A Danny Ings wondergoal and an Anwar El Ghazi penalty saw Aston Villa produce a strong performance against Newastle.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa returned to a full Villa Park for the first time in over a season today, hosting former manager Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United as Dean Smith’s side looked to make amends for the opening day defeat to Watford.
The home side had two changes, with Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz coming into the starting eleven. The game started relatively open, with the sold-out home crowd in fine voice.
Aston Villa had the first shot on the game, with Emiliano Buendia sparking a counter-attack that resulted in Anwar El Ghazi eventually cutting in onto his stronger right foot, but his shot was skied. Shortly afterwards, after a perceived non-foul on John McGinn, Callum Wilson found himself one-on-one with Emi Martinez, but the Newcastle forward curled the ball wide of the post.
John McGinn had a curling effort from the edge of the box in the 15h minute, but his shot flew over Woodman’s bar.
Five minutes later, and Jacob Ramsey played in Danny Ings with a ball in behind. The forward attempted to slip the ball past Freddie Woodman, but it trickled wide as the linesman’s flag raised.
There was worry at the half hour mark as Matty Cash had to leave the pitch after rocking his ankle when landing after a header, but the fullback returned into action.
Callum Wilson was booked five minutes before the end of the first half, after a number of issues both on and off the ball on a number of occassions. Isaac Hayden was booked for a drag back on John McGinn just a few minutes later.
Douglas Luiz was booked as the clock trickled into added time for a foul on Joe Willock who looked to break on the counter.
In the 48th minute, Aston Villa had an exceptional opportunity to take the lead – and they took it. A long throw from Matty Cash was headed on into a central position by Tyrone Mings. Danny Ings took the opportunity he was presented in spectacular fashion – acrobatically bicycle-kicking the ball into the right-hand side of the net – and past a rooted Freddie Woodman.
Newcastle made a half-time substitution, replacing Isaac Hayden – who picked up a knock in the first-half – with Sean Longstaff.
There was nothing truly of note happening in the opening 11 or so minutes of the second-half, but Aston Villa looked to be in control of proceedings. Jacob Murphy was booked for a shirt pull on Jacob Ramsey in the 58th minute.
A free-kick swung in by John McGinn was headed into a central position by Ezri Konsa and into the path of Tyrone Mings – who headed towards goal. The ball was blocked by Lascelles’ arm, in an unnatural decision. VAR recommended that referee David Coote looked at the screen, where he made the decision of awarding a penalty.
Anwar El Ghazi stepped up to take the penalty in the 61st minute, and continued his 100% success rate from the penalty spot with Aston Villa by dispatching the ball into the bottom right corner – as Woodman dived the opposite way.
In the 75th minute, Emi Martinez gifted Newcastle a way back into the game and received a yellow card for his troubles. Callum Wilson found himself through on goal, before he got a touch to the ball and was clattered by the Aston Villa goalkeeper. Or, so he thought – VAR overruled the decision as Callum Wilson was called offside. Martinez’ yellow was held, however.
With 13 minutes remaining, Joelinton replaced Federico Fernandez for Newcastle.
Fabian Schar was booked in the 83rd minute as he cut through Jacob Ramsey who was racing beyond the Newcastle defence. Emiliano Buendia was booked a minute later for Aston Villa – before being replaced by Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
Axel Tuanzebe would follow Philogene-Bidace onto the pitch a few minutes later, for his latest stint at Aston Villa – replacing Douglas Luiz. As the game trickled to the 90th minute, Ryan Fraser replaced Joe Willock for Newcastle, and Wesley replaced Danny Ings for Aston Villa.
After six minutes of added time, the final whistle blew – and Aston Villa were victorious on their return to Villa Park.