If the dream of a playoff finish was to be realized, it would require nothing short of continued winning for Aston Villa. In the third minute of their match against Burton Albion, Jonathan Kodjia scored his 19th goal of the season to do his part in keeping the dream alive. Burton had the opening pressure in the first few seconds, but Kodjia was able to capitalize on a moment of hesitation from the keeper and bury the ball in the back of the net.
From there, Villa had the upper hand for a while, but by the final ten minutes of the half it was clear that Burton were controlling the match. At one point a shot rattled off the bar, and it was all Villa could do to wait for the halftime whistle. When it finally came, Villa were ahead 0-1, but looking a bit shaky.
The biggest news of the first half, apart from the goal, was Kodjia coming off injured in the 36th minute. The hope, of course, is that it isn’t too severe. But any loss of Kodjia will almost certainly be bad news for this team.
The second half didn’t change momentum much, and Burton Albion kept pressing. Eventually their work paid off in the 61st minute. After Albert Adomah conceded a free kick on the left wing, Lloyd Dyer was able to capitalize on the set piece and fired a shot into the top-right corner. This marked only the second goal conceded by Aston Villa in the last nine matches, but the drop into a draw made the dream of the playoffs seem ever further away.
In the 72nd minute, Alan Hutton almost clawed Villa back into it with a volley, but the ball deflected off another Villan and denied the Scot his goal. At that point, it seemed as if both clubs were throwing everything they had into the match. Nevertheless, another goal was not in the offing and Villa took the draw.
In a vacuum, a draw away is not a bad result. Look at where this team was last year. Look at where this team was two months ago. An away draw is fine!
But given the hot run of form lately and the sliver of hope it brought for a playoff run, a draw hurts. A win would have made it seven points needed in five matches, and that is a lot to ask. Now that it’s nine in that same five, I think we can finally put the playoff dreams to bed.