A ten man Bournemouth managed to hold off Aston Villa and deny a share of the spoils this afternoon.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth this afternoon, in a relegation six-pointer.
Bournemouth started the stronger of the two sides – forcing Pepe Reina into two comfortable saves within the first fifteen minutes.
Jack Grealish looked lively within the first half an hour, curling a cross towards Douglas Luiz at the far post, before attempting a shot himself that hit the post.
Ten minutes before half-time, Bournemouth’s Francis produced a crucial block to deny Samatta a Premier League debut goal.
Tyrone Mings was booked shortly after for a needless challenge, which resulted in Aston Villa conceding. The free-kick was knocked into the box before Francis put a ball into the box that was headed down into the path of Phillip Billing which allowed the midfielder to bury the ball into the bottom left corner.
In the 43rd minute, Douglas Luiz conceded a free-kick on the edge of the Aston Villa box which was cleared cleary and cam back in with a shot that was parried poorly by Pepe Reina and into the path of Nathan Ake, who buried the ball.
Grealish had an opportunity to respond from a tight angle directly after – but his shot-cross was parried out for a corner that came to nothing before the half-time whistle was blown.
The second half saw Ezri Konsa replaced by Bjorn Engels in defence.
Bournemouth, after six minutes of the second half, were reduced to ten men as Jefferson Lerma picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Jack Grealish.
The resulting free-kick provided a decent opportunity for Bjorn Engels to head home, but the Belgian headed over the bar – and took a punch to the face for his troubles. VAR checked for a possible penalty but it was not given.
Aston Villa’s second change of the game came in the 57th minute, as Keinan Davis replaced Anwar El Ghazi.
Callum Wilson had a huge opportunity to put the game out of reach for Bournemouth, but the forward would be disappointed with his effort which went wide.
Directly after, Matt Targett could have scored – but Francis cleared the wing-backs shot off the line.
Mbwana Samatta fired hope into Aston Villa 20 minutes from time as Jack Grealish played in Davis, who was strong against the challenge before getting a shot away that ricocheted into the air – before Samatta scored Aston Villa’s first headed goal of the season on the rebound effort after reacting the quickest.
Aston Villa made their final change of the evening ten minutes from time, as Marvelous Nakmba was replaced by Trezeguet.
Dean Smith’s side continued to push towards an equaliser as the clock kicked down, but it looked no closer after Samatta’s goal.
The game ended with Aston Villa trying to knick another late one as previous, but to no avail.