Aston Villa 2 – 0 Bristol City
Mid-table obscurity. After last season and first six months of this, it’s something I’ve been craving. The offer of stability that comes with it is too good to turn down.
The fairy tale element of Jonathan Kodjia scoring was apposite. Let’s be honest, the first forty-five minutes were fairly grim. A thunderous penalty left the crossbar rattling and the striker rattled; he got grief from the Wurzels whenever he touched the ball but in this footballing tale, he had the last laugh.
A million pounds per goal so far; his twelfth of the season probably felt as sweet as any other, if not sweeter. Conor Hourihane got the second, Kodjia obligingly set it up to complete the headline performance.
City had served warning at Derby and Newcastle that weren’t goal-shy and began well. Wright hit the bar from Cotterill’s free-kick while Smith was a threat in the early stages. But failing to score when they were on top, came back to haunt the Robins.
The second half was a far better affair. He grabbed the opening goal with an outstanding header
While Kodjia took the headlines, Jedinak was the Man of the Match. He was strong in the centre of the park, and came close to breaking the deadlock before a deflection saved City. Green once more produced a performance of sprightly promise and his impish quality should have given us the lead but instead, he found the side-netting.
The yokels disagreed with award of the penalty and to be honest there was an element of the ‘homer’ about it. Gardner got to the ball first granted but away from home, most referees don’t have the bottle to award them. As for the spot kick, the less said the better.
It was a miss which took the wind out of our sails. The lack of confidence in the side manifested in a lacklustre spell. Passing for passing’s sake took a grip, even though possession was ceded cheaply along the way.
After the break, we were much improved. Hourihane saw a cross cleared off the line while Kodjia went close.
And then it happened; the princess kissed the frog and then everyone lived happily ever after. Unless you were going home via the M5. Adomah had a fairly poor evening but his cross found Kodjia and the ball ended up in the net. Sometimes the perfect cross is wasted, this time a mishit cross was turned into a pearl of a header.
But our vulnerability was immediately apparent when Sam Johnstone turned Wilbraham’s header onto the bar. A vital moment in the season? Certainly in the ninety minutes. Anything City could do, we did better. Green struck as sweet a shot as well as he will throughout his career but was thwarted by the woodwork.
Victory was sealed when Kodjia robbed Bryan of the ball and found Adomah, whose mishit shot fell to Hourihane. No mistake and Albert, keep mishitting the ball as much as you want if it’s going to lead to goals.
The rest of the match passed without much ado. There was certainly nothing to write home about, not even for Shakespeare. It’s not often we have such a literary night at Villa Park but what the heck. We’re nowhere near the top of the table, further away from the bottom.
What more could you ask for?