Villa passed a big test at Bruce’s Owls – now Play-Offs are reality

By Graham Hill

DEAN Smith warned his Aston Villa players not to feel ‘invincible’ after the sensational away win over Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday.

But they must be feeling pretty close to it right now.

Six wins on the trot has underlined Villa’s play-off credentials.

And with teams like Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough falling off the pace, Villa can now eye a Wembley bid with some confidence.

A trip to Rotherham on Wednesday will not be easy after they beat Forest on Saturday.

But right now, Villa take some beating.

Smith dare not make any predictions about Villa’s prospects. There are plenty of banana skins along the way.

But the trip to Hillsborough to face a manager who was desperate for revenge after his sacking by Villa last October was one of them,

Yes, it could have gone a different way had keeper Jed Steer not kept out Steven Fletcher’s penalty.

But the twists and turns are going Villa’s way right now.

John McGinn’s excellent equaliser saw the Scotland midfielder establish himself as one of the keys to a possible promotion this season.

A point would have been acceptable for Villa.

But what happened next was incredible.

Two goals in stoppage time from Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham – his 23rd of the season – gave Villa a win out of the blue.

And with Bristol City coming to Villa Park next Saturday, who knows how important that could be.

Make no mistake, this was a big test for Villa and they passed it.

Defeat would have been a real setback but now Villa have a genuine chance of promotion with form to back it up.

Smith said: “Anytime you score in the 93rd and 94th minutes it gives everyone a big boost,” Smith said.

“Hopefully there will be no complacency from this and they won’t feel invincible.

“But they will take an awful lot of confidence from it.

“Finding a way to win is important.

“It was a grind but we ground out a win from nowhere, really.

“Credit to Sheffield Wednesday, they put us on the back foot, put balls in the box and up to Fletcher.

“Jed has had to make a really good save from the penalty which gave us a bit of a boost.

“Had that gone in it would have been tough to come back with Wednesday having their tails up.

“We were certainly under a lot of pressure.

“Bannan has curled one wide, Reach has curled one wide and there were a number of balls played into our box.

“The character the lads showed, to come from a goal behind and get back on level terms through John McGinn.

“And the players had to defend manfully.

“Albert was there heading balls in the box, Neil Taylor was winning tackles, Glenn Whelan too.

“These lads have found a way to win at the moment.

“It showed there are a lot of personalities in our dressing room and a lot of characters, to get that win when we probably shouldn’t have.”

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