Keinan Davis’ first Premier League goal allowed Aston Villa to take a point against West Brom this evening after trailing for much of the second half.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa returned to Villa Park this evening to face relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion as the home side looked to hunt for a top ten finish. Wesley, who was injured over 480 days ago, returned to the matchday squad this evening, albeit on the bench. Ross Barkley also made his first start in over two months.
Dean Smith’s men were awarded a penalty after a brief period of sublime one-touch play resulted in Ross Barkley being downed in the box by Ajayi. Anwar El Ghazi stepped up from the spot and powered the ball home into the bottom left, the opposite side to Sam Johnstone’s dive, to continue his haunting of West Bromwich Albion.
In the 21st minute, West Brom were awarded a penalty of their own as Ezri Konsa bundled Ainsley Maitland-Niles to the floor. Pereira stepped up to take the penalty after a VAR check stood, firing it above Martinez who guessed correctly, but dived too low.
Okay Yokuslu thought he may have headed West Brom ahead in the 26th minute, but his glancing header moved just wide of the post. Two minutes later, and Anwar El Ghazi forced Sam Johnstone into a strong parry down to his right.
Emiliano Martinez was forced into a great save in the 40th minute to deny Maitland-Niles, as the Arsenal loanee struck from the edge of the box. A minute later, and Matheus Pereira struck the bar with a curling free-kick from the right corner of the box after Ross Barkley had fouled Gallagher.
There were two minutes added on at the end of the half, before the two sides went in level at the break.
Within a minute in the second half, and West Bromwich Albion had taken the lead. Another mistake from Ezri Konsa, slipping after controlling the ball, allowed Diagne in to fire an attempt towards the bottom right. Tyrone Mings slid to try and block the shot, but his block changed the direction of the ball and the stand-in Villa captain converted at the wrong end.
In the 54th minute, Connor Gallagher was booked for a rash challenge on Matt Targett, who was marauding down the left.
Ahmed Elmohamady almost scored a screamer on the hour mark, catching a ball that had been headed out of the Baggies box sweetly – but Sam Johnstone denied him the honour. Just a minute or so later, and Bertrand Traore, forced out wide, struck the post from a tight angle.
In the 65th, Matt Phillips replaced Callum Robinson with the first change of the evening for West Bromwich Albion.
Five minutes later, and Ollie Watkins had the opportunity to level the score, breaking away from the Baggies defence after a good ball from John McGinn. He fired straight at Johnstone, rather than opting to shoot across the keeper, and the former Villa keeper saved well.
Ezri Konsa almost scored an own goal himself in the 73rd minute, heading onto his own post, before Martinez was able to produce a miraculous palm to tip it over the bar. From the resulting corner, Martinez was forced into another fingertip save to deny Matt Phillips. He was called into action again two minutes later to deny Pereira from range.
Okay Yokuslu was booked in the 76th, tripping Traore who was attempting a counter-attack. Directly after, Douglas Luiz was replaced by Jacob Ramsey.
The 81st minute saw Keinan Davis come onto the pitch, replacing Ross Barkley. He tested Johnstone early on in his time on the pitch, but his effort was directly at Johnstone. Four minutes later and a shot at the end of a scramble from Davis smacked against the post.
Wesley arrived onto the pitch, replacing Traore, for the final four minutes of stoppage time.
A minute later, and Aston Villa were level. Indecision from Bartley at the back for West Brom allowed Keinan Davis to sneak in and poke the ball above Sam Johnstone before the keeper could claim the ball. His first Premier League goal, and an important one at that!
John McGinn forced Johnstone into a smart save down low with an effort from outside of the box in the 93rd, and that was the last attempt of the game.
An emotional rollercoaster!