Aston Villa came from behind twice to secure a point against Stoke at Villa Park this evening as poor weather hit Birmingham hard.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Aston Villa started the game on the front foot, getting the ball into the box within the first twenty or so seconds.
But it was Stoke who had the first chance of the game, as Joe Allen hit a shot on the half-volley which Orjan Nyland had covered relatively comfortably by putting it out for a corner at his near post.
And it was Nyland again who was the key to keeping the teams level around the ten minute mark, as Martina played a long ball to the far post to James McClean who fired towards goal – where Nyland saved it before Hourihane attempted to clear.
Aston Villa’s first real chance of the first twenty-five minutes came from a Conor Hourihane free-kick, which was curling into the top corner – but Jack Butland managed to stand tall and tip it over the bar.
Stoke’s Tom Ince was the first yellow card of the game in the 31st minute as he hauled Yannick Bolasie to the ground near the box on the left hand side of the pitch.
And really, those were the only key moments in a rather torrid, windy first half worth talking about. Much of the game was being played in the midfield.
At half time, Aston Villa had enjoyed 59% of the possession, one shot on target and five corners – yet the fooball wasn’t really entertaining from either side.
With just 90 seconds of the first half gone, Joe Allen gave the visitors the lead after Alan Hutton failed to clear the ball and Stoke City were able to play another ball into the box, which Allen rifled into the roof of the net.
James McClean was booked early into the second half for impeding Orjan Nyland who was attempting to start a counter attack.
In around the 54th minute, Aston Villa began to ramp up the pressure – with Tammy Abraham forcing Jack Butland into a save, before the ball was crossed back into the box by El Ghazi, which Bolasie missed an overhead kick on, and then again by Hourihane which El Ghazi side footed straight into Butland’s arms.
Around ten minutes later, Anwar El Ghazi was replaced by Jonathan Kodjia.
Around the 70 minute mark, Aston Villa were awarded a penalty as Jonathan Kodjia was pulled to the ground inside the box. Ryan Shawcross was booked for the aforementioned foul.
Tammy Abraham stepped up to take the penalty, and put it into the bottom left corner – with Butland diving the opposite way – levelling to two sides with around eighteen minutes to go.
But then, just a few minutes later, James McClean was tripped as he marauded into the box by Ahmed Elmohamady – and Stoke had a penalty which substitute Benik Afobe slotted just past Orjan Nyland – who dived the right way, but couldn’t stop Stoke from regaining the lead.
Jonathan Kodjia was booked with around 9 minutes to go of the 90, as he was forced to foul James McClean after another mistake by Ahmed Elmohamady.
In the 83rd, Jonathan Kodjia managed to level the sides again as Yannick Bolasie whipped a ball into the box, which Tammy Abraham missed – but it fell to Kodjia who headed into the bottom right. Right afterwards, Scott Hogan replaced Glenn Whelan.
With two minutes of normal time left, Peter Crouch arrived on the pitch for the visitors, with Tom Ince coming off.
As the conditions worsened, five minutes of added time were added to the clock. Scott Hogan had an opportunity or two to get a third, but the conditions, and the ball, just weren’t falling his way.
John McGinn was booked just before the 95th. And that was it.