Report: Aston Villa 5-0 Bristol City
Monday, January 1st 2018
It was a New Year’s Day to forget for City as they were beaten 5-0 away to Aston Villa.
A brace from Robert Snodgrass with further strikes from Scott Hogan, Birkir Bjarnason and Conor Hourihane sealed the damage, as City suffered their first consecutive league defeats of the season.
Goalkeeper Luke Steele was called up to the City starting XI to face the Villains, as he replaced the suspended Frank Fielding in Lee Johnson’s only change to the side which started against Wolves on Saturday.
There were January 1st celebrations ahead of kick-off but there were certainly no metaphorical fireworks in the early action on the pitch.
City thought they had taken the lead after only a matter of minutes, however - Bobby Reid tucked ball into net after the ball was looped into the box but the assistant’s flag had already been raised.
It was a game of minimal chances as the first half progressed, that was until the hosts broke the deadlock.
ADOMAH THE ARCHITECT
Hogan brought the ball forward before picking out Jack Grealish. He played in former City winger Albert Adomah down the left, whose cross was met by a Hogan header which looped over Steele.
That goal brought pace and life into the game although it was Steve Bruce’s side who were finding any momentum.
And they doubled their lead ten minutes before the end of the first half. Adomah’s cross was headed goal bound by Hogan but Steele showed great reactions to push the ball away. Unfortunately for the City keeper, Snodgrass reacted quickest at the back post and fired into the net with the rebound.
Grealish went on to hit the post and Snodgrass shot over the bar from close range before the sides walked down the tunnel for half time.
The second half started with added intensity with both sides among the chances as Villa went in search of putting the game to bed, while City fought for a way back into the match.
The home side had enjoyed success down the left in the first 45 minutes and continued to do so after the break; again, it was Admomah who almost added to his assist tally but Hogan could only convert his cross into Steele's arms.
Minutes later Aden Flint thought he had scored as he latched on to Reid’s looped pass into the box. Flint, who was pushed up to support the attack, was unable to make clear contact with the ball before it was blocked on the line by Villa defenders. Villa then raced up the other end but Snodgrass was wasteful as he placed a first-time left-footed curling effort over the bar.
VITAL VILLA THIRD
But Bruce's team secured their third goal as Grealish led a counter attack. The young Englishman dribbled from deep inside his own half at pace before laying a pass to Snodgrass. He took one touch before nestling his strike - his second goal of the night - into the bottom-left corner.
The Robins would hit the crossbar after Jamie Paterson latched on to James Chester's error but the attacking player’s cross would only flick the bar on its way out for a goal kick.
Villa added the fourth as the game entered its final 20 minutes, courtesy of substitute Bjarnason. Alan Hutton burst forward, evading a challenge from Flint, before he picked out his teammate who slotted the ball beyond Steele.
The icing on top of the Villa cake was provided by Hourihane, as he tucked away Rushian Hepburn-Murphy’s cross from the right wing.
The result places City fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, still three points above Villa.
Johnson's side return to action away to Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday (3pm kick-off).