An exciting morning for Aston Villa began with Ross McCormack being shipped off to Australian side Melbourne City to begin to rehab his career. It was first reported by Ray Gatt of The Australia via tweet and confirmed by Dr Tony himself.
It's not rumor. Hope RM can work out and win him back this time.— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) September 23, 2017
Few details on the move right now, but the agreement looks to be a short term loan so there’s a chance that we could see McCormack back for the squad in the future. We can hope he comes good down under.
The dissemination of lineups showed that Steve Bruce was starting the same side that performed well at the weekend at Barnsley with no changes to the matchday XI save Callum O’Hare replacing an injured Henri Lansbury as replacement.
The First Half
Forest put the first pressure of the match around the 14th minute sustaining an attack for minutes. James Chester at the back came through to put aside the first of the Forest attempts to pick the lock before Villa regained possession countered the attack and put the first goal on the board.
Jonathan Kodjia, of course, led the way and created a beauty of a chance, holding off defenders, putting another on roller skates, and grass tipping a pass to Albert Adomah right in front of keeper Jordan Smith. A quick change of direction by Adomah put Smith on the ground and Adomah calmly rolled the ball across the line. It should also be said that Robert Snodgrass showed some gravity pulling defenders his way across the backline, but being well offside was never an option. Still, the attacking space he opened up allowed Adomah to score his third over the last two matches.
In the 23rd minute some unfamiliarity was evident between Kodjia and Keinan Davis, as both of them went to the end of a cross from Snodgrass. The opportunity to capitalize was missed, but with more minutes between the two, should be cleared up later in the campaign.
In the 27th minute, John Terry saved keeper Sam Johnstone from having to make a save by taking the full brunt of a strike coming about 25 yards away. Forest regrouped and got behind the defense, but at an acute angle, put a shot into the side of the net.
Around the 34th minute Villa saw a few crosses right into the goal from Snodgrass and Ahmed Elmohamady, whose cross went on goal and forced Smith to make a goal line stop. The attack from the right side is working really well throughout the first half.
Adomah had an opportunity for a brace in the 36th minute as Davis pulled in a few defenders creating a lane for Adomah to put a shot right on goal. Smith couldn’t handle the initial shot and fumbled it forward before covering, but Adomah curved out as if to celebrate his fourth netting in two and if he had followed the shot like against Barnsley you’d think this could have been it.
Referee Tim Robinson put Forest midfielder Liam Bridcutt into the book on a yellow in the 41st minute, but overall the quality of policing in the first half was untested.
All in all, aside from only turning one opportunity into a goal, the first half was a great success for the squad with just about everyone being a net positive for Villa. Neil Taylor, Glenn Whelan and Conor Hourihane, though unnamed so far provided solid defense at midfield, continually dispossessing Forest and springing offensive chances. Sam Johnstone went untested with no shots on goal recorded.
In spite of the success Villa had, Nottingham Forest had the ball for quite a bit, and without more goals on the board, the outcome of this game is certainly up for debate. Aston Villa went into the second half needing to continue to press the issue, and needing to put another goal to the tally.
The Second Half
Indeed coming out of the break Mark Warburton’s Reds came out with initiative. The first five minutes of activity were nearly all held by Forest as they worked the ball down the left side of the attack, perhaps testing Elmohamady.
Aston Villa’s defense finally broke down in the 53rd minute with Andreas Bouchalakis’ pass forward through Whelan, Terry and Chester at the edge of the box where it was picked up by Daryl Murphy who put the ball low and into Johnstone’s left corner for the equalizer.
Mere minutes later Forest almost took the lead as Aston Villa seemingly sleepwalked at the back line. Sam Johnstone was forced to heel a shot back for a corner with the defensive line seemingly indifferent to Murphy’s burst of energy. He continued his impressive play and put a header right into Johnstone’s chest.
Kodjia did his best to put momentum back onto the Claret and Blue side with a loping run through the middle of the field before being pulled down by Ben Brereton who was booked.
The booking led directly to Conor Hourihane’s incredible free kick strike to give Villa the lead, it was recorded as his 50th league goal and turned the tide that was going completely against Villa for the entirety of the second half.
After the game opened up and Murphy had another header go over the bar off a corner. Neil Taylor had misplayed a ball coming back to Sam Johnstone and was being run down by a Red so he had no choice but to concede the corner. Murphy saw his corner go just over the left corner and seems like he has another goal or two in his noggin for the day if Chester and Terry don’t pick up their play.
In the 72nd minute, after a penalty appeal that was unheard by the referee, Keinan Davis was subbed off for the recovered Josh Onomah and a few minutes later Scott Hogan came on for Jon Kodjia.
Near disaster was averted after Chester was burned in a footrace down the left wing forcing Terry, followed briefly by Taylor, to have to sprawling blocks to keep the ball off net and off of Johnstone.
Johnstone again proved his worth with another acrobatic save in the top right corner off of a free kick by Kieran Dowell. He’s been good for a couple of those per match and came up clean yet again.
Down the stretch Robert Snodgrass’s encouraging day was ended when he was subbed off for Alan Hutton which moved Elmo forward and brought Hutton to the backline where had a solid tackle which negated a Forest possession and, partnered with Elmohamady sprung Hogan on a counterattack where his pressure forced a card onto Forest’s centre back Matt Mills.
Villa had a little trouble holding possession and clocking out the game, but a late push down the left side by Onomah and Adomah kept the ball in Forests area for the crucial final few moments of stoppage time.
In spite of a dicey second half, Villa earned the three and look to continue form against Brentford at Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and see you then!