VILLA 2 BRISTOL CITY 1
By Graham Hill
VILLA rewrote the record books with an EIGHTH successive win to cement their play-off place.
And they did it without captain Jack Grealish who was ruled out before the game due to illness.
It is the first time any Villa side has won that many games back to back since Ron Saunders’ side did it in 1975.
And that season, Villa were promoted to the top flight.
Dean Smith’s side were also without Tyrone Mings who was suspended after being sent off against Rotherham in midweek.
Villa lacked cohesion in the first half and seemed to be missing the attention Grealish normally gets from opposition markers.
But they came close to taking the lead when Albert Adomah heeded against the post.
Ref Scott Duncan then took the unusual step of booking two of Lee Johnson’s coaching staff in as many minutes.
Villa were carving out the better chances with City keeper Max O’Leary keeping his side in the game with one of the goalkeeping displays of the season.
But Villa took the lead after 54 minutes when the impressive Conor Hourihane was brought down by Jack Hunt.
City were not happy with Duncan’s decision but Tammy Abraham stepped up to take it despite missing from the spot against Rotherham.
He made no mistake this time though as he powered home his 24th goal of the season straight down the middle.
Villa were two up 12 minutes later when Hourihane finished a superb move involving Anwar El Ghazi and the outstanding Neil Taylor.
But it threatened to go wrong for Villa when Abraham had to limp off injured and Famara Diedhiou pulls one back with an overhead effort that went in off the post.
Josh Brownhill’s long range effort then dipped just over as City threatened to pull one back. But Villa saw the game out despite six minutes of stoppage time and Keinan Davis and McGinn forced more saves from O’Leary as they went in search of a third.
The result leaves Villa on 69 points and that could mean they are just two wins away from making the play-offs with four games to go.