Aston Villa looked lifeless at St. Mary’s this afternoon, leaving themselves with a mountain to climb in the remaining games this season.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled down south to St. Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton, who before this game were one of the worst sides at their home ground this season.
The opening six minutes of the game was all in favour of the home side. Balls rained down into Aston Villa’s box – but impressively most of them were headed back out by Tyrone Mings.
Shane Long scored his NINTH career goal against Aston Villa in the 8th minute as Djenepo caught a loose ball well following a poor poke from Marvelous Nakamba, playing the ball into the near post where Shane Long was to tap the ball past Pepe Reina.
Pepe Reina worked his way into trouble ten minutes later by trying to flick the ball to Frederic Guilbert on the right, who couldn’t win the ball – allowing a ball through to Danny Ings who fired towards goal – but Reina made amends with a strong save with his foot.
Djenepo had a chance in the 26th minute to put the game further out of reach – with Pepe Reina making another strong save – but it was his clip forward again that had caused the issue in the first place.
Anwar El Ghazi was replaced by Trezeguet in the 28th minute after taking a trailing arm to the face and the medical staff decided that the winger could not continue.
There was a break in the play 33 minutes in as Djenepo clashed with Marvelous Nakamba and started to bleed from his eye.
Aston Villa thought they had equalised seven minutes before half-time as Samatta had the ball in the net – but the Tanzanian forward was flagged offside.
Marvelous Nakamba produced an excellent block in the 41st minute to deny Armstrong a shot on goal.
Ezri Konsa received a booking in added time for attempting to bring Djenepo down in the 48th minute.
Aston Villa started better in the second half, but continued to invite pressure from Southampton and looked to have lost their way by the 55th minute mark.
Pepe Reina was forced into another strong save from a Hojbjerg volley just before the hour mark. Aston Villa had still not managed a shot on target by this point.
Ezri Konsa was replaced by Conor Hourihane in the 60th minute.
Pepe Reina was booked in the 71st minute as his own attempt at a headed clearance was clumsy, before he battled with Long for the ball and pushed the forward to the ground.
Borja Baston replaced Marvelous Nakamba in the 80th minute.
Frederic Guilbert was booked for a challenge on Djenepo as four minutes were added on at the end of the 90.
In the 93rd minute Aston Villa had a corner and Pepe Reina went up for it. Southampton countered, with Reina struggling to get back in time, leaving Guilbert to defend an open goal alone. Armstrong was able to reach the ball and fire into the open net as the last move of the game.