and his 5th goal against Small Heath on 68 minutes. Baker won the ball from a Lansbury corner which was then headed on by Chester before Baker headed on a partial clearance and Hogan got a slight touch on it before it fell to Gabby who moving back onto it clipped the ball into the top corner of the net with aplomb. Gary Gardner – Replaced Adomah on 75 minutes. Not on quite long enough to earn a rating but showed a willingness to chase the ball down more than once. Conor Hourihane – Replaced Hogan on 83 minutes. He needs to start games and as is the case with Lansbury we need to get him to the level he was consistently performing at with his former club by the start of next season. Not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  13. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  14. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  15. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  16. Ratings & Reactions: Villa v QPR

    Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  17. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  18. Our third consecutive home win against the Canaries brought us potentially just 7 more wins away from making it into the play off’s. This had seemed an impossible dream only six games ago, it has now become an improbable one but with each win we get it becomes a little more possible. We have 7 games left before the final reckoning. We probably need 21 points from these 7 games or 19 at the very minimum. We have taken 18 points from our last 7 games. Fulham will need to get another 12 points from their last 7 games to make what we manage to get academic but we face them in what could be a 6-pointer on Easter Monday and they have taken 6 points less than we have from their last 7 games. Sheffield Wednesday slipped out of the top 6 yesterday having managed only 5 points from their last 7 games. The other 3 teams that are currently 2, 3 & 4 points respectively above us have managed 8, 6 & 10 points from their last 7 games. As Steve Bruce said after the win “We’re making a fist of it”. Our visitors will be unhappy to come away with nothing to show for their contribution to yesterday’s game. They pushed us back too often and for too long for my liking particularly in the second half and enjoyed 69% of the possession. As we dropped deeper a goal seemed increasingly likely but it was Villa that scored it in the 87th minute to calm our nerves. We have found the means to win games like this one. We now have goals in us and the ability to see out games where in the past we had thrown points away in the closing minutes. This is our third consecutive win and clean sheet. We have conceded 1 goal and scored 11 in our last 7 games. That is promotion form! My player ratings from a game that took us up to eleventh in the table and took us 3 points behind our visitors who finished 17 points clear of us last season are: Sam Johnstone – 7 – Looking increasingly confident and will no doubt claim an assist for our second. Jerome was found by the impressive Pritchard on the edge of the box on the 11th minute who then ran into the box pushing the ball wide of challenges from Baker and then Chester before hitting a weak shot that deflected wide of the post off Johnstone. Came off his line well to deny Jerome on 35 minutes and then got in the way of the follow up shot. Alan Hutton – 6 – Did a decent job at the back. James Chester - 7 – He is so reliable and marshalled the defence very well yesterday. Nathan Baker – 7 – Looked very solid and did the simple things that needed doing at the back well and without any fuss. Neil Taylor – 6 – A steady performance after what has been a difficult time for him. Albert Adomah – 6 – Made some good runs especially in the first quarter of the game but his final ball went astray too often. Hit a cross for Hogan on 7 minutes but his header was well wide. Hit another on the 70th minute but Kodjia touched the ball inches wide of the far post. Henri Lansbury – 7 – Worked tirelessly in our midfield yesterday. Mile Jedinak - 7 – Solid when we were under pressure and popped up at each end of the field to ensure our hard-earned victory. This was demonstrated on 79 minutes when he managed to get a foot to the ball just as an opponent was about to pull the trigger. Conor Hourihane – 6 – Hit the top of the bar with a 60th minute header after Bennett had found him with an attempted clearance near the line from a Baker header. Scott Hogan – 7 – Looked good yesterday before injury forced him off the pitch on 37 minutes. Scott showed signs of forming a decent partnership with Kodja prior to that and set him up for our opening goal. Hourihane hit a 33rd minute cross which found him in the middle of the box. Scott turned nicely before hitting a crisp low shot that McGovern saved at the foot of his post. Let’s hope he is back for QPR. Jonathan Kodjia – 8 – MOTM – Scored the two goals that separated the two teams yesterday. Hogan found him with a nicely weighted ball to his right on 25 minutes. Jonathan ran into the box with it and hit the ball sweetly with his left foot into the top corner of the net past the keeper and Pinto who was on the line. He played a one-two with Adomah on 64 minutes and then unselfishly tried to find Albert again inside the box when for once a shot may have been the better option. Scored our second on 87 minutes to clinch the win. Johnstone hit the ball from his own box to the edge of the other one where Kodjia ran onto it squeezing between Bennett and McGovern to prod the ball past the keeper for his 17th goal of the season. Substitutes: Jordan Amavi – 7 – Replaced Hogan on 37 minutes and did very well. His pace caused our visitors some real problems in the second half not least on 80 minutes when he was brought down by Pinto having gone past the player who earned a second yellow as a result. Gary Gardner – 4 - Replaced Hourihane on 69 minutes and disappointingly made little to no positive impression on the game. Andre Green – Replaced Lansbury on the 87th minute making a welcome albeit a brief return from injury. He was not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  19. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  20. