As I met with friends yesterday in a pub before my coach was due to pick us up and take the 2-hour journey up to Barnsley we discussed what we expected from the game. It was fair to say that none of us were that optimistic. In fact, for me, it had a bit of the Preston defeat last season about it and I was dreading it a little.
Those who regularly go to away games with Villa will know that it is much more than just the game but the day out. We all know we generally travel well away from home and a lot of us have learned not to allow the game to totally destroy our days.
3,268 fans traveled to Oakwell yesterday and once in the stadium, many were in pretty good spirits despite the club advertising drinks for £1.30 between 4.00pm and 5.00pm only to cancel it once many fans had turned up early. Amazing how in any other walk of life you couldn’t get away with this kind of false advertisement but in football? You can pretty much treat supporters as you please but that’s for another day and another article.
Steve Bruce changed aside and went with two up top as Jonathan Kodjia joined Keinan Davis up top. Something fans had been crying out for a long time.
The away side took the lead after just 19 minutes when Albert Adomah forced Barnsley keeper Adam Davies into a mistake as he slotted home to score his first goal of the season and Villa’s first in 225 minutes.
Villa and Adomah’s second followed just before half-time when Villa was awarded a penalty. Adam Jackson mistimed his sliding tackle on Davis and he was brought down. Adomah stepped up and doubled Villa’s lead.
Although fans were happy at half-time there was some who had thought that the game was far from over but Bruce’s men had other ideas.
Barnsley conceded a third goal just five minutes before the hour mark. Ahmed Elmohamady crossed the ball and 19-year-old Davis beat his man in the air to head into the back of the net.
There may have been a hint of luck with the first goal but for the first time in a very long time Aston Villa controlled a league game and it was away from home.
The fans were singing and partying in a way I haven’t witnessed truly since the Martin O’Neill days and although it is only one victory, may we have just turned a corner? I certainly hope so!
This was the first time Aston Villa have scored 3 goals away from home in more than two years. Let’s hope we can build on this and the three clean sheets in a row.
Steve Bruce: “We took our chances, that’s three clean sheets in a row and unbeaten in six.
We have a nice blend and what we have to do now is put the results together and put a run together, which we are capable of doing. Let’s build on this.”
Paul Heckingbottom: “I thought Villa defended really well. They were very well organized. You could see they’d done a lot of work, but we competed right to the end.
At half-time we knew a third goal would be everything in a game and they got it. Villa put the game to bed and had an easy half hour after that.”