In football, a draw always comes back to that old cliche. They weren’t good enough to win it, but they weren’t bad enough to lose it, and that was Villa this evening.
Admittedly, we did look the better team once Steve Bruce switched to four at the back. But why did Bruce ever think it was a good idea to start with a back three containing two of the slowest players in the Championship, Chris Samba and John Terry?
Anyway, after 20 minutes on the back foot, Bruce did make the change. Hopefully that’s the last we see of the 3-5-2 this season because we just don’t have the personnel to do it.
In terms of first half opportunities, neither team had much to shout about. Andre Green stung the palms of Frank Fielding, and Ahmed Elmohamedy went close despite Connor Hourihane’s heavy pass sending him wide of goal.
Hourihane nearly opened the scoring in spectacular fashion in the second half. Spotting Fielding off his line, the Irishman tried a half volley from 40 yards which dropped just wide of the mark.
But it was the home side who struck the first blow. Villa’s defence made a dogs dinner of clearing City’s free kick, allowing Jamie Paterson to find the bottom corner once the ball eventually fell to him.
Big surprise, Villa Twitter went into meltdown again, but luckily it was only six minutes before we equalized.
The ball broke to Josh Onomah, and from a fair way out, the youngster just hit it. The ball took a fortuitous deflection off Marlon Pack before looping over Fielding and into the net. The England U21 international showed that sometimes, you just gotta hit it!
Fortune was on our side after that. Eros Pisano’s cross lobbed Johnstone but fortunately the ball came off the inside of the post with no one in a red shirt following in.
For the last ten minutes there really was just one team attacking, with Villa pilling the pressure on. Despite this, Nathan Baker and the rest of the Bristol defence just wouldn’t buckle.
The last real chance came to Bikir Bjarnason, who had bags of time and space to cross. But the Icelandic international, like so many Villa players this season, decided to play the hero, cutting inside before getting tackled.
In the end, although Villa might have deserved a little more than just a point for their efforts, it was good to not lose away for once. I do think as well that having someone who can hold the ball up top, as Keinan Davis did, is crucial for getting anything out of these matches on the road.
Josh Onomah – The midfielder was a cut above anyone else on the pitch this evening with some classy touches and impressive link up play, not to mention his goal. Is Onomah someone Bruce builds his team around this season?