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  21. This turned out to be something other than the result that our visitors had hoped for when arriving at Villa Park yesterday. They lost 2-0 to dent their promotion hopes and had both a player and their manager sent off. We claimed a third successive home win yesterday and by doing so moved into the top half of the table. We were informed “you can only win by cheating” on exiting the ground by a couple of unhappy visiting fans who must have mistaken us for the match officials. We must have been cheating on a regular basis of late given we have now won 4 of our last 5 games! This win has brought Sheffield Wednesday’s advantage over us down to 14 points with 9 games left to play and with a maximum of 27 points achievable for us. They will now begin to look increasingly anxiously over their shoulders at Fulham if not quite far enough down the table to us as the race for the play-off places goes down to the wire. There was not a lot between the teams yesterday and given we had lost Lansbury in the warm-up and Baker on 25 minutes due to injury that was quite an achievement for our injury hit side. Things changed when Sasso deservedly took an early bath after a wild 48th minute lunging challenge in the middle of the field on Hourihane in which he left his foot dangerously high. There was no cause for complaint at his dismissal although Carlos Carvalhal found plenty and his histrionics earned him a place in the stands rather than the place on our bench that he had tried to occupy before he made his increasingly amusing exit. Kodjia put the result beyond any reasonable doubt with his second goal in the 79th minute. We had again dropped too deep and invited 10-man Wednesday to make a late comeback either side of that decisive goal. Nevertheless, our defence stood firm to achieve another welcome clean sheet and we may yet find ourselves finishing surprisingly close to sixth place at the end of this season. My player ratings from a game during which Barry Bannan gave a solid performance before warmly applauding the Holte End at the end of it are: Sam Johnstone – 6 – Not too busy an afternoon for Sam who got down well to hold an 89th minute shot from Hunt having earlier done well to block a 17th minute effort from Winnall following a rare Chester error. James Bree – 6 – Took a few minutes to fully appreciate what his role was on Hutton’s introduction but soon looked comfortable. He looked very promising yesterday. Got on the end of a 27th minute cross from Amavi hitting the side netting at the far post. James Chester - 7 – Inexplicably passed the ball directly to Reach who ran on gratefully before feeding Winnall inside the box whose 17th minute shot was kept out well by the outstretched right leg of Johnstone. Other than that, his defending was impeccable as usual. Nathan Baker – 6 – Substituted on 25 minutes following a clash of heads after being all too readily booked by referee Lee Probert in the 4th minute. Neil Taylor – 7 – Got forward more than he has done in a Villa shirt so far and this was his best performance for us to date. Albert Adomah – 7 – Made a nice run into the box on 51 minutes before finding Hutton who hit the ball wide of the post applying a defender’s finish when a goal had looked on. His good run gave him an assist for our second. Gary Gardner – 5 – Got an unexpected start when Lansbury picked up an injury during the warm-up. Kept busy but was unable to put his stamp on the game in a midfield supplemented by full backs. Conor Hourihane - 7 – Held the makeshift midfield together as well as could be hoped for from his central role. Placed a ball that had run on to him inside of the box just wide of the post on 69 minutes. Claimed an assist for our opener with his well hit cross. Mile Jedinak – 8 – MOTM – Mile had strong claims to being our best midfield player as well as our best defender yesterday. Adapted very well in central defence when we lost Baker mid-way through the first half and looked both comfortable as well as untroubled. Got on the end of a ball into the box from Hourihane on 19 minutes but his header flew over the bar. Won everything in the air and kept Rhodes in check. Narrowly beat two goal hero Kodjia to the MOTM award in my opinion. Jordan Amavi – 6 – For me Jordan possesses the ability to play further up front than in his more familiar full or wing back roles but he does not quite seem to appreciate that himself at the moment. Hunt went down very easily inside the box claiming a penalty having felt Amavi’s arm on his shoulder but fortunately the referee gave the decision our way. Did a decent job. Jonathan Kodjia – 8 – Scored the two goals that gave us our welcome win and held the ball up well at times. Tried to turn in a bouncing ball from wide of the goal but his effort was gathered by Westwood on the 17th minute. Failed to quite get a touch to the ball on the 65th minute when a shooting opportunity would have been there for the taking had he been able to do so as had also been the case some minutes earlier. Jonathan made no mistake on the 34th minute when Hourihane played a one-two with Bree from a corner before hitting a pinpoint cross that Johnathan climbed above Hunt and headed sweetly past Westwood into the net to finish a move that came from the training ground at either Barnsley or Bodymoor Heath. Scored his second after Adomah had found him nicely following a good run into the box on 79 minutes. Jonathan took the ball past Westwood and hit the ball into the net for his 15th goal of the season job done. Substitutes: Alan Hutton – 7 – Surprisingly Alan was the player chosen to replace Baker on 25 minutes rather than central defender Elphick. Gave a very solid performance. Alan spent a fair bit of time waving that he was free for a pass that might give him a goal-scoring opportunity but having had such an opportunity and having screwed the ball wide on 51 minutes it was perhaps not unsurprising that players mostly looked for other options. Did very well in an unfamiliar role yesterday and could yet land another contract for next season given his present form, determination and work rate. Tommy Elphick – Replaced Adomah on 82 minutes and was not on long enough to earn a rating. Keinan Davis – Replaced match-winner Kodjia on the 86th minute so he was also not on long enough to gather a rating. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  22. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  23. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  24. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.
  25. Your ratings and reactions please. Keep it respectful even if you know everyone else is wrong. The players' names will be added to the poll when a mod gets chance.