Tonight Aston Villa welcomed the former Wales manager, Chris Coleman, to Villa Park for his first match in charge at Sunderland.
By no means did the claret and blue produce eye-catching football. The Black Cats maintained 58% of the possession throughout much of the match.
However, when the final whistle blew, the scoreboard at Villa Park read: Aston 2, Sunderland 1. That outcome reminds one of the inspirational quote:
“It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there.”
If the end of this campaign sees Aston Villa promoted back to the Premier League, ecstatic Villans everywhere will likely not even remember tonight’s match.
In fact, if you’re a rational supporter – more on this later – the only takeaways from this fixture should be, three points and Albert Adomah’s excellence.
Here is a recap of Aston Villa’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland:
The first real highlight of the match came in the 2nd minute when Robert Snodgrass’ ball nearly played Keinan Davis in on goal. That attacking play would be evident of the scoreline at the end of the first half. However, it wouldn’t go on to reflect the overall run of play.
In the 10th minute, Christopher Samba cut out Adam Matthews’ attack. The Black Cats were looking for a foul that not given by referee Steve Martin. That decision led to Josh Onomah’s counter attacking pass that found Robert Snodgrass in plenty of space on the right flank.
A touch of skill allowed ‘Snoddy’ to play a great cross to the far post. Who happened to be on the end of the cross waiting to slot it home? Albert Adomah with yet another goal. That marked the Ghanaian’s third in 105 minutes!
The spell of play was fairly uneventful until the 25th minute. Sloppiness from Aston Villa’s defence and midfield led to an attempt for Aiden McGeady. Even though the shot was from about 20+ yards out, it just fizzed past Sam Johnstone’s goal.
Three minutes later saw Bryan Oviedo play a dangerous cross into the box. The ball was cut out and cleared by James Chester. That was not the first time Chester and his partner in the centre of defence were tasked with quelling a Sunderland attack.
The 32nd minute saw Robert Snodgrass have a one-on-one attempt saved for a corner. The shot on goal was the result of outstanding individual industry and a fortunate bounce off of a Sunderland defender.
Two minutes later, Glenn Whelan’s cross from the right of midfield found the head of the ever dangerous, Christopher Samba. His headed attempt was saved by the shaky Robbin Ruiter.
It took nearly a half an hour, but at that point, Villa’s attacking play began to justify the 1-0 lead.
Sunderland had an attacking move that looked potentially dangerous in the 41st minute. The combination of defending from James Chester, Christopher Samba and eventually Conor Hourihane saw off the threat.
By the time the first half whistle blew, the claret and blue had been able to maintain their 1-0. Though it should be noted that Sunderland looked rather organized in possession under new manager Chris Coleman.
But to the credit of Steve Bruce’s men, the Black Cats managed ZERO shots on target with their dominance of possession.
That disparity in maintaining the ball led some at Villa Park to offer, at times, choice words and plenty of groans.
Sunderland started well when Liam Gooch won a corner in the 47th minute. Aidean McGeady’s corner saw Sam Johnstone finally get into the action when he parried it away from his box.
Two minutes later, Villa were back on the ball when Robert Snodgrass’ pass found Josh Onomah in an attacking position. Onomah, never afraid to have a shot, had a go from roughly 20-yards out.
A Sunderland defender deflected Onomah’s long distance effort into the goal! It might have been rather lucky, but the youngster’s third Championship goal put Villa up 2-0.
In the 55th minute, a lovely bit of footwork from Albert Adomah led to a quality cross into the box that was cut out by Ruiter. Had it not been collected, it would have likely added an assist to an already outstanding shift.
Eight minutes later, Mile Jedinak came on for Glenn Whelan. The Irishman had taken a bit of a knock a few minutes prior. Fortunately, he seemed to run off the pitch with ease.
The Australian came on and made his presence felt immediately in midfield. Jedinak’s passing eventually led to an attack from Robert Snodgrass a few minutes later. This is of note because the Scot had one of his better outings in a Villa shirt tonight.
Unfortunately, in the 72nd minute James Vaughan - a former Blues player – was credited with Sunderland’s first goal after Villa’s defence jumbled clearing the box.
A couple of minutes later, Steve Bruce made his second substitution when he brought on Jack Grealish for Keinan Davis. That change highlighted Villa’s thinned depth in attack, as Albert Adomah effectively became the striker.
The 82nd minute saw the Black Cats’ best effort in attack since netting a goal. However, it eventually came to nothing when Sam Johnstone comfortably collected a cross into the box.
Albert Adomah was subbed off in the 87th and replaced Ahmed Elmohamady. The Egyptian slotted in at striker?
Either way, the chants of “Oh Albert Adomah,” were well deserved. He put in another ‘Man of the Match’ performance.
Sunderland managed two stoppage time free kicks that were cleared out of the box by Samba and Jedinak respectively. The claret and blue went on to see out the additional two minutes to collect all three points.
With the Tractor Boys of Ipswich visiting on Saturday, tonight’s victory moved Aston Villa to fourth in the table with 32 points!
Addressing some of the faithful who were present at Villa Park tonight...
Why on Earth was there a need for so much negativity? Supporters were displeased even when Villa were still up 2-0!
The attack is depleted due to injuries and yet, Aston Villa have managed to start their busy holiday schedule with two consecutive victories.
Having coached for multiple years, Tom Smykowski sums my own sentiments to those who remain dissatisfied with tonight’s team performance: