Following last weekends defeat at Wolves, Aston Villa needed to bounce back against Fulham and I am happy to write, that is exactly what they did.
It was a really enjoyable game to watch with both sides having a real good go and both would have been upset to lose this one. Luckily for us, it was Fulham who went home empty-handed.
Steve Bruce made one change by bringing in on-loan midfielder Josh Onomah to pack out the midfield as youngster Keinan Davis dropped to the bench.
Fulham dominated early on with Ryan Sessegnon and Floyd Ayite causing the Villa defence problems but the home side was able to weather the storm and it was actually Villa who come the closest through Onomah but he somehow scooped his chance over the bar.
A few moments later, Johnathan Kodjia wiggled himself a couple of Fulham defenders only to let them off with a shot that ended up by the corner flag.
Bruce’s men did, however, take the lead after 23 minutes. Conor Hourihane swung a free kick into the box from the right for John Terry to head his first Aston Villa goal since signing in the summer.
Hourihane himself then come close through a long-range shot only to be denied by David Button in the Fulham goal.
Fulham then got themselves level right on the stroke of halftime. Ayite was brought down on the edge of the box by Glenn Whelan and from the resulting free-kick, Stefan Johansen curled a low ball around the wall and into the far corner of the Johnstone’s goal.
Villa came out in the second half eager to make amends and it took them just four minutes to regain the lead. A low cross was completely missed by Kodjia who is struggling for goals at the moment and fell for fan favourite Albert Adomah who slotted home to make it 2-1.
Fulham came close to getting back on level terms on 54 minutes but Ayite was denied by a brilliant reflex save from Johnstone. One of the best saves I have witnessed down Villa Park for a number of years. Villa should be doing everything in their power to sign him on a permanent deal.
It is now one defeat in seventeen home games for Aston Villa as they climb into a playoff position for the first time since their relegation to the Championship. A small matter of a local derby is on the agenda for Villa next weekend and they will be hoping to continue their good form.
Steve Bruce: “We are just about starting in the Championship for me. The winter is upon us and the marathon is starting. But we have made progress from where we were 12 months ago. We would like some more points after a poor start but we have dug deep and have only one defeat in 10 games. We are going in the right direction.”
Slavisa Jokanovic: “We did not have enough quality or personality to appreciate the situations. Near the end of the game, we pushed hard for a second goal but it didn’t occur. Everyone knows about John Terry and his danger from set-pieces. We cannot be surprised because Villa are good in set-pieces and he punished us on this occasion.”