Aston Villa didn’t play particularly well, but made it three from three against Yeovil Town tonight via a flash of brilliance from Jonathan Kodjia and the resulting goal from Conor Hourihane.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Yeovil started the livelier of the sides at Huist Park this evening, not letting Aston Villa anywhere close to their box.
Sporting their brand new third kit, revealed just under two hours before kick-off, Aston Villa gave a number of young players a well deserved chance from the off, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Jake Doyle-Hayes and Andres Moreira all starting.
A number of players who may find their game time reduced this season, such as Neil Taylor and Glenn Whelan, also got the nod.
Andres Moreira showed why Atletico Madrid had kept him on the books in around the 13th minute, after a curling Yeovil shot – which was going wide – was acrobatically saved by the Portuguese youth international, making sure that he wouldn’t be ruing not jumping for the save. The shot came from a lapse of judgement from Axel Tuanzebe, who had shown great pace to get to the ball initially.
Within the first twenty minutes, the Villa side really didn’t find a rhythm in the game – creating more problems for themselves than chances, and looking relatively rusty on the ball.
Conor Hourihane found himself yellow carded in the 23rd minute, after a mistake from Villa’s number 14 left him in no man’s land and with no choice but to drag the player that dispossessed him back.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy had Villa’s best chance of the first 25, with a scuffed shot that found itself bouncing awry. The build up to the shot was promising though, with Jake Doyle-Hayes, Andre Green and Hepburn-Murphy all linking delightfully.
Aston Villa had their first corner of the game just before the half hour mark, but this came to nothing. After this corner though, Villa’s best period of the game came, with the side putting a number of balls into the box and stringing some wonderful passes together.
In the 32nd minute, Reece Cole came off for Alex Pattinson for the home side, after the Yeovil Town player pulled up with a thigh problem. Just two minutes later, Axel Tuanzebe cleared a ball off the line after some poor defending saw Yeovil’s Alex Fisher have a shot that he really should have buried.
Andre Green had a shot from range in the 38th minute which very nearly came off for the youngster, leaving Baxter to only just tip it over the bar.
Yeovil had an incredible chance just after, with Tuanzebe saving the day as the home side found themselves in front of an open goal. The resulting corner from Tuanzebe’s clearance was scored by Yeovil, but was disallowed for a foul on Glenn Whelan – luckily for Aston Villa.
Just before the half, Jake Doyle-Hayes was booked for a rash challenge – before the sides went in for the break at 0-0.
The second half started with Aston Villa making no changes.
Just before the 50th minute, Aston Villa had a shout for a penalty as Conor Hourihane had two shots blocked, with the second hitting the out-stretched arm of a floored Yeovil defender – but the referee didn’t give it.
Andres Moreira had the Villa fans clutching their seats in the 53rd minute as he rushed out to meet a Yeovil long ball that landed outside of the box, but luckily the Portuguese keeper got his head to it and let Neil Taylor clean up the mess.
In the 56th, Aston Villa saw Jake Doyle-Hayes replaced by Jack Grealish and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy replaced by Jonathan Kodjia. Both had decent games, and put in an abundance of effort, but it didn’t really have much of an effect on the game’s proceedings.
Moreira then endeared himself to the Aston Villa fans on his debut just before the 60th minute as Tommy Elphick conceded a penalty, which Alex Fisher stepped up to take, before Andres Moreira saved it to his left.#
Jack Grealish very nearly gave Aston Villa the lead, under ten minutes after his arrival on the pitch, with a great strike from distance that struck the bar.
A piece of pure brilliance from Jonathan Kodjia proved to be the breakthrough for Aston Villa in the 77th minute as he found himself near the corner flag, showing some great skill to get to the goalkeeper’s near post and pass the ball across the box for Conor Hourihane to bury home.
James Bree came on with eight minutes until the 90, replacing Andre Green and allowing Ritchie De Laet to move forward onto the wing.
Six minutes were added on after the 90, but Aston Villa looked to steady what looked to be a close-to-capsizing ship during the second half and were able to nullify Yeovil’s search for an equaliser.