Ten-man Villa in seventh heaven

By Graham Hill


VILLA turned a potential nightmare into a dream seventh successive victory.

It was another result that underlined their bid to make this season’s play-offs.

And the win was crowned by a superb goal started and finished by skipper Jack Grealish.

But it looked set to go horribly wrong after a calamity first half which saw Tammy Abraham have a penalty saved and Tyrone Mings sent off for a second yellow card.

Abraham could have scored his 24th goal of the season after a foul on Grealish – but his penalty was poor and saved comfortably.

The second caution for Mings was for a handball in the area and Will Vaulks made no mistake to give Rotherham the lead.

But whatever boss Dean Smith said at half time, it did the trick.

Villa may have been a man down, but they came out after the break determined to make up for the previous 45 minutes.

And it did not take long for them to get back on level terms – with sub Jonathan Kodjia finally arriving at the party.

A handball from Rotherham’s Semi Ayayi saw the game’s third spot-kick and Kodjia converted with a powerful shot after 48 minutes.

It was the Villa striker’s first Championship goal since December.

Three minutes later, Grealish netted after a solo run which saw him collect a one-two with Ahmed Elomhamady before scoring Villa’s second.

From struggling badly, Villa were suddenly in control – and they certainly did not look like the side with 10 men.

As well as Grealish’s obvious influence, Scotland midfielder John McGinn produced another all-action display that had the travelling Villa fans singing his name.

Rotherham threatened occasionally but nothing was going to stop Villa despite Mings’ dismissal – Mile Jedinak came on for him with Albert Adomah sacrificed.

And Jedinak slotted in seamlessly with relegation-threatened Rotherham kept at bay.

Smith will probably argue that his first caution should not have been handed out as the Villa boss was clearly angry about it.

The downside to that is that Mings will now miss Saturday’s play-off crunch game with in-form Bristol City.

It will be a huge blow, but if Villa can come from behind like this against the odds then it is one they are capable of overcoming.


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