As we approached the game against QPR this week, a lot of the talk was about who was missing and how we would get by without them. None of it was about the fact that we have a very solid squad (for the most parts) that should be able to cope.
John Terry, Johnathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan were the latest big names missing and all three could be missing for a little while so we need to get by. The main topic on peoples lips or on the tips of their fingers (for those who use social media and forums) was who would replace Terry and the majority would have gone for Australia’s hat-trick hero Mile Jedinak but Steve Bruce opted to go with Chris Samba.
Neil Taylor also returned for the missing Ahmed Elmohammady as Alan Hutton switched to the left.
QPR took the lead early on when Luke Freeman’s right-wing corner found Matt Smith’s head which resulted in a scramble in the six-yard box, which ended up falling to Jamie Mackie who scored from close range.
Just when Villa fans worst nightmare happened, the turn-around began. The first Villa have achieved since the opening day of the 2013 season away from Villa Park.
Albert Adomah come close when on-loan Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah played a through ball for the former Middlesbrough winger only to fire wide of the far post.
QPR then had to thank their keeper, Alex Smithies who produced two fabulous saves, denying Onomah and then using his leg to prevent an unmarked Keinan Davis from scoring.
Smithies couldn’t do it all on his own though and it was just a matter of time before Villa were level. Jack Robinson appeared to use his hand to block Robert Snodgrass’ shot and Bruce’s men were awarded a penalty. Adomah confidently stepped up and tucked away from the resulting spot-kick.
Both sides had chances early in the second half. Davis watched on as his header went narrowly wide and Smiths first-time shot went just wide.
It was the away side who found the second goal first and deservedly so. Connor Hourihanes passed the ball through to Adomah who drifted away from Alex Baptiste to send a low shot beyond the QPR keeper and in off the far post.
Both sides had chances but Villa would have come away from Loftus Road happy but confused as to how they didn’t kill the game off. 26 shots at the QPR goal they had, only managing the 6 on target.
I don’t want to sound negative because it was a good result at a difficult place to visit but it is an area that Bruce and his coaching team will have to work on because it could hurt them sooner or later if they don’t learn to take their chances.
Let’s be honest though, it’s always great to get one over a deluded Ian Holloway, isn’t it?
Steve Bruce: “Albert has added goals to his game, which is great. He’s done very well. At the start of the season, he wasn’t on the team and he didn’t moan or groan.
He got on with it, came into my office and said, ‘I’ll prove you wrong’. He trained well, worked hard and when he gets his chance he takes it.”
Ian Holloway: “I’ve looked at the handball. It does get to you. Is that deliberate? Did he have time for it to be deliberate? The referee’s given it, I think he’s wrong and so do my lads. Villa started the second half brighter because they’d got that little tonic. Once we went one behind it was then very tough for us.”