Following Aston Villa’s recent form in the Championship, many would have thought that Bolton would be a walk in the park after they failed to win in seven.
It wasn’t to be that way and as many Villa fans anticipated before kickoff, these are the kind of games that Villa has fallen short over the past 12 months or so.
The official Aston Villa Twitter page tweeted yesterday “We are on fire at the moment… lets keep it going today” with a picture of the form of both sides in the last five. You only have to read some of the comments from Villa supporters that they were in no mood to disrespect a Bolton side still looking for their first win this season in the division.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) September 30, 2017
For the fourth game in a row, Steve Bruce continued with the same eleven and the recent form even got some bums back on seats at Villa Park with a little over 31,000 (approximately 900 from Bolton) in attendance.
Villa struggled to really get going with Bolton playing a rough and ready style. I couldn’t help but think that some of our players couldn’t help but get involved in something that they didn’t need to which actually took our minds of the task at hand.
It was very much a stop-start game and not one for the neutral football supporter. Neither side failed to get a shot on target in the opening half hour!
It took Villa 37 minutes before they created anything really of note. Ahmed Elmohamady played a through-ball for Jonathan Kodjia who was completely unmarked with only the Bolton keeper to beat. He had an option to pass the ball for Albert Adomah to tap the ball home but chose to shoot only to miss a sitter.
Two minutes later Villa was awarded a penalty when Kodjia was brought down by Mark Reevers. For some reason, it was Kodjia who stepped up and not Adomah and the Ivorian converted for his first goal of the season.
Despite a lead, at halftime, the home side failed to take full control with Bolton digging their heels in. Keinan Davis tangled many times with Reevers and David Wheater, who both ended up in the book for fouls on the talented youngster.
John Terry probably had the best chance in the second half when Robert Snodgrass swung over a free kick but the big defender failed to make a clean contact with the ball.
It wasn’t pretty but we must take the positives away from a game that we most likely would have failed to win last season. Another win and another clean sheet move us closer to the playoff positions.
The International break has probably come at the wrong time as we have a two-week break now before we meet Midland rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers so we can only hope that everyone returns in full health.
Steve Bruce: “It was a difficult afternoon. It needed a little bit of quality which we had to win the game. With their heroics in the last few minutes, they could have come away with a point but that would have been underserved. My experience with the Championship is that there are going to be lots of occasions like this game. Whoever we play it is not going to be easy particularly at Villa Park.”
Phil Parkinson: “We had some good chances and the overall performance was very good. We played a team which has spent a lot of money and we took them very close. The linesman cost us dearly. Their player was offside which led to a corner from which the penalty was awarded.”