Villa cruised to a 2-0 win against Birmingham City and moved into the automatic promotion spots.
Bruce only change from last week against Burton was Jedinak starting ahead of Bikir Bjarnason. Something I would’ve done as derbies are always more physical and suited to the Australians style of play.
It was a high pressure start from Villa. Jack Grealish came close with a long ranger, before Scott Hogan took on Jaques Maghoma prior crashing the bouncing ball off the crossbar.
Then Marc Roberts was in the right place at the right time to block Hogans shot from Albert Adomah’s square ball.
And provider almost turned scorer as Adomah tested the palms of David Stockdale.
For all of Villa’s chances, it was Birmingham who went the closest in the first-half. Sam Gallagher made the most of a rare slip from John Terry before hitting a shot across Sam Johnstone onto the inside of the post.
On the rebound, perhaps the easier chance to score, the former Southampton striker fluffed his lines and cleared the ball over the crossbar.
The away side were incredibly lucky minutes into the second-half. John Terry’s header was headed onto his own crossbar by Harlee Dean.
So when Villa’s first goal did eventually come, it was nothing less than they deserved. Jack Grealish played a ball inside to Adomah. The Ghanaian hit a shot first time off the inside of the post.
Birmingham were rocking. All they did was commit foul after foul, and Cheikh N’Doye was lucky not to get sent off after a stamp on Grealish.
With less than ten minutes to go, Connor Hourihane scored in what was his defining moment in a Villa shirt so far. The Irishman taking the ball on his chest before looping it over David Stockdale from 25 yards. It doesn’t get better than that!
Roberts hit the bar late on for the Blues, and to compile their misery, Cheikh N’Doye picked up a second yellow for standing on Jedinak.
We’re getting to the business end of the season now, and for the first time since relegation, Villa are in the top two!
Jack Grealish – Grealish was the best player on the pitch by a mile. The 22-year-old did excellently to set up Adomah’s opener. Will we look back at this as his coming of age game?