KOZAK AT THE DOUBLE: WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 2 – ASTON VILLA 2

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With travelling fans so eager to see Sherwood’s new signings in action that kick-off was delayed, the gaffer gave his new boys another chance to show what they can do, making only two changes to the side that started against Walsall last weekend.

Buoyant fans saw a speedy start from the Villans, who took just six minutes to open the scoring, with Kozak latching on to Hutton’s pass, after Agbonlahor’s dummy, to rifle past Ikeme from twenty-five yards out. The B6 brigade went wild, delighted to see the unfortunate forward staking a claim to a starring role in Sherwood’s new-look side.

The Czech international proved to be a real workhorse in the first half and could have had his hat-trick within the first thirteen minutes, linking up well with Amavi. Their link-up play could have led to Kozak’s second of the evening after twelve minutes: Amavi split the Wolves’ defence with a pass that found Kozak, who took advantage of Stearman’s slip and was unfortunate to hit the bar from eight yards out.

With the hosts struggling defensively, Kozak did well a minute later to get on the end of Amavi’s cross from the left after the new signing had skinned Iorfa but his header went just wide of goal.

As the home support grew increasingly restless, the hosts stepped up a gear and it took a clever last-ditch tackle from Clark to deny Dicko. Clark then found himself under pressure from the combined force of Henry and Afobe but the hosts’ challenge came to nothing.

Played through by Kozak, Agbonlahor was then pulled down by Stearman, leading to a free-kick for the visitors, which Bacuna took and made it easy for Ikeme to save.

The clock wound down towards half-time in uneventful fashion.

With no changes for either side, the second half began with a very early chance for Agbonlahor, whose tame shot from the edge of the box was saved comfortably by Ikeme.

Dicko then somehow missed a sitter as Clark slipped and allowed Afobe in on the right. Afobe passed the ball to his perfectly-placed team-mate, who shot straight at Bunn.

Agbonlahor’s evening ended early when he was hauled down and appeared to be experiencing considerable discomfort. Despite his attempt to continue, Robinson replaced him after sixty-five minutes.

Tasked with taking another free-kick, Bacuna’s effort this time was poor, as the Dutchman fired into the stands.

The hosts, led by Afobe, began to put their visitors under real pressure, providing a tough test for Amavi and Clark in particular.

Superb work from Iorfa then left Sinclair and Amavi in a spin as he passed to Edwards, whose audacious back-heel beat Bunn to level the score.

It took only four minutes for the visiting Villans to regain the lead. Robinson’s clever play in the box enabled him to get the better of Wolves’ back line and cross against goal to set up a simple finish for Kozak.

The towering forward then made way for Ayew in the seventy-seventh minute.

Two minutes later, Baker replaced the impressive Clark.

With Wolves pushing for an equaliser, Dicko and Edwards both shot wide. It was the industrious Afobe who got the deserved equaliser, made possible by Baker’s glaring error, slotting past Bunn with two minutes of normal time remaining.

All in all, it was an entertaining game, offering both managers food for thought ahead of their respective league campaigns.

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