Tammy Abraham’s 18th and 19th league goals of the season carried Aston Villa to a well-deserved victory Saturday afternoon at Villa Park, defeating Ipswich Town 2-1.
Villa started the scoring in the sixth minute through the efforts of two familiar faces. Conor Hourihane played a sublime ball in from a wide free kick, and Tammy Abraham was all alone in the middle of the six-yard box. The striker slotted home comfortably for his 18th goal of the season, giving Villa the 1-0 lead.
The match was largely quiet for the next 20-30 minutes, but as the first half neared its conclusion, Villa got back on the front foot, pressing for the insurance goal. John McGinn had a couple chances saved of note, as Bartosz Białkowski made several good, but less-than-convincing saves to keep Ipswich just a goal down.
Villa pressed again to start the second half, and were eventually rewarded for it when John McGinn was brought down on the hour-mark. Abraham stepped to the spot and cooly slotted home, scoring his 19th of the season and giving Villa a 2-0 advantage.
The visitors finally started to grow in the game, and perhaps should’ve had their own penalty when Tommy Elphick’s sliding effort — blocking a goal-bound shot after Lovre Kalinić was dribbled inside the 18 — could’ve been given for handball. Justice was perhaps done, then, a couple minutes later, when Freddie Sears struck a world-class goal from 25-30 yards out, sending a rocket into the top corner to make it 2-1.
Villa had a couple nervy moments that followed, as Ipswich pressed for an equalizer — the nerviest coming when Trevoh Chalobah’s header careened harmlessly off the far post and stayed out.
Abraham had a great opportunity for his hat trick and 20th of the season around 85 minutes, when he expertly brought down a long ball and was generally 1-on-1 with the keeper. Tammy tried to finesse it into the corner, though, and Białkowski saved. The striker got another opportunity at his hat trick three minutes later, when Ahmed Elmohamady let a wonderful Hourihane ball run through to Abraham, whose shot was expertly saved from near-point-blank range by Białkowski.
It was probably a little nervier than it needed to be, but at the end of the day, Dean Smith’s men are back in the win column.