Aston Villa made it no win in two games after failing to beat Preston at Villa Park last night in another uninspiring, disjointed performance.
Villa did have a few injury problems with Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah missing out completely, while Ahmed Elmohammady was only fit enough to make the bench. That is no excuse though as it is well known that in modern day football you need a decent squad.
Preston arrived with intent and immediately looked to exploit a depleted Villa side.
The visitors came close through former Villan Callum Robinson who was given a golden opportunity when John Terry’s poor clearance fell at his feet but his snapshot from 20 yards went narrowly wide.
Preston took the lead through Tom Barkhuizen on 37 minutes. Sam Johnstone attempted to punch the ball but instead set up Barkhuizen who scored with a scissor kick into the roof of the net.
Despite the visitors looking the better side, Villa did have their own chances. Scott Hogan was denied with a point-blank save by John Ruddy while Alan Hutton’s shot from outside the box went narrowly over the crossbar.
To the credit of Steve Bruce, he could see the home side were on the back foot and made changes in the second half. Forwards Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis were introduced.
Bruce was rewarded when Davis won a penalty after 66 minutes and Grabban cooly slotted home from the spot.
Villa potentially could have robbed it late on when Hogan massively misjudged a header and Davis sliced at volley with virtually the last kick of the game.
Two points dropped or one point gained? I would go for the latter considering all things and Preston were a credit to themselves. We were poor overall but still took a share of the points against a playoff rival.
Sheffield Wednesday are next up for Bruce’s men as they will attempt to put this winless streak to an end quickly.
Steve Bruce: “We found it difficult against a really good Championship team. They have a good work ethic, good players and in this league, they are a threat to anyone. It is fair to say we found it difficult in the first half but in the second half we could have won the match with the best pass and best quality of the match but Keinan Davis didn’t take the chance.”
Alex Neil: “I thought we were the better side over the 90 minutes. It was disappointing and frustrating that it was a soft penalty which enabled Villa to get back into the game. I didn’t think it was the right decision. We dominated the match and I thought my players were magnificent. The only criticism I have is that despite the number of chances we created we scored only one goal.”