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Aston Villa v Birmingham City: The Second City Derby Recap

Come re-live the match and make sure you hallucinate that Scottish run

Aston Villa v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Not kidding. This happened.

Disclaimer: Normally when I write recaps I like to sum up at the top — then take you through the match. Today I’m doing it differently. I’m not rearranging or editing this majorly. Come and relive the match as I type away.

Derby matches are different. The rivalry changes the atmosphere. Form and records are thrown out because the players know that a win here can buy alot of cache with the fans. A local clash is made all that more intense with players like Jack Grealish and managers like Dean Smith growing up with full and personal knowledge of what it means.

Dean Smith was forced to replace McGinn with and injury so he called upon veteran Glenn Whelan to settle the midfield. James Chester passed the injury test and captained the side.

The match started in a unique way with the opening kickoff having to be retaken after the Blues players jumped the gun and ran into the center circle. Less than a minute later the referee faced his first decision — Jack Grealish was fouled (drink). It should have been a yellow for Kieftenbeld but the referee made the decision to pull the City player aside and have a conversation.

Blues (much like the rest of the Championship) marked Jack out as the player to mark in a physical way.

The opening 25 minutes were back and forth with no real chances for either side. Villa would pressure — Blues counter.

Just short of the half an hour mark — James Chester made a major mistake on the ball. The captain recovered well but was forced to giveaway a corner. The cross went to the far post and was tapped home by Jutkiewicz. On replay Whelan was marking him and was picked by an Blues player. From there the Blues pushed on. Adams crushed a ball off the post that could have easily doubled the visitor's lead.

The post may have been Aston Villa’s alarm clock.

As the frustration was mounting — Villa came through with an attack down the right side. Hutton played Adomah through down the outside the cross fell to Kodjia who made no mistake.

And only two minutes later it was the moment that many Villa fans wanted to see. Jack Grealish sliding with his arms out after putting Aston Villa ahead.

The details of the goal: Admoah with a beautiful cross from the right side to the far post. Jack put his body on the line and slotted a diving header into the corner. But to me the more telling moment is that slide in celebration. Oh and the cross was stunning.

Take a look —

Villa saw out the first half with Nyland coming up with a good save off a free kick (Adomah picked up a yellow for the foul — somehow the Blues were never given one though).

Tammy Abraham came out of the tunnel flying for the second half. First chance came down, once again, the right side. Abraham made a defender look silly and went on a run. His high cross found Jack Grealish in the box. But the midfielder couldn’t quite get on top of it and the ball went harmlessly over the net.

Minutes later it was Tammy on the receiving end of a cross. He took it down very well past the defender. The defender reacted by reaching out with a hand and also tripping the loanee. Penalty given — and Tammy was not going to let Glenn Whelan take this one. The big man stepped up — sent the keeper the wrong way and put it in off the post. A little too dangerous for me — but the goal put Villa up 3-2.

It is a Derby though. So nothing is easy.

Pedersen pulled the Blues back within a goal after yet another midfield giveaway for Villa. Mistakes repeatedly cost Villa posession and the Blues made them pay for it in this case. The air was sucked out of Villa park and nerves began to grow.

In the 65’ Albert Adomah was taken down (a yellow card was finally given). But more significantly — the winger was unable to continue and limped off the field. Yannick Bolasie replaced him. Adomah was the best player for Villa while he was on the pitch.

Henri Lansbury is alive (we’ll get back to that) and replaced Glenn Whelan.

Then.... The unthinkable happened.

I never thought I would tweet this.

Seriously. That happened. I have proof.

I’ll give you a minute to watch it a few times.

Done? Nah didn’t think so.

OK. After the goal Lansbury was taken off (so may not be alive) for Elmohamady. And finally with ten minutes left it looked like Villa were comfortable enough to hold on to the ball.

You just wanted the Hutton run again, didn’t you?

Alan Hutton almost completed the day in Scottish fashion but the referee choose not to give him a second yellow (he had picked up the first celebrating the goal). He should have been sent off — but the man was allowed to stay on the pitch.

The crowd cheered off Aston Villa with a huge ovation as it is another three points in the bag... but three points that means a little bit more.