Matt Targett’s first Aston Villa goal meant that Dean Smith’s side go into a tough run of games with back-to-back wins.

Words: @Hazatrand

A 94th minute Matty Targett winner gave Villa all three points against a stubborn Brighton side. The Pride now sit 11th and three points off the drop zone.

It was the Seagulls who started on the front foot. Tyrone Mings cleared a cross straight to Aaron Connolly who thankfully skied the ball over the bar.

But Brighton kept coming and seemingly always had a man over in midfield. Therefore it was no shock when they deservedly took the lead; Pascal Gross’ free-kick was headed in at the back post by an unmarked Adam Webster.

Villa rallied after that goal though, with Conor Hourihane testing Maty Ryan with a low free-kick and McGinn heading straight at the Brighton goalkeeper soon after.

Neil Maupay was proving to be Brighton’s dangerman, he worked Tom Heaton with a low drive. The Frenchman then slipped Connolly on goal but the 19-year-old was foiled by the onrushing Villa keeper.

Brighton were down to ten with 35 minutes gone. Aaron Mooy received his marching orders after hacking down Jack Grealish from behind. From the resulting set-piece, Hourihane saw his shot parried straight to McGinn, the Scot unable to match his Scotland goalscoring exploits with his shot hitting the side netting.

Villa should’ve been level when Conor Hourihane rifled in McGinn’s lay off. However, the dreaded VAR ruled out the Irishman’s goal after it was deemed Wesley had bundled into Maty Ryan in the build-up.

But the Pride were even in stoppage time at the end of the first half; Frédéric Guilbert’s low cross was met by a sliding Grealish who grabbed his first Premier League goal at Villa Park.

In the second half, Hourihane had a chance to stick two fingers up at VAR and put Villa ahead. However, the Irishman blasted Targett’s square straight at Ryan and Anwar El Ghazi couldn’t follow up with the rebound.

Brighton were still a threat despite their numerical disadvantage. Maupay peeled off Bjorn Engels to meet Marvin Montaya’s cross but his effort bounced wide of Heaton’s left-hand post.

With 35 mins left, a scramble in Villa penalty area led to Montaya firing straight at Heaton. Then Trezeguet, who’d come on for Hourihane moments earlier, swung in a deep ball which El Ghazi headed wide.

Substitute Douglas Luiz is getting quite the reputation with goals from range, he flashed an effort just wide from Grealish’s lay off. Moments later Keinan Davis, Villa’s final substitute, used his strength to create a shooting space for himself from an angle which ultimately proved too tight to beat Ryan from.

It seemed Villa would end the game rueing a draw despite their man advantage, but thankfully they didn’t. At the very death Grealish, who’d been the standout man for the Pride, weaved his way around the Brighton backline prior to finding Targett. The former Saints left-back proceeded to send the Villa Park crowd into raptures by lifting the ball past Ryan at his near post. A satisfying three points to say the least!  

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