Date: 16th May 2018 at 7:00am
Written by:
Aston Villa
0 – 0

Villa Park

Championship Play-Off 2nd Leg

15/05/2018 7:45 pm

Attendance: 45505

Referee: Dean

Aston Villa Middlesbrough
Bree Shotton 82
Chester Fry
Terry Gibson
Jedinak Howson 73
Hourihane 85 Besic
Adomah 91 Assombalonga 68
Grabban 79 Downing


Samba Konstantopoulos
Whelan 85 Fabio 82
Hogan Leadbitter
Onomah Bamford 68
Bjarnason 91 Cranie
Kodjia 79 Harrison
Bunn Gestede 73

Game Statistics

15 Goal attempts 9
5 On Target 0
7 Corners 4
8 Fouls 18
4 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
46 % 54

Going into Tuesday evening’s second leg Play-Off semi-final tie against Middlesbrough, Aston Villa already had the advantage after Mile Jedinak gave us the first leg lead at the Riverside Stadium.

In a typically tight affair, we were content to let them have the greater of the ball but by rights should’ve taken victory outright with 15 shots to their 9 attempts. Tellingly though, we hit five on target and they failed to muster anything of note until Stewart Downing hit the woodwork from a free-kick in the 89th minute.

So, 0-0 on the night and 1-0 over both legs sees us through to Wembley and the Final and it was largely a fitting tribute to Jlloyd Samuel with a minutes applause held prior to kick off, in his memory, following his death in a car crash last Wednesday.

Of surprise to everyone was the performance of Mike Dean, and one decision in particular, where he chose to book Sam Johnstone for handball outside of the box instead of showing a straight red which most probably expected.

Speaking to the BBC at the full time whistle, manager Steve Bruce knew fortune had favoured us in that moment.

“It probably should have been a red card, but, with only two minutes left, it might not have made much difference. They only had one shot on target in two games and we had the better chances tonight. If any team deserved to win, it was us. I’m delighted for our fans who have suffered a lot. Now we’ve got 11 days to prepare for Wembley.”

Bruce is keenly aware that given Fulham’s form this year they will be tricky customers in the Final, but it’s football, it’s Wembley, anything can happen and we have to ensure it happens for us.

Fulham triumphed over Derby County with a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.

Having spent the last few years talking about us, Tony Pulis deserves a hat tip for his words at the final whistle.

“In the end, the teams that finished third and fourth over 46 games are going to Wembley. That’s credit to Fulham and Villa, who are hardworking, stubborn and well organised.”

I’ll take stubborn!


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