We all knew that this wouldn’t be an easy game. Brighton & Hove Albion came in on a 10-match unbeaten run and placed second in the Championship. Villa, who started the day in 14th, had gone five matches without defeat. Both of those runs continued as there was nothing to split the sides; and the match ended 1-1.
Nathan Baker opened the scoring 20 minutes in with his first goal for the club. You can watch it here. Albert Adomah provided the ball on a silver platter with an inswinging cross that Baker met with his head, sending it into the bottom-right corner of the goal.
With 45 seconds remaining in regulation in the first half, Glenn Murray leveled the match at one. Making it to half with the lead would have been ideal. Alas, it’s still Villa.
Gabby Agbonlahor started for Villa for the first time since March. He had a few good moments, but no end product. Ultimately he picked up a knock and was replaced by Jordan Ayew 55 minutes in.
It was pretty even throughout the match, with Brighton having a better first period and Villa turning it around after halftime. Villa started picking up momentum around the 70 minute mark after Jack Grealish was subbed on for Gary Gardner.
Jonathan Kodjia hit the crossbar with a header from a corner kick, and the deflection went out of play for a goal kick. It looks like set pieces have finally become a strength for this club. He came even closer with another header in the 81st minute, but a fantastic save from Brighton’s David Stockdale kept it level.
Once Ayew and Grealish were on, Villa looked like a completely different team and were a notch better than Brighton. Pierluigi Gollini also had a great game in goal, making a couple of incredible saves.
While Villa dominated the second half, the Seagulls still had some chances. A point on the road against what’s currently the second-best team in the league is a good point.
Aston Villa (4-3-3):
Gollini; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Westwood, Jedinak, Gardner (Grealish 67’); Adomah, Agbonlahor (Ayew 55’), Kodjia.
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-2):
Stockdale; Saltor, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (Norwood 80’), Stephens, Sidwell, Skalak; Murray, Baldock (Murphy 72’).
Brighton & Hove Albion: