It’s another game where we pick up a point at home. In terms of the way the game went I’ll take it, but in the grand scheme of things we needed all three to close the gap between us and the play-offs.
Bacuna was in the team again as well as Bunn. Bacuna has been solid in recent weeks, and although Bunn is probably worse at shot stopping than Gollini, he’s less likely to make any silly mistakes. Bruce finally played Kodjia where he should be, upfront, while Grealish started just behind him in the number ten role.
We started really well. Kodjia harassed the Leeds defence to begin with, and he would have put us one-nil up if it weren’t for a goal saving block from Jansson. Nevertheless, we continued to bombard our neighbours from Yorkshire. Green also saved a Kodjia longshot soon after.
As the first-half went on, Leeds came more and more into the game, but the only time I was worried was when Chester had to make a block on Roofe’s shot from close range. Talking of Roofe, at one point he received a powerful pass and somehow jumped on the ball to control it. Cue classic (dreadful) commentator banter, “That was you on the dancefloor the other night Martin”.
Anyway, the nearest we came in the first-half was when Chester got on the end of a cross. Unfortunately for the Welshman, his looping header fell just wide of the post. Big up Ashley Westwood by the way, one of our fittest players. He put in a cross which got cleared, then ran all the way back to our penalty area to stop Doukara getting a shot away.
In the second-half McCormack came on for Grealish who had a dead leg. He’s definitely one of the better Championship players in that CAM position, old Ross. First thing he did was make a run down the line so Hutton could play him in. It came to nothing but the Scotsman gave the Leeds defence an extra thing to think about.
Then Leeds scored. Baker lost Jannson and the Leeds defender headed the ball right at Bunn. Somehow the ball found its way in, suddenly, we had some work to do. Minutes later Jannson found himself in space in the area again, hitting the bar with a sweet volley. It took a while for Villa to switch on again, Kodjia went on a powerful run and shot from a tight angle, but the shot was punched out by a flying Rob Green. Then McCormack pulled the ball back to Ayew whose shot lacked sufficient curl.
At this point I was getting frustrated. Too many times we played the long ball when the simple pass into feet was on. Bruce recognised this and brought on Gestede as well as Adomah.
Then came the penalty. Liam Cooper jumped with Gestede and decided to give him a pat on the head, and subsequently handled the ball. After some debate with the assistant Roger East gave it. Kodjia, stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way unlike on Saturday. 1-1. Now it was game on.
The last fifteen minutes were manic with both teams clearly wanting all three points. Amavi was too casual with a long ball, letting Sacko in. The Frenchman made amends, punishing Sacko for the extra touch by sliding in for the block, which resulted in the ball crashing off the bar. Then Kodjia found himself one on one against Green, but his shot was stopped by Green who came off his line very quickly. Bunn saves us at the other end came out to foil Sacko after a lovely through ball by Hernandez. Then without a breather, Kodjia goes through on goal, stalls a bit and sends his shot wide. Phew!
And that was it. It’s not a brilliant point, but it’s a point that’ll keep us in play-off contention